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Buckeyes Buckeye Archive Ohio State Rips Zips 42-0
Written by Dan Wismar

Dan Wismar

BausermanAkron2Luke Fickell won his debut as Ohio State head coach as the Buckeyes routed an overmatched Akron Zips team 42-0 at Ohio Stadium Saturday. Joe Bauserman threw three touchdown passes to tight end Jake Stoneburner, and ran 15 yards for another score on a broken play , and the OSU defense was as oppressive as the 99-degree heat, completely smothering the Zips’ punchless offense.

Bauserman drove the OSU offense to a score on their first possession, running it in himself after a mixup in the backfield on a designed running play. The next three Ohio State touchdowns were completions of 28, 11 and 2 yards to Stoneburner, who set a modern day OSU record for tight ends with three TD catches in a game.

The OSU defense held Akron to five first downs for the game and 90 total yards. Despite the impressive stats for the defense, it needs to be said here that the Akron Zips will have to improve a bit before they can be called a bad football team. They simply had no weapons to seriously threaten to score on offense. The Zips were true to their nickname on the scoreboard, crossing midfield just once in the game, proceeding to miss a field goal as the first half expired.

Balance on Offense

RodSmithAkron1The OSU ground attack featured two young running backs getting their first extended duty as Buckeyes, and sophomore Carlos Hyde (93 yds, 19 att.) and redshirt freshman Rod Smith (74 yds, 18 att.) both responded with solid performances. Smith (#2 at right) fumbled the ball away inside the Akron 5-yard line as the Bucks were going in for what would have been their second TD in the first quarter, but he atoned for that mistake with his first career TD, a 2-yard run in the fourth, to cap the OSU scoring. Junior fullback Zach Boren deserves a large share of the credit for the team’s 224-yard rushing total, relentlessly lead-blocking for the tailbacks like a 255-pound battering ram.

Bauserman ran the offense efficiently and made no glaring mistakes, going 12 of 16 passing for 163 yards, with the three TD’s. He added 32 yards rushing, including the TD, and was not sacked. On the day, the OSU offense racked up 517 total yards (293 passing, 224 rushing).

The OSU debut of freshman quarterback Braxton Miller came on the first series of the second quarter with the Buckeyes up just 7-0. Tight end Reid Fragel dropped a well-thrown ball from Miller on a 2nd-down play and then a bad shotgun snap from center Mike Brewster gave him no chance to convert on 3rd down. Fickell then went back to his senior quarterback to finish off the half and begin the second, but Miler would make the most of his second half opportunities.

Youth is Served

Miller took over the offense with the Buckeyes up 28-0 in the third quarter, getting his first two completions and a first down before stalling out on his first second half possession. But the third time was the charm, as he drove the offense 59 yards for a TD next time out. He hooked up with freshman receiver Devin Smith for 20 yards on a designed rollout on the first play, scrambled around left end for a 12-yard gain, and three plays later, hit Smith again for a 15-yard TD.

A shanked Akron punt left Miller (#5 below) with a short field later in the 4th quarter, and he got the first 33 yards of a 38-yard touchdown drive when freshman receiver Evan Spencer made the play of the day (year?) with a leaping one-handed snag of Miller’s sideline throw at the Zips’ 5-yard line. Rod Smith’s 2-yard TD run followed, and the rout was complete.

The OSU veterans like Bauserman, Stoneburner and Andrew Sweat (6 tackles, 1 Int.) had solid games, but the impressive youth movement on this team really stood out as the game progressed. Miller and his young receivers Smith, Spencer and Verlon Reed stood out, as did tailback Rod Smith, but the Buckeyes got very encouraging performances from some young defenders as well.

Defensive lineman Michael Bennett and linebacker Ryan Shazier had a sack apiece in the second half, and redshirt freshman end J.T. Moore was active with three tackles including one TFL. Dominic Clarke filled in nicely for the suspended Travis Howard at corner, contributing four tackles and breaking up two passes. Freshman corner Doran Grant looked good on kick coverage, and defensive lineman Darryl Baldwin picked up a sack while playing well overall.

A Shutout

The defensive dominance by the Silver Bullets was convincing and complete, the ineptitude of the Akron offense not being entirely coincidental. The Zips averaged 2.0 yards per offensive play, and never reached the red zone. Zip quarterbacks amassed 55 yards passing all day, with 33 yards of it coming on one play, setting up their field goal attempt. They had 79 positive rushing yards, but lost 44 on sacks and losses, netting just 35. This team might have a hard time matching last year’s 1-11 record.

Random Notes

BraxtonMillerAkron1Special teams was a mixed bag for the Buckeyes in this one. Kickoff coverage was very good overall (credit to former walk-on, senior safety Nate Ebner for several plays there) although the Zips got some daylight on one 42-yard return late in the game. Drew Basil missed on his one field goal attempt, including a second crack at it after a defensive penalty. And Ben Buchanan punted three times for a decent 42.0 yard average, with a long of 49 yards.

The kick return teams were clearly missing their best returner Jordan Hall, with Philly Brown, Chris Fields and Devin Smith all getting a shot at it, and looking unsure of themselves.

The only downside to the victory was an injury to Antonio Underwood, the true freshman offensive lineman, who was one of very few O-Line backups that has shown himself ready to contribute in games. Nothing more yet to report on the nature or severity of what was some kind of leg injury.

It was a pretty clean game penalty-wise for an opener. The Buckeyes were called just three times for 29 yards, one of those a fluky offensive face-mask call on tackle Andrew Norwell.

Next up for the Buckeyes is Toledo, a much better football team than the that is expected to contend for the MAC championship. OSU expects a return to action for their best cornerback, Travis Howard, and their best tailback and kick/punt returner Hall.

It’s hard to find fault with a 42-0 win, and Luke Fickell will gladly file this one away in the ‘W’ column as a successful debut. But it’s hard to draw any real conclusions from a game against an opponent this miserable. That will begin next week, but it may not be realistic until they face off with the Hurricanes two weeks from now in Miami.



OSU Official Game Stats

ESPN Recap


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(photo credit - Jim Davidson, Dan Harker -

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