April 21, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio State's Scarlet team defeated the Gray team, 20-14, Saturday on a nippy, gray afternoon at Ohio Stadium in the 2012 LiFE Sports Spring Game. Braxton Miller threw for 258 yards and Rod Smith capped his 47-yard rushing day with a winning touchdown run from seven yards out.
True freshman receiver Michael Thomas wasted no time in building a nice rapport with Miller as he caught 12 passes for 131 yards. Red-shirt freshman tight end Nick Vannett caught five passes for 52 yards. Miller was 24-of-31 on the day with one pass intercepted by Adam Griffin.
Kenny Guiton completed 17-of-26 passes for 191 yards with a 28-yard touchdown reception to Devin Smith. He threw an interception on the Gray's last drive of the day...Christian Bryant picking the ball off in the red zone with the Scarlet holding on to a 20-14 lead.
Scarlet led, 13-7, at halftime as Miller threw for 197 yards in the half, completing 16-of-22 passes. Thomas, the nephew of USC great and former pro Keyshawn Johnson, caught eight passes in the half for 78 yards. Chris Fields had three catches for 50 yards.
A Carlos Hyde one-yard run staked Scarlet to a 7-0 lead less than 3 minutes into the contest. Drew Basil hit a 41-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead but Gray scored inside of a minute to go in the first half as Guiton found Smith over the middle with a laser of a throw that Smith hauled in and then sprinted untouched into the end zone.
Basil kicked a 32-yard field goal to end the half.
Guiton scored on a 4-yard run late in the third quarter and Smith capped a 65-yard drive with less than five minutes to play for the final points of the day.
A crowd of 81,112 was on hand to watch the debut action of Coach Urban Meyer's first Ohio State team.
No to low play: A large number of Buckeyes were not able to play today while recovering from various ailments, surgeries and injuries, including SAF C.J. Barnett, SAF Christian Bryant, DL Se'Von Pittman, SAF Zach Domicone, WR Evan Spencer, FB Darryl Wood, DL Kenny Hayes, WR Verlon Reed, LB Curtis Grant, LB Storm Klein, TE Jeff Heuerman, OL Jacoby Boren, DL Nathan Williams, DL Johnathan Hankins and SAF Jamie Wood.
Jordan Hall, expected to be a key go-to and throw-to player for the Buckeyes' offense this fall, was held out simply as a precaution.
Boom! Boom! Before the game, Ohio State coaches set up their "circle drill" at midfield where two players square off in a one-on-one battle of strength and dominance. John Simon and Jack Mewhort opened the drill and some of the additional battles were between Jake Stoneburner and Zach Boren, and Braxton Miller vs. Kenny Guiton.
Another field goal thing: Drew Basil stayed busy after his 41-yard field goal early in the second quarter that made the score 10-0 Scarlet. After he made the attempt coach Urban Meyer kept the field goal team out and Basil followed with six more attempts...consecutively from 41 (good), 45 (blocked by Adam Bellamy), 45 (good), 53 (good), 58 (about five yards short) and another from 58 (just short). All in all: nice work by the field goal unit in a short amount of time.
One week ago today Meyer and the Buckeyes drew national attention for an indoor scrimmage in front of 3,100 students that included Basil kicking field goals while being surrounded by hundreds of students.
Oskies: Adam Griffin, son of the great Archie Griffin, intercepted Braxton Miller for the first turnover in the game with 7:42 to play in the second quarter and the Scarlet leading 10-0. Scarlet's defense held on three downs. Christian Bryant's late interception of Kenny Guiton's pass thwarted a Gray drive that had reached the Scarlet 16. Bryant intercepted the pass at the 2 and returned it 15 yards.
Misc. notes and good stuff... Braxton Miller completed his first five attempts of the scrimmage. ... Key offensive go-to players heading into the fall, according to coach Urban Meyer, are RB Jordan Hall, TE Jake Stoneburner, RB Carlos Hyde, WR Corey Brown, WR Michael Thomas and WR Devin Smith. ... Ryan Shazier led the Scarlet team with eight tackles. Orhian Johnson led the Gray with a game-high seven solo tackles. Adam Griffin and Etienne Sabino had six tackles apiece for the Gray while Luke Roberts, a true freshman, had five. Linebackers Stewart Smith and Conner Crowell had five tackles for the Scarlet in support of Shazier.
Remembering D.C.: Today's spring game was the first Ohio State football game in 38 years that did not include D.C. Koehl in the press box handling things from a statistical standpoint. D.C., who passed away in January, joined the sports information office in 1973 after graduating from Ohio State earlier that year. He is dearly missed, and he will forever be missed on football Saturdays in Ohio Stadium.
Urban Meyer, head coach
On the game today
"Over 80,000 people on a beautiful fall day in Columbus, Ohio [laughs]. I really appreciate that. It was not a pretty day for a scrimmage, but we had to get some things accomplished and I think we did that. To watch `Hang on Sloopy' was a touching moment. I want to thank our players, they came out and competed. Not many teams today can have spring games because you get so beat up. Our guys did a good job of toughing it out."
On the offense today
"We did some things offensively that we wouldn't normally do. We are going to be a very balanced offense. We are taking one of the worst passing teams in America, a year ago, and we need to find out if we can pass. We know we can run the quarterback, we didn't run him one time today. We need to find out if we can throw the ball. That was the objective today. I have a better opinion of the guys now."
On Braxton Miller's passing ability
"He can pass the ball. His release is an A. Arm strength is a B, but I am very critical. His accuracy is a B or C, so he needs to get better. He had a very good spring and a very productive spring. He has a lot of talent."
Jack Mewhort, junior offensive lineman
On the improvements of the offensive line
"Since the beginning of winter we have grown by leaps and bounds. Guys have matured and our responsibilities have increased. Everyone is responding well to the new regime."
On the offense starting to click
"We were scrimmaging one day this week and we got together with coach (Urban) Meyer and coach (Tom) Herman and they said we need to turn it on and get it together. I feel like we have progressed well as the spring has gone on."
Corey Linsley, junior offensive lineman
On the offensive line improving
"We were all in a whirlwind last year. I was in a whirlwind. This program didn't have a concrete foundation to it. We wiped the slate clean, put some hard work in and now we are back on track."
On his goals this season
"I wanted to put hard work in this spring. I wanted to solidify my spot as the starting center. I want to prove myself as a player. Now that I have done that, my goal is to be All-Big Ten. I want to be the best possible center I can be."
Ken Guiton, junior quarterback
On himself in the offense
"We have come a long way in this new offense. We are all doing a good job with it. I haven't been perfect, but that's what the offseason is for. I'm looking to come out strong next season."
On the fans
"We really have the best fans. They came out to support us in this bad weather."
On the circle drill
"It is really fun. It's something we do before practice most days. We [Guiton and fellow quarterback Braxton Miller] both got caught in there today."
On learning the offense
"It hasn't been too bad. We have coaches available to answer questions at any time."
Michael Bennett, sophomore defensive lineman
On his performance in the spring game
"I wasn't too happy with my performance today, but I did alright. I tried to make some things happen and got in the backfield a little, though. It was an okay game."
On past injuries
"Last year a lot of my problems were from my left arm not being strong from an injury I had in high school. It hurt every time I got hit. I started this spring not wearing a brace and haven't really thought of it since then."
On the circle drill
"It gets guys amped. When the guys go out there and win a battle it gets everyone all amped up and ready to go. We didn't expect the quarterbacks to get out there today. That was the biggest one. But you have to expect to get thrown out there or you're going to get embarrassed."
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