COLUMBUS, Ohio -- There were certainly no style points for Ohio State on Saturday.
But, no matter how the Buckeyes did it, they wrapped up their nonconference schedule with another win to stay unbeaten.
The offense was explosive for brief periods only; the defense missed more tackles; and Ohio State gave up a touchdown on special teams by having a punt blocked. But OSU escaped with a 29-15 win over UAB on Saturday at Ohio Stadium, and that is ultimately the only thing that will matter to coach Urban Meyer -- at least until he watches film to prepare for Michigan State next week.
It was over when: Braxton Miller pushed his way into the end zone midway through the fourth quarter for a short touchdown that finally gave the Buckeyes some breathing room, a score he followed up by waltzing in for two more points on the 2-point conversion that effectively put the game away.
Game ball goes to: The sophomore quarterback didn’t have nearly as much yardage and didn’t supply as many points as he had early in the season, but Miller was again the difference-maker for Ohio State. He had help in the rushing game from Jordan Hall, and defensively Doran Grant emerged to lend a significant hand, but Miller’s efficient passing and dynamic rushing saved the Buckeyes again.
Stat of the game: Hall rushed for 105 yards in his second game of the season after returning from foot surgery in June, and the coaching staff showed no hesitation to get him involved and take the pressure off Miller by giving him 17 carries and throwing to him twice.
How the game was won: All it took was one offensive spurt just before halftime and a defense that wouldn’t allow UAB anywhere near the end zone. The Buckeyes gave up plenty of yardage and missed more tackles -- a bad habit they tried to kick in practice this week, but all the Blazers could really manage offensively were field goals. That was never going to be enough against Ohio State’s attack -- regardless of how sporadic it might have been.
What it means: Meyer’s team is far from a finished product, but the Buckeyes can’t complain about their record as they enter Big Ten play. There are issues to correct in every phase of the game, but odds are Meyer and his staff won’t be quite so conservative against better competition.