Offense finally on track
Buckeyes hit Nebraska like a runaway train after early struggles
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- So much for slugfests.
It turns out the spread offense is going to work just fine for Ohio State. And if the Buckeyes can find a way to put together a complete game with their high-octane attack, they might really be dangerous.
After all, if the Buckeyes can go an entire quarter without a first down and then race to a 63-38 rout like they did against Nebraska on Saturday night at sold-out Ohio Stadium, there might not be a way to slow down the Urban Meyer Express once it figures out how to get rolling a bit quicker.
"I thought the first quarter was a train wreck for our offense," Meyer said. "I didn't feel [good] in the first 15 minutes of the game. I didn't feel like we were blocking them, they were kind of defeating us at the line of scrimmage, and that changed.
Regardless of how Ohio State threw the switch, there was no stopping once it settled on the right track after a sloppy, sluggish start against the Huskers.
Take out a couple early penalties, some sketchy decision-making by quarterback Braxton Miller and a full 15 minutes spent trying to move the chains for the first time and there was barely anything Meyer could have complained about with an attack that is clearly ahead of schedule.
Miller provided even more validation that he's ideally suited to run Meyer's offense with another dynamic rushing performance and a few perfect passes down the middle sprinkled in for good measure. An offensive line that was once a question mark imposed its will on the Huskers as the Buckeyes racked up 371 yards on the ground. And even when the outcome had clearly been settled late in the fourth quarter, Ohio State still couldn't stop scoring, as Carlos Hyde dashed down the sideline for his fourth touchdown to help make up for some of that lost time when the engine wouldn't start.
"We definitely can do more," Hyde said. "We started out slow, so if we didn't start out so slow and went down every time we had a possession and got points, we probably would have scored more than 63. We just have to get back in practice and work, get ready for next week.
"It's pretty crazy how we changed, how we can just go down the field so easily and score -- and just keep scoring on top of that and put up crazy numbers and yards."
The Buckeyes weren't exactly doing it against a group of pushovers, either. But a unit that provided plenty of resistance early on by flooding the Ohio State backfield, making physical tackles and causing Miller to think too long or too hard about what to do with the football eventually found itself grasping at air and routinely getting shredded on the ground.
Miller opened up the floodgates with a 72-yard run to breathe life into the offense. Hyde showed no signs of soreness in his second game back from a knee injury while piling up 140 yards to go with all those trips to the end zone. Even backup Rod Smith got in on the fun, darting straight through the middle of the Nebraska defense for a 33-yard touchdown run that opened the scoring in the fourth quarter and officially started the party for the Buckeyes and their undefeated victory train.
"I'm very pleased with where we're at," Meyer said. "I've also been doing this long enough to realize you can have a bad week, a bad night, a bad something.
"I don't want to be a downer, but we're not there. We have a long way to go."
There's still plenty of track ahead of the Buckeyes. But when they've got the spread offense rolling, it doesn't seem to have much use for brakes.