That turned out to not be a difficult task, as the Buckeyes cruised out to a 34-0 lead through three quarters and silenced an offense that returned several starters, including quarterback Josh Betts, and ranked 13th during the 2004 season in total offense.
Still, head coach Jim Tressel characterized the victory as "another half-step forward for us."
"It was a good workout – no question," Tressel said in the Sept. 10, 2005 edition of Buckeye Sports Bulletin. "A lot of guys got to play, which is another good thing. There will be a lot of things we can study on film."
Betts had a rough afternoon despite a solid stat line (24 of 44 passing for 250 yards and a touchdown). He was sacked five times and hurried throughout the game. Of his throwing yardage, 111 came in the fourth quarter against second- and third-string defenders.
"They did a great job with pressure," Betts said. "I know they had some questions with their defensive line, and I thought they did a great job. We did our best, which is a credit to them."
Junior quarterback Justin Zwick completed 17 of 23 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown for Ohio State. He gave way to redshirt freshman Todd Boeckman after building a sizable advantage, and the St. Henry, Ohio, native connected on 5 of 7 passes for 67 yards and a score. Junior quarterback Troy Smith was serving a one-game suspension and did not play.
Ted Ginn Jr., Santonio Holmes, Anthony Gonzalez and Roy Hall all caught five passes, and Ginn and Homes each recorded touchdowns. On the ground, OSU was led by sophomore Antonio Pittman. He rushed 14 times for 100 yards.
Zwick got the Buckeyes off to a quick start, leading the Buckeyes quickly down the field on their first offensive drive. Ohio State did its impressive of a West Coast offense, connecting on slant passes, curl routes, fades, draws, off-tackle runs and screens. A 12-play, 74-yard drive ended with a 20-yard touchdown reception by Holmes from Zwick.
"That was huge," Zwick said of the opening drive. "That's what every quarterback – what every offense – wants. You want to take the ball and drive down the field to make a statement, and we felt like that's what we did."
Ohio State added more points on its second drive, driving to the Miami 3-yard line before settling for a 20-yard Jon Huston field goal that capped the scoring in the first quarter.
The Buckeyes added 10 more points in the second stanza but could have had more. Ohio State's third drive ended when Zwick had a pass intercepted by Miami cornerback Darrell Hunter in the end zone.
"That's one I'd like to have back," Zwick said. "I was probably guilty of trying to make too much happen there. Luckily, it didn't hurt too much."
Huston added a second field goal, this one a 27-yard boot, late in the second quarter and then the OSU defense got on the scoreboard before halftime. Donte Whitner, who had earlier been flagged for a roughing the punter penalty, picked off a Betts pass at the Miami 26 and returned it for a touchdown.
"That was a pretty big momentum-changer right that," said senior linebacker Anthony Schlegel, who was one of five Buckeyes to record a sack. "It went from 13 to 20 points real quick, and right before halftime. That gave us a huge lift."
That momentum swing led to two more Ohio State touchdowns in the third quarter. Senior tailback Brandon Schnittker scored his first career touchdown on a 1-yard run and Ginn later added a 42-yard TD reception from Boeckman.
Miami's lone points came in the fourth quarter. Jimmy Calhoun got the RedHawks on the scoreboard with a 2-yard TD burst, and Ryne Robinson closed the scoring with a 35-yard touchdown reception from Betts. Robinson's score came after an OSU turnover. Following MU's first score, OSU freshman Malcolm Jenkins fumbled the ensuing kickoff.
Still, the mood following the game was positive.
"It was a good day all the way around," linebacker Bobby Carpenter said. "Now we have to build on it."