Sunday Morning Quarterback: Evaluating Ohio State’s 31-16 win against Central Florida
Published: Sunday, September 9, 2012
Updated: Sunday, September 9, 2012 14:09
It didn't come easy, but No. 12 Ohio State outlasted Central Florida, 31-16, to improve its record to 2-0. First-year coach Urban Meyer remained unbeaten at OSU, but his Buckeyes were far from perfect yesterday afternoon.
Depth at running back is a serious concern
Redshirt junior Carlos Hyde watched most of the game from the sidelines after suffering an apparent knee injury in the first half. At Meyer's post game press conference, the coach said he thought Hyde had sprained his MCL and could potentially miss next week's game against California. The Buckeyes were already thin at running back, and Hyde's injury creates serious depth concerns.
Senior Jordan Hall, who missed the first two games due to an offseason injury, is expected to return soon. Even if Hall is healthy, Meyer will need one of his young backs to establish themselves as a solid second option in Hyde's absence.
Freshman Bri'onte Dunn has seen limited action thus far, but will likely have an expanded role next week against California.
Braxton Miller and Urban Meyer look like a match made in heaven
Sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller is turning OSU's already-decorated record book into his own biography. A week after setting the school record for rushing yards by a quarterback, Miller ran for 3 touchdowns, the most by an OSU quarterback since Art Schlichter's three-score effort against Illinois in 1978.
Miller stumbled out the gates in the team's opener against Miam (Ohio)i, but looked strong from the start against UCF. The sophomore signal-caller completed 18-of-24 passes for one touchdown and 155 yards.
He did throw his first interception of the season, and wasn't able to complete a pass of more than 15 yards, but you can't deny his ability as a play maker. Through two weeks, Miller has been one of college football's most exciting players.
Miller may be doing too much
Miller rushed for 141 yards, and you could argue that OSU needed every single one of them to win. But they also need a healthy Miller, and that can't be guaranteed when he's taking this many hits. Miller carried the ball 27 times against UCF, and Meyer said that was too much.
"Someone has to run the ball and right now he's our best answer," Meyer said. "But 27 carries, you could tell he was kind of blown in that fourth quarter."
Meyer is right; Miller is OSU's best option as a runner. And with the team's running back woes, the coaching staff is in an unenviable position. Finding ways to move the ball with the run game, yet rely less on Miller, will be one of Meyer's most important tasks this season, and something to pay close attention to next week.
Give an extra helmet sticker to...
Miller is an obvious choice here for all the reasons mentioned above, but I'll give some much-deserved recognition to senior defensive back Orhian Johnson.
Johnson received more playing time at nickel back than he did last week, and made the most of his expanded role.
His interception in the fourth quarter squashed UCF's hopes of a comeback, as the Knights had the ball in the redzone with a chance to cut the lead to eight points. He also deflected a pass in the first half that led to an interception.