"We identified our issues and we also identified our strengths," Meyer replied after being asked the main things his first spring in scarlet and gray accomplished. "Now we have to go out and have the greatest offseason in the history of college football. That starts Monday."
Passing ruled the proceedings with the two squads combining for 55 throws as an announced crowd of 81,112 braved chilly and sometimes-rainy conditions to watch the Buckeyes' retooled offense under Meyer.
The new head coach put several stipulations in place for the game, including 10-minute quarters and a running clock in the second half as well as no contact for quarterbacks Braxton Miller and Kenny Guiton. That conspired to keep the teams from completely showcasing their new spread attack, but it also allowed the QBs a chance to show off their arms.
Miller led the Scarlet to the victory by completing 24 of 31 passes for 258 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. Wide receiver Michael Thomas was Miller's favorite target as the redshirt freshman gathered in 12 catches for 123 yards. OSU's leading receiver caught only 14 balls all of last season.
Meanwhile, Guiton connected of 16 of his 24 attempts for 185 yards, one touchdown and one pick for the Gray. Junior wideout Corey "Philly" Brown totaled seven receptions for 90 yards while fifth-year senior Taylor Rice had three catches for 18 yards.
As a result of all the throwing, neither team eclipsed the 50-yard mark in rushing. Sophomore tailback Rod Smith was the game's leading rusher with 46 yards and a touchdown on eight carries for the Scarlet. True freshman Bri'onte Dunn paced the Gray, carrying seven times for 32 yards.
The Scarlet drew first blood in the contest by taking the opening possession 65 yards for a touchdown. Miller completed all four of his pass attempts on the drive, including a leaping, twisting grab by Fields that was good for 25 yards. Junior tailback Carlos Hyde, who finished the game with 14 yards on four carries, bolted over from the 1 for the touchdown.
Junior kicker Drew Basil added the extra point to give the Scarlet a 7-0 lead at the 7:43 mark of the opening quarter. Basil was slated to miss the game with a gimpy ankle but wound up doing the placements for both teams.
Basil made it 10-0 for the Scarlet with a 41-yard field goal at the 9:47 mark of the second period, a kick that began an unusual sequence at the behest of Meyer. The coach, who was a constant presence on the field just behind the offense the entire afternoon, instructed Basil to attempt another three-pointer … and another after that … and another after that.
In all, Basil attempted seven field goals from varying distances. He was good twice from 41 yards, had a 45-yarder blocked before nailing a second try from that distance, blasted home a 53-yard bomb and then was short on a pair of attempts from 58 yards.
Despite all of that kicking, only the first 41-yarder counted on the scoreboard and the tally remained 10-0 until Guiton connected with sophomore receiver Devin Smith on a 28-yard touchdown pass with 37 seconds to go before halftime.
Basil added the PAT to make it 10-7, and then tacked on a 32-yard field goal for the Scarlet on the final play of the half to make it 13-7 at the break.
The Gray took its only lead of the contest with a short touchdown drive late in the third quarter. After Scarlet punter Ben Buchanan shanked a 14-yard kick, Guiton engineered a four-play, 22-yard drive, capping things with a 4-yard touchdown run. After Basil's point-after, the Gray enjoyed a 14-13 advantage with 0:08 remaining in the third period.
But Miller rallied the Scarlet, thanks in part to a crucial penalty on the Gray. Miller's pass intended for Thomas bounced off the receiver and into the arms of Gray defender Tyvis Powell with 6:40 left in the game. But the Gray was whistled for a hands-to-the-face penalty, wiping out the turnovers and giving new life to the Scarlet.
Two plays later, Miller hooked up with Thomas for a 23-yard gain and Rod Smith followed with a 7-yard touchdown run. Basil added the PAT to push the Scarlet back into the lead at 20-14 with 5:29 to go.
The Gray still had a chance to put out the victory, but Guiton was intercepted by Scarlet safety Christian Bryant near the goal line with 2:55 remaining and the Gray never got the ball back.
Defensively, Gray defensive back Adam Griffin led all tacklers with nine stops. Griffin, the son of two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin, also snagged an interception.
Sophomore linebacker Ryan Shazier led the Scarlet with seven tackles, including two for loss and a sack.