This was a great game to watch, with Ohio State fans saying it should have been a blowout, while Miami folks will insist their team could have won. And both could be right, but that's what makes college football so great.
The Miami Wall Of Defense: Have to give major props to the Miami defense, because their offense put them against the wall time after time, but they kept battling. They forced six field goal attempts and held Ohio State on numerous occasions in the red zone, and they deserve praise for the guts and tenacity. If Ohio State punches in a few touchdowns in the first half, that game could been over early, but the Miami defense wouldn't let that happen. Ohio State thought Miami might be soft defensively, but that wasn't the case. Their toughness enabled Miami to be in a position to stay in the game until the end.
Buckeye O-Line: The offensive line needed to come up big against a Miami defense stacked against the run, and Ohio State STILL ran the football. In years past, a stacked front by a good team meant 32 rushes for 59 yards, but not last Saturday. The downside to playing man-to-man with a stacked front is you let a running quarterback loose, and that clearly happened with Terrelle Pryor. All in all, the Ohio State offensive line played well against a talented defense. Two who stood out were Mike Brewster going against Marcus Fortson, and those two were both battling their tails off. Two great players and neither backed off an inch.
The TP factor: Terrelle Pryor was not consistent throwing the football, and he may never be a highly accurate thrower, but he is devastating as a dual-threat quarterback. He missed a few easy throws that he needs to make, Jake Stoneburner and Philly Brown come to mind, and that would have put up seven instead of three. But Pryor's ability to run is so hard to both defend and plan for. Much of his yardage comes when plays break down, and then he plays "I'm more talented than you are." Pryor will never be Tom Brady or Peyton Manning as a quarterback, but he is a chain mover and a supreme playmaker. He was good against Miami, and being good against every opponent could lead Ohio State to an undefeated season. Hard to envision Ohio State losing a game where TP plays really well. Pryor did nothing to hurt his Heisman chances, and will need to win it based on "best player on the best team." Not individual numbers.
Buckeye Defense Never Rests: Miami will probably be the best offense Ohio State will face during the regular season, and several individuals came up big. Brian Rolle was big against the run, and he's certainly not a liability in pass coverage. Devon Torrence and Chimdi Chekwa won't face receivers like that again this year, at least both hope not, and they came up big. The Ohio State defense stressed coming up and laying the wood on the Miami receivers, and C.J. Barnett, Jermale Hines, Tyler Moeller and Torrence certainly got that memo. Barnett's injury could be worse than people thought, and would give original starter Orhian Johnson his job back. Johnny Simon is becoming a fan favorite, and it's no wonder why, as the sophomore plays every play as if its his last. Nathan Williams returned and proved why he's the best pure pass-rusher on the squad.
Cam Show: Didn't mention Cameron Heyward above because he deserved his own paragraph. He was the best football player on the field, and he changed the game with his interception. If Miami scores on that possession, this game gets very, very interesting going down the stretch. But the interception aside, Miami still hasn't blocked Heyward, and they tried everything possible. They doubled him, slid protection toward him and ran away from him, but it didn't matter. He is an All-American, and played like one. Contrast that to Allen Bailey of Miami, a potential All-American defensive end, who was MIA.
Hurricane O-Line Grows Up: There was a lot of concern in the Miami camp over their rebuilt offensive line, and early in the game they were getting rolled by Heyward, Simon and company. But they got settled in as the game wore on, and played really well in the second half. Should Seantrel Henderson and Brandon Linder get to the point where they can be counted on to provide depth, this unit should continue to improve, and be a force later in the year.
Old Friend Shows Well: Miami defensive back Brandon McGee won a lot of Buckeye hearts throughout the recruiting process, once his story was told, and he's still highly-thought of in Ohio State circles. Nice to see Brandon play a lot, and play well on Saturday. Great kid, and there's no way to not be touched by his message on his gear, a tribute to his late mother. Gotta root for Brandon McGee.
The Non-Covering Coverage Units: Not sure what needs to be said, and I sure don't know what the fix is, but it's pretty hard to believe there aren't 11 athletes on the roster that can run 40 yards and tackle someone. It's gone on for a long while too, and no fix is in sight, but at some point it will cost Ohio State a game. File this under "Preaching To The Choir."
The Third Wide Receiver Situation: I guess it's still Taurian Washington, and I'm not sure it matters all that much. The emergence of Stoneburner as a weapon, and Brandon Saine's ability to catch passes out of the backfield, makes the #3 wideout not much of a concern, to be truthful. The next few weeks should see a lot of players get serious playing time, so this position should shake out alright. Would love to see Grant Schwartz start, and play, the entire game at wide receiver.
To Boom, Or Not To Boom: Dan Herron is better than he was last year, and he deserves the football, but it might be time to give Jaamal Berry extended carries. Every time Berry touches the ball, it seems he's going to the house. As opposed to last year and the year before, when NOBODY ever felt Flash Thomas was getting out past the 25-yard line. Jaamal is a weapon. Let's get him touches over the next few weeks against the MAC. Still think "Boom" Herron had an excellent game against Miami, but he doesn't have the burst or explosiveness of Berry.
J-12, or J-INT: I know Jacory Harris is under a lot of criticism for the interceptions, and although he wasn't great, his performance wasn't terrible. To his credit, he hung in there, took some shots, and delivered the ball under pressure. Could Miami have run the football more to take pressure off Harris? Probably. Two of the picks were clearly the fault of the receivers, and the Heyward interception was a great play, by a great player. He obviously needs to play at a higher level, but I think Miami can win, and win big with Harris.
To cut to the chase, the Ohio State-Miami game was a fun game to watch, and next year's rematch figures to be an intense struggle down in Coral Gables. But that's another story, for another day.