5 Answers: Ohio State at Miami

This week we expected quarterback play, special teams and the running game to be major factors in the Buckeyes' success. We also check how the players returning from suspension on both sides affected the outcome.

1. Can Ohio State's quarterbacks make plays while avoiding turnovers?

An emphatic no.

Joe Bauserman completed only 2 of 14 pass attempts for 13 yards. He rarely put the ball up for grabs, but on multiple occasions he threw the ball away when it appeared he could have had something if he tried to challenge a defender.

Braxton Miller was 2 for 4 for 22 yards with a pair of turnovers. His interception came on a batted ball, but his second giveaway was squarely on his shoulders. In his exuberance, to lift his team out of a 17-6 hole in the fourth quarter, the freshman left the ball exposed during a 6-yard scramble up the middle. Miami's Micanor Regis punched it loose from behind, ending Ohio State's last serious offensive threat.

"There's a lot of blame to go around the whole team," Ohio State head coach Luke Fickell said. "We're not going to blame each other. We're going to go take a hard look at it and figure out where we need to go to move forward."


2. Will Jacory Harris bounce back from his poor showing in the Horseshoe?

The Miami quarterback was far from spectacular, but his positives outweighed his negatives. He threw a pair of touchdown passes in the first quarter to Allen Hurns and ended up 16 for 23 for 123 yards. The turnover bug bit him again, but not as severely as last year.

He threw a pair of interceptions, both of the head-scratcher variety. The first came when he waited far too long to try to complete a deep play-action pass, allowing C.J. Barnett to drift over from the middle of the field and pick it off. The second was a bad underthrow that found its way into the hands of Bradley Roby and set up an Ohio State field goal.

Harris continued to flirt with disaster later in the game as he had a pass go through the hands of Ohio State safety Christian Bryant in the fourth quarter. Bryant had plenty of green grass in front of him had he held onto the pigskin.


3. Will the Ohio State special teams provide a boost or a bust?

Travis Benjamin returned Ben Buchanan's second punt 24 yards to give the Hurricanes a short field for their second touchdown drive, but overall the Buckeye special units were solid.

Buchanan averaged 46.5 yards per punt with a long of 60. He landed three inside the 20-yard line.

The game also featured the first two successful field goals of Ohio State sophomore Drew Basil's college career. He connected from 22 and 24 yards to account for all of the Buckeyes' points.


4. Who will win the rushing battle?

Miami tailback Lamar Miller ripped off a 54-yard run on the Hurricanes' first play from scrimmage and ended up with 184 yards on 26 attempts. Mike James added 45 yards on 12 carries as the Hurricanes finished with 240 yards on the ground. That marks the most allowed by Ohio State since Illinois picked up 270 yards in Nov. 2007.

"They creased us on a pressure should be pretty decent in and those kinds of things hurt," Fickell said. "Sometimes it messes with your psyche, too, especially when you're talking about getting off to a fast start. We left a lot of them out there."

Sparked by the return of Jordan Hall, the Buckeyes also ran well, but their effort was not enough. Hall had 87 yards on 14 carries, part of a 174-yard day for Ohio State.

Hall likely could have had a better day had his second half not been marred by injury.

"He hadn't played in a couple weeks and I think those emotions hit you a little bit," Fickell said. "I think he just cramped up."


5. What effect will players returning from suspension have on the game?

Hall provided a big boost to the running game, and starting cornerback Travis Howard had two tackles. Reserve safety Corey Brown played special teams.

"We were excited to get (Howard) back," Fickell said. "We kind of had that feeling the whole time. Those three guys battled it out and we know we're going to need all of them so we try not to let them focus on who starts and who gets the most plays."

Five players returned for Miami, including Harris. Benjamin had three catches for 13 yards to go with the long punt return. Linebacker Sean Spence had six tackles and deflected the pass that ended up being Miller's interception. Regis had five tackles, forced a fumble and broke up a pass. Adewale Ojomo had three tackles, including 1/2 for a loss.


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