’Hawks show signs of life in Columbus
Going Long with Geisler
Published: Friday, September 7, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 7, 2012 00:09
It might seem silly to point out now, but our Miami University RedHawks had the mighty Ohio State University (OSU) Buckeyes on the ropes for a minute there last Saturday.
More precisely, 15 minutes.
The RedHawks marched inside the 10-yardline twice in the first quarter, coming away with only a field goal (their inability to get in the end zone was probably their kiss of death).
All while Ohio State had nothing going on offense — clearly struggling schematically with the way Miami defended its base formation, and go-to plays — and struggled to cover Miami’s 5-wide attack on the other side of the ball.
After the first quarter, Buckeye quarterback Braxton Miller and company turned on the jets, the defense recovered and the Scarlet and Gray never looked back, winning 56-10.
And though their coaches will tell them otherwise (as they should), the RedHawks’ collapse was wholly understandable.
It was us against the beginning of the Urban Meyer era, and the RedHawks competed for a spell. That’s pretty much the best-case scenario in such a match-up.
The enthusiasm in the Horseshoe was palpable; Ohio State students are all convinced their team is going 12-0.
For better or worse this was a warm up game, and like all good warm-ups, at least the Buckeyes were forced to break a sweat.
Taking a step back from the score, the game was full of positives, giving fans reason to believe in a team that by and large played disappointingly horribly last year.
Miami quarterback Zac Dysert was incredibly impressive, racking up over 300 yards and 31 completions. But more impressively, he took a ton of hits and dealt with far too many drops. However, he did not allow it to break his will against the vaunted silver bullets.
The defense played with some backbone, but OSU’s athleticism dominated after the first quarter. And the offensive line, which struggled mightily last year, often held their own against the likes of Ohio State defensive linemen John Simon and Jonathan Hankins.
Finally, the game plan put Miami in a position to compete, and its five wide receiver sets worked especially well. These sets are the great neutralizer in football, especially when a team knows it cannot run the ball going into a game (unfortunately, when the field compresses in the red zone, this advantage is gone — here lies the reason the RedHawks could not score a touchdown early).
And defensively, the RedHawks certainly forced Meyer and co. to go further into their bag of tricks than they wanted to when they shut down the Buckeyes’ base set.
The RedHawks will not play a more physical team for the rest of the year. Nor will they play one that is better coached.
As long as they are not overly dejected from their big loss and take away some of the obvious positives, they are set up well to compete in the Mid-American Conference.
They could even compete against a Boise State University team that looked good, but not great in its loss against Michigan State University last week.
Of course the team should not look ahead.
Miami can right the ship right here at Yager Stadium this weekend against Southern Illinois University.
If what the team showed against Ohio State was any indication, I’d say there is a good chance the ‘Hawks out on top.