It wasn't Citizen Kane...at first.
Seeing as it is already the Tuesday after the first game in the Urban Renewal Era at Ohio State, many aspects of the Miami Game have been Saturday Afternoon, and Sunday and Monday Morning Quarterbacked on this site and everywhere else in the Buckeye Nation Blogosphere. The general consensus has been overwhelmingly positive for the good guys: staunch defense hits hard, has some flaws. The offense wants to score in bunches and won't let a stupid thing like "field goals" be part of any second of the game (be they the first or last second of a half). Braxton Miller could stutter step Usain Bolt and beat him to pay dirt. And so on.
These were all great things to watch, and they should prove a lot of fun to behold over the next few months of the season, and for three quarters, even the never-ending fourth quarter (anyone else take a quick nap? I can't be the only one), the facepalm-enducing elements of Walrus-ball and the never ending emphasis on the special teams, seemed like the past was fading away as quickly as Miami's chances to post the OU-like upset of a B1G team in week one.
But about that first quarter...
Maybe it was the temperature and humidity that made for the lackluster opening quarter of the 2012 season. Maybe it was months and months (and months) of waiting to see the product that Urban Meyer and his staff was going to put on the field. Maybe it was the fact that every game, from Miami to Michigan, and each one in between, is acting like the bowl game for this squad. There was plenty of build up to the first game of the year, but the result was less than pleasing, especially to a fan base (and certainly to a team) that was expecting fireworks from the get go.
When the two teams hit the turf on Saturday, only one looked at all ready for a college football game - the team wearing Red and White, not Scarlet and Gray. Zac Dysert led the RedHawks to 182 yards of offense in that first quarter and a total of three points, which really should have been 14 or 21 points if several Miami wide outs hadn't replaced their hands with their elbows and feet. Compare that to Ohio State's first four drives - 15 plays, 48 yards, four punts, and a handful of Tums.
It had been reported that the first 10-12 plays for the Buckeye offense were going to be scripted, and what we found out was that the script, well...sucked. Tom Herman and Urban Meyer were probably looking for something like "The Dark Knight" with that script, but the on-field product more closely resembled "Batman Forever". Braxton Miller played a key role in 13 of those first 15 plays, aggregating a dismal 1-7 passing and just 35 yards on the ground. Very Kilmer, hardly Bale.
Once the clock hit zeroes the the first quarter came to an end, however, it was clear that some script doctoring was well in the works. Carlos Hyde gets some momentum and hits a big gainer on his first touch of the second quarter. Miller went long to Philly Brown on his first pass of the second quarter. And then this:
Go back and watch it again and ask yourself if, when you saw it live, did you think there was any chance that could have been a touchdown? I didn't. I had to see every replay before I was able to summon words to describe what that was.
Just like that, the story went in a completely different direction and the old script went the way of Jim Bollman and running Dave on third and eight. The rest of the game was pretty easy on the eyes for Buckeye fans, with Miller continuing to awe (ALL STUTTER STEP EVERYTHING) and the defense hunkering down and never letting Miami back within hailing range of the Good Ship Meyer.
"I didn’t like it at the time," Meyer told reporters yesterday during his weekly press conference. "But I think everybody got kind of hit in the face a little bit and responded."
So where do the Buckeyes go from here? Central Florida comes into town, chest puffed out (for some reason) after demolishing Akron, and a great number of people are looking at this game as a potential trap for the Buckeyes. While it's true that Ohio State's second game of the season isn't, historically, their best effort, one of the things that has impressed me the most about the new regime on the sidelines is their ability to adapt to whatever is in front of them. First there was a bowl ban, then there was a top flight recruiting class. Then there were some trees that got peed on, followed by contrition and eventual reinstatement. Jordan Hall cuts his foot picking up dog shit, Carlos Hyde is ready to fill that gap.
The first quarter of the Miami game was no different. The RedHawks had free reign in that quarter and that could have spelled doom for the good guys. But the writing team of Meyer, Herman, Fickel, et. al. made sure that the script changed more than enough to ensure a victory by a wide margin, with all the pieces coming together at the end.
Here's hoping the script for UCF has a similar denouement.