Defense Dominates Second Ohio State Scrimmage

The Silver Bullets carried the day as the Ohio State offense and defense scrimmaged at Ohio Stadium for a second consecutive Saturday. The offense managed only three field goals and no touchdowns as the defense dominated.

Michael Brewster was not sure what to call the Ohio State football scrimmage Saturday at Ohio Stadium, but the All-America center was willing to concede it was the defense's day.

"There's a little frustration but I'd say this is maybe our worst day of the spring. We had a real good week of practice," Brewster said. "We've just got to take a look at the film, see what we can fix and go from there."

The next-to-last Saturday of most years of spring practice usually features a long jersey scrimmage that determines whether the offense or the defense wear the scarlet tops in practice for the rest of April and the beginning of preseason camp, but most expect that right to be on the line next week when the public is invited to watch another scrimmage that will serve as the annual Scarlet and Gray game.

One week earlier, the offense had the better of the action, but this chapter undoubtedly went the defense's way.

The day began with the offense holding a 56-45 lead in a score held over from the previous week, but it ended with the defense in possession of a commanding 87-72 advantage on the scoreboard.

With both squads mixing and matching starters and reserves as the morning wore on, the offense never got its footing. There were no touchdowns during scrimmage play, and four turnovers swung the action in the favor of the defense. Three sacks and a trio of three-and-outs helped, too.

"We see them in practice very day and we know the offense is very good," defensive lineman John Simon said. "All week we worked on relaxing a little bit and just playing together and I think it paid off."

An inauspicious start foreshadowed things to come as the offense began at its own 3-yard line. On the first play, Dan Herron was brought down in the end zone by Johnathan Hankins and a host of other Buckeyes, but the his forward progress was ruled to have stopped at the 1-yard line. After he carried for no gain on second down, quarterback Joe Bauserman threw incomplete to end the series.

Jaamal Berry started the following series with a 9-yard burst, then Taylor Graham squirted free for a 10-yard gain on a quarterback sneak to convert third-and-1.

The redshirt freshman signal caller could not move the chains again, however, as he fired three consecutive incomplete passes, the third a toss down the seam that was well behind freshman tight end Jeff Heuerman.

Kenny Guiton was the third quarterback to take a turn, and the sophomore's first pass went through the hands of intended receiver Corey Brown then safety Jamie Wood before settling into the mitts of cornerback Bradley Roby for the first turnover of the day.

Guiton got another turn but led a three-and-out that ended with cornerback Travis Howard breaking up a pass intended for Brown on third down.

Freshman Braxton Miller went under center next and promptly handed to redshirt freshman tailback Rod Smith three straight times for gains of three, nine and three yards. A fumbled snap on the ensuing second down presented the offense with a third-and-8 it could not convert, however. The possession came to an end after Miller's pass bounced off the hands of tight end Spencer Smith. A hurried throw was not quite on target thanks in part to pressure from blitzing linebacker Jordan Whiting.

The offense finally scored on possession seven with a 34-yard field goal by Drew Basil, but the Guiton-led drive began at the defense's 22-yard line.

Basil later added a pair of 38-yard field goals, one on a Bauserman possession that started at the 22 and another Graham engineered from midfield.

The latter 38-yarder pulled the offense within 74-72 on the scoreboard, but little went right from that point.

On the ensuing possession, Simon beat Andrew Norwell to the outside to bat the ball out of Guiton's hand for a fumble that the junior defensive lineman fell on for a sack and a turnover.

"That was just a great job by the whole defense giving me some time to get back there with coverage and I was able to get a one-on-one matchup and make a play," Simon said.

Miller followed with a tight throw down the seam to Verlon Reed that looked like it would be a big play for the offense but ended in disaster. Freshman safety Jeremy Cash drilled Reed just after he hauled in the pass, jarring it loose and into the hands of linebacker Dorian Bell on a play unofficially ruled a fumble.

The third turnover of the day came on another seam pass, this one a Bauserman toss that bounced off Berry's shoulder pads and into the arms of Roby for his second pick of the day.

"The defense had a nice day and you expect that from our defense because they're always on point, but it's just like that one back-shoulder pass to Jaamal maybe could have gone for a touchdown if he maybe looked back a little sooner," Brewster said. "It bounced off him for an interception. A lot of little things like that. Once I thought the QB was ready and he wasn't (on a bad snap) so that was a 15-yard loss. Just those little things right there but I guess better now than in the fall."

The statistical standout on the day was easily Smith, who carried seven times for 30 yards.

No one caught more than one pass, and none of the quarterbacks had a completion percentage over 50.

Guiton was 3 for 8 for 30 yards with the interception while Graham was 3 for 10 for 21 yards. Bauserman was 1 for 3 for 11 yards and an interception, and Miller was 2 for 4 for 22 yards.

All stats are unofficial.

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