Aug. 31, 2013

Each week, Gameday+ takes a look at an Ohio State game played on this date:

Ohio State 40, Buffalo 20

Setup: The 2012 season was something of an exercise in joyful futility. The Buckeyes went undefeated in Urban Meyer’s first season as coach, but NCAA lawmen deemed that they forgo postseason eligibility because of misdeeds from the tattoo scandal that took down Jim Tressel. So Ohio State just played them all and won them all and licked their chops for the 2013 season, which began on a steaming late August afternoon.

Stars: Jordan Hall rushed for a career-high 159 yards that included touchdown runs of 49 and 37 yards, and Braxton Miller threw two TD passes for the fast-starting Buckeyes, who led 23-0 after one quarter on the strength of three touchdowns and two two-point conversions. Buffalo rallied behind linebacker Khalil Mack, who showed why he would be an NFL star with 2½ sacks and a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown that helped turn OSU’s runaway into a stomach-churner.

Turning point: Buffalo trimmed Ohio State’s lead to 30-20 early in the third quarter, then recovered a fumble by Miller at OSU’s 2-yard line. But the turnover was nullified by a hands-to-the-face call on Mack, so the Buckeyes maintained possession and went on to drive to a clinching touchdown on a pass to Chris Fields from Kenny Guiton, who was in the game because Miller was suffering from cramps.

Impact: Guiton saw more playing time as the season progressed as Miller dealt with injuries, and the Buckeyes found their gear with a mix of blowouts of overmatched opponents and gutty performances against tougher nuts and on the road. Their winning streak reached 24 before spectacularly crashing in the Big Ten championship game (Michigan State) and Orange Bowl (Clemson).

Quotable: “I like the fact that they fought. I like the fact they jumped out early and they like to play. That’s the positive. The negative is that you need to sustain consistent effort and intensity.” — coach Urban Meyer, on his team’s uneven play

— Ray Stein /