Sept. 24, 2011
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio State got back on the winning track Saturday afternoon, defeating Colorado 37-17 in front of 105,096 fans at Ohio Stadium.
Balance was the name of the game for the Buckeyes (3-1), who rebounded nicely from a 24-6 setback last weekend at Miami. Solid performances from both the defense and special units provided the OSU offense with outstanding field position throughout the contest, and gritty rushing and improved passing attacks proved difficult for the Buffaloes (1-3) to defend.
Freshman quarterback Braxton Miller was effective in his first career start, completing 5 of 13 passes for 83 yards and two touchdowns - both to freshman wide receiver Devin Smith - while adding 84 yards on the ground. Junior running back Jordan Hall provided a spark to the Buckeye rushing attack, toting the ball 18 times for 84 yards and a touchdown. Hall had 231 all-purpose yards in the contest, with 135 on kickoff returns.
Defensively, the Buckeyes stifled the Colorado rushing attack, limiting the Buffaloes to 76 yards on the ground.
Ohio State struck first, scoring on its second possession of the game. After a CU three-and-out and 20-yard punt, the Buckeye ground attack marched 43 yards in seven plays, capped by a 1-yard TD run from Hall for a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
Sophomore defensive end Adam Bellamy put the Buckeye offense in prime position on its next drive by recovering a Rodney Stewart fumble at the Colorado 22. Sophomore kicker Drew Basil cashed in on the turnover with a 28-yard field goal to give the Buckeyes a 10-0 lead with 4:49 to play in the first.
Miller and Smith connected for a 32-yard touchdown on the first drive of the second quarter to up the Buckeye lead to 17. Colorado countered on its next drive as Tyler Hansen hit Toney Clemons with an 11-yard TD on fourth down to put the finishing touches on a 10 play, 83-yard drive that cut the Ohio State advantage to 10.
Momentum would swing back in favor of the Buckeyes late in the second quarter. With 23 seconds left before halftime, the Buffaloes fumbled a Ben Buchanan punt that junior defensive back Zach Domicone recovered at the 11-yard line. Basil connected from 18 yards for a 20-7 Ohio State lead heading into the locker room.
Smith hauled in a 17-yard TD pass from Miller on the opening drive of the third quarter for a 27-7 Buckeye advantage. CU responded on its following possession with an eight play, 60-yard drive that ended in a 47-yard field goal by Will Oliver.
Hall sent the Ohio Stadium crowd into frenzy on the ensuing kickoff, dashing 90 yards down the sideline to set up the Buckeye offense at the Colorado 5. Sophomore running back Carlos Hyde cruised into the end zone on the following play to make the score 34-10.
Basil's third field goal of the game - a career of 47 yards - extended the Ohio State lead to 27 (37-10) early in the fourth quarter. The Buffaloes tacked on a late TD - a 14-yard strike from Hansen to Tyler McCulloch - to provide the final margin.