Quarterback battle rages on as offense wins Spring Game, 59-27
Published: Saturday, April 23, 2011
Updated: Saturday, June 16, 2012 00:06
The Ohio State offense made up for last week's scrimmage by beating the defense in the annual Spring Game. The game was cut short by severe weather moving in, giving the offense a 59-27 victory and the right to wear the scarlet jerseys.
Although the offense dominated the second half of the scrimmage, the defense began by keeping the offense out of the end zone through its first eight possessions.
Throughout the first four possessions, the Buckeye offense struggled, completing just three of 10 passes and allowing three sacks. The offense also committed three penalties, including a flag for delay of game.
The offense finally found the end zone on its ninth possession of the scrimmage, as redshirt sophomore Kenny Guiton found redshirt freshman Verlon Reed in the back corner for a 17-yard touchdown.
Senior wide receiver DeVier Posey said the new environment in Ohio Stadium led to the offense's slow start.
"For a lot of the younger guys, it took them a while to get into the flow today, getting used to the crowd and the stadium," Posey said. "But after the first hit and the first pass, everyone was able to relax and play well."
Freshman Braxton Miller and redshirt freshman Taylor Graham each led the most impressive drives of the day.
Miller led the offense 92 yards on 14 plays, capped off by a five-yard touchdown run by junior Jordan Hall.
Graham finished off an eight-play, 97-yard drive with a 68-yard pass to redshirt freshman T.Y. Williams.
Senior linebacker Andrew Sweat said Miller had an impressive day and should become a good player for the offense. The young quarterback finished 7-of-12 for 73 yards and a touchdown, and rushed for 19 yards on four carries.
"I think Braxton did a great job of being mature and learning the plays, and I think he'll be a good player," Sweat said.
Hall and each of the other running backs had impressive days on the ground. Hall finished with 37 yards on eight carries, freshman Rod Smith had 36 yards on seven carries and senior Dan Herron had 40 yards on six carries.
Besides the running backs' success, each of the four quarterbacks looking to replace senior Terrelle Pryor during his five-game suspension recorded touchdown passes.
Pryor and four other players will be suspended for the first five games of next season for selling memorabilia and receiving improper benefits, and coach Jim Tressel will join them for not properly reporting their transgressions.
The favorite to win Pryor's starting spot in the first five games, fifth-year senior Joe Bauserman, said each quarterback had his moments during the scrimmage.
"We're all battling hard to make strides," Bauserman said. "We made some mistakes, and there were some good plays and some bad plays."
Tressel said spring practice has been successful for the team and that Saturday's scrimmage was a good way to finish.
"You want to leave practice 15 as healthy as you can," Tressel said. "We banged pretty hard this spring. All in all, we had a good spring. It was a different type of Spring Game today."
Sophomore defensive lineman Johnathan Hankins went down with an injury on the 12th possession of the scrimmage, but was able to walk off the field. Tressel said there were no substantial injuries Saturday.
The scrimmage was run with a nontraditional point system. Points were awarded based on offensive and defensive merits rather than the actual scoring.
The defense was awarded two points for each sack, and one point for each tackle behind the line and for each forced punt.
The offense was awarded six points per touchdown, three points per field goal and one point for each first down and for each 20-plus-yard play.
The Buckeye offense scored five touchdowns, and sophomore kicker Drew Basil hit two field goals, one from 22 yards and one from 27 yards.
Senior defensive lineman Nathan Williams said the defense was not focused on the points during the scrimmage.
"We really didn't pay much attention to it," Williams said. "Our focus was on doing our jobs and exciting the coaches when they turn on the film. Our guys did a good job responding this spring."
Senior center Mike Brewster said that although the game was different, it was a good way to end the spring.
"It was a little crazy," Brewster said. "You take a lot of reps, which is different from practice. I was really pleased with today."