COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — More than 105,000 fans — almost all of them rooting for the Buckeyes — piled into Ohio Stadium on Saturday. Yet the visiting Miami RedHawks all but silenced them in the first quarter.
In the end, though, it was just a delaying tactic.
The three-touchdown underdogs completely outplayed 18th-ranked Ohio State early but couldn't close the deal. Braxton Miller rushed for one touchdown and passed for two more, rushing for a record 161 yards by a Buckeyes quarterback, to lead the way to a 56-10 victory over the RedHawks.
"All of us have big-game experience at Florida, Missouri and Boise State," said Miami quarterback Zac Dysert, referring to recent road trips by the RedHawks. "I don't think the atmosphere got to us. They were just the better team today."
Miami had three possessions in the first quarter and each time moved into Ohio State territory — twice inside the 10. Yet it mustered just 3 points.
"All of them sting when you don't get into the end zone," coach Don Treadwell said. "When you get down there in the red zone, no matter who you're playing, you have to come away with points. We came up short. That makes a difference."
The RedHawks drove from their own 35 after the opening kickoff to a second-and-1 situation at the Ohio State 45, but Dysert misfired on one pass and another was dropped and they were had to punt.
The defense did its job, forcing the Buckeyes to punt on their first four possessions. By the end of the quarter, Miami held a 172-48 advantage in yardage.
On their second trip with the ball, Dysert completed a 42-yard pass to his favorite target, Nick Harwell, to set up a first down at the Ohio State 11. Then he hit Harwell for a 5-yard gain on first down.
Again, however, the RedHawks missed their chance. Dysert passes to David Frazier and Justin Semmes were dropped. Then freshman Kaleb Patterson was just wide right on a 24-yard field goal.
After another punt, Dysert connected on a 58-yard pass to Dawan Scott to get a first down at the Ohio State 10. On third and goal from the 4, Dysert's high pass to the back of the end zone to a wide-open Harwell was dropped.
Patterson converted the 22-yard field goal, but it was clear that the RedHawks had blown their chance to knocking the Buckeyes back on their heels.
"We came out playing the way we expected to play," said linebacker Jaytee Swanson. "Then a couple of missed tackles and missed assignments really took a big hit on us."
Early in the second quarter, Miller threw high to Devin Smith in the end zone, and Smith leaped high and grabbed the ball with his right hand, then cradled it before he crumpled to the turf. That touchdown finally snapped the Buckeyes out of their doldrums and opened the floodgates: Ohio State scored on five straight possessions and had a sixth end with a tackle for no gain at the Miami 1.
"We should have scored a couple of touchdowns early, but it didn't happen," said Dysert, who completed 31 of 53 passes for 303 yards and a touchdown (44 yards to Harwell) with two interceptions.
The Buckeyes didn't let the opportunity get away, with Miller scoring on a 65-yard, stutter-step run and also hitting Corey Brown on a 5-yard scoring pass. Carlos Hyde added two TD runs and Bradley Roby took advantage of a too-high Miami punt snap, falling on it in the end zone for another score.
It ended up being a good day for Urban Meyer, who was making his debut as Ohio State's coach.
In time, those 105,000-plus fans had a lot to cheer.
"You come out of there with points and you get a little momentum going," Treadwell said.
But the RedHawks never did.
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