The Cleveland Fan on Facebook

The Cleveland Fan on Twitter
Buckeyes Buckeye Archive Meyer's Buckeyes Take Off
Written by Dan Wismar

Dan Wismar

Miller SabinoOhio State held their annual spring game Saturday, a combination football exhibition and recruiting showcase, as Braxton Miller and freshman receiver Mike Thomas grabbed the headlines on the field, and another blue-chip recruit succumbed to the allure of playing for Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes. Meyer was a visible presence all afternoon, staying close enough to the action to take a shotgun snap from center after firing up his troops with a one-on-one drill at midfield before the game.

Both teams came out throwing the ball, as Meyer had promised they would, and Miller’s Scarlet squad came out on top 20-14 with the help of Thomas’ 12 receptions for 131 yards. It didn’t escape notice after the game that OSU’s leading receiver had 14 receptions for the entire 2011 season. Meyer said last week that total was more like a game’s worth, and he set out to prove it Saturday.

Miller and backup Kenny Guiton combined for 57 pass attempts, against just 36 combined rushes. Miller and the Scarlet got 15 first downs passing, and only three running the ball, as Buckeye fans got their first look at Meyer’s no-huddle spread attack. Both quarterbacks established the pass to the perimeter early, opening up the short inside throws and seam passes to the tight ends.

BrionteDunn1Sophomore Rod Smith led all rushers with 47 yards, including a 7-yard TD run in the 4th quarter that accounted for the Scarlet’s winning margin. Freshman Brionte Dunn (pictured) led the Gray in rushing with 33 yards.

Miller completed 24 of 31 for 258 yards, with one interception, and Guiton had a solid day for the Gray as well, going 17 of 26  for 191 yards, including 28-yard strike to Devin Smith for a touchdown. Miller benefitted from having 80% of his starting offensive line with him in Scarlet, and with Carlos Hyde running the ball, they marched 65 yards for a quick score on their first possession. Miller looked sharp on the drive, completing 4 of 4 for 51 yards before Hyde scored from  a yard out.

The Gray took their only lead at 14-13 lead in the 3rd quarter when Guiton ran it in from four yards out on an option, but Smith put the Scarlet back on top at 20-14 with his TD run with less than five minutes to play. Guiton drove the Gray to the Scarlet 16 with completions to Philly Brown of 21 and 23 yards, but safety Christian Bryant picked him off inside the five yard line to preserve the win for the guys in red.

The announced attendance at the Horseshoe on a cold, damp afternoon was 81,112, but that number was probably arrived at by adding the 65,000+ pre-sale gate to the game-day sales. There were plenty of no-shows, and veteran estimators put the actual attendance closer to 60,000.

Priorities in Order

Meyer sat out more than a dozen key contributors with various injuries....or not... including his best player John Simon and Simon’s running mate Jonathan Hankins, the two mainstays of the defensive line. Hankins just had a minor knee scope procedure done, and when asked why Simon didn’t play, Meyer answered, “because he didn’t need to.” Starting tailback/slot receiver Jordan Hall was also held out of action, and after the game Meyer named him at the top of his list of Buckeye offensive playmakers.

Thomas1Miller was rushed hard by the Gray defense, but the rules and the quick whistles permitted only (seven) touch-sacks, saving him untold pain from guys like DE Adam Bellamy and Etienne Sabino. Miller was restricted from running the ball much...again, according to plan, but he eluded the rush nicely a few times, and threw the ball on the run with zip and accuracy.

Thomas, (#83 at right) the early enrolling freshman from California, made a strong case for a spot in the regular receiver rotation, hauling in everything thrown his way all day, and breaking free a couple times for gains of 23 and 20 yards. Redshirt freshman tight end Nick Vannett looked good in his first game action at OSU, with 5 receptions for 52 yards.

Meyer took the occasion of a Scarlet field goal attempt to keep Drew Basil on the field to try a few longer ones after he gave his team a 10-0 lead on a 41-yarder. Basil made one from 53 before missing twice at 58-yard attempts. Ben Buchanan punted for both teams and had a forgettable day, with one complete shank, and several short, low liners. Devin Smith was fair-catching all punts, and there were no kickoffs.

Defensively, linebacker Ryan Shazier looked like he’s primed for a big season, as he led the Scarlet with eight tackles. Orhian Johnson led the Gray with seven stops. Adam Griffin played well at corner for the Gray, with five tackles and an interception of Miller. Michael Bennett showed why he is a budding star at defensive end, and Chris Carter looked like he could develop into a contributor on the defensive line after switching over from offense.

And Alex Makes Eleven

After taking in the game with a group of recruits, outside linebacker Alex Anzalone confirmed that he has committed to Ohio State for the class of 2013. Anzalone  is a 6’3”, 220 lb. two-way athlete from Wyomissing, PA, who held offers from all the top programs, from Alabama to USC and Florida State to Oklahoma. The staff is hopeful they can also land Ft. Lauderdale defensive lineman Joey Bosa (Scout #2 DE) after he too made a return trip to Columbus for the day. An announcement from Bosa was expected as early as Saturday evening, but nothing is official yet.


CarmenOhio2Meyer appreciates the traditions of OSU football, and he plans to continue one established by Jim Tressel...the singing of the alma mater "Carmen Ohio" after each game.


on Twitter at @dwismar

Dan’s OSU Links


(photo credits - Jim Davidson and Dan Harker -

OZone Spring Game Gallery


The TCF Forums