Sept. 1, 2012

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

Ohio State 56, Miami University 10

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Setup: On the occasion of the first game since 2011 in which Ohio State was not led onto the field by coach Urban Meyer, it is worth noting that it’s also the sixth anniversary of the first of Meyer’s 81 games as OSU coach. Then as now, the mood was roiling in Columbus. In 2012 the Buckeyes were under a postseason ban imposed by the NCAA for violations under Jim Tressel in the tattoo scandal; this year Meyer is serving a three-game university suspension for his failures in the Zach Smith domestic-abuse matter. A game against Miami in 2012 didn’t figure to be any tougher than a matchup against Oregon State in 2018, but that’s not how it started.

Stars: Braxton Miller pulled the Buckeyes out of an early funk with two second-quarter touchdown passes and finished with 161 yards rushing and a score. Carlos Hyde added 82 yards rushing and two TDs. For the RedHawks, quarterback Zac Dysart passed for 303 yards, but he was intercepted twice by Travis Howard.

Turning point: Ohio State’s first four possessions netted 48 yards and zero points, but Miller’s two TD passes — one a spectacular one-handed grab by Devin Smith — helped the Buckeyes to a 21-3 halftime lead. On the first play of the second half, Miller juked past Miami’s D.J. Brown and streaked down the left sideline for a 65-yard touchdown run, and the Meyer era began with a romp.

Impact: An occasional bout with the struggles became all too familiar early in the season for Meyer’s first team, including sleep-inducing performances at home against the likes of California and UAB. But the Buckeyes found and then extricated themselves from a tough environment at Michigan State, and suddenly they were a team. The escape — coupled with the acceptance of their fate as postseason ineligible — seemed to take the pressure off, as we will learn.

Quotable: “That darned first quarter, I was embarrassed with the way we were playing. … But after that, what a great day.” — Meyer, reflecting on his first game in the Horseshoe

— Ray Stein

rstein@dispatch.com

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