Smith's catch ignites offense

After sluggish first quarter, tempo picked up and Miller found his groove

Updated: September 2, 2012, 1:21 PM ET
By Austin Ward | BuckeyeNation

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The grand opening of the Urban Meyer era arrived right on schedule.

The unveiling of his offense was slightly delayed.

The new Ohio State coach didn't technically deliver instant results with the spread, no-huddle approach that was hyped for months. But what the first quarter may have lacked, the No. 18 Buckeyes more than made up for over the next three as the tempo got rolling and never slowed down in a 56-10 win over Miami (Ohio) on Saturday at Ohio Stadium.

"I was very disappointed in that first quarter," Meyer said. "I'm not sure we had 5 yards [passing]. There were lost-yardage plays, lack of production, overthrowing the ball here.

"That was not a great quarter, obviously."

[+] EnlargeCarlos Hyde
Rob Leifheit/US PresswireCarlos Hyde scores on a 4-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Hyde rushed for 82 yards and two TDs.
After that, there wasn't much for the Buckeyes to complain about at all.

Braxton Miller started flashing his versatility, with the dual-threat quarterback piling up yardage on the ground and throwing for a pair of touchdowns through the air.

The up-tempo approach, combined with running back Carlos Hyde barreling through tacklers to wear down the RedHawks, built to the junior's 4-yard touchdown run that capped a 21-point outburst over just more than eight minutes in the second quarter.

And the search for a wide receiver capable of delivering a jolt of electricity ended quickly with Devin Smith leaping in the corner of the end zone for a one-handed snag that opened the scoring after that rough first 15 minutes. It signaled that everything was going to be just fine for the Buckeyes.

"That darned first quarter, I don't want to say I was embarrassed with the way we were playing," Meyer said. "We worked so hard, and we just didn't play very well in all phases.

"But that [Smith] catch, that was a 'wow' moment. That was a moment that ignited the stadium -- the stadium got quiet, the sideline got quiet, we were waiting for something to happen, and he went up and made a play. That's football."

Meyer's version of it eventually showed up, though the Buckeyes might have only scratched the surface of what they can do with his offense.

Miller set a school record for rushing by a quarterback in a single game, and his 161 yards came in less than three quarters before he left with cramps on a humid afternoon at the Horseshoe. He broke a record set in 1974 by Cornelius Greene.

There were a handful of opportunities deep down the field in which Smith or emerging wideouts Evan Spencer and Corey "Philly" Brown were open and ready to score, only to have the timing be just a bit off with the throw.

And even with Hyde wearing down defenders, Meyer still walked away disappointed he couldn't squeeze a bit more than 84 yards out of Hyde on 17 carries.

But if there's room for improvement, the Buckeyes weren't exactly hanging their heads after hanging half-a-hundred in their opener.

"We put up 56 points, and I mean, we probably played at 75 percent today," fullback Zach Boren said. "We didn't even come close to what we can really do, and I think that's the scary part."

There will, after all, still be encore performances for Meyer and his offense.

Austin Ward | email

Ohio State/Big Ten reporter