Ohio State overcame the loss of star quarterback Braxton Miller with a clinical 42-7 defeat of San Diego State today in sun-splashed Ohio Stadium.
Miller, a junior who is considered one of the top candidates for the Heisman Trophy, suffered an injury to his left knee on the Buckeyes’ seventh play from scrimmage as he finished a 5-yard run on a fourth-and-one play from the San Diego State 12-yard line.
He was sandwiched by defenders Jake Fely and King Holder, his helmet popping off in the process. Miller stayed on the ground for a few minutes, apparently dazed, then walked off the field at the 12:02 mark of the first quarter. After a few minutes of medical attention behind the OSU bench he was taken to the locker room on a cart.
Wearing a brace on his left knee, Miller returned to the field late in the quarter to cheers from the crowd of 104,984 but never got back in the game.
For this game, anyway, Ohio State (2-0) didn’t need him.
Freshman Dontre Wilson scored on the play after Miller departed on a 7-yard run around left end, and backup QB extraordinaire Kenny Guiton directed the Buckeyes to five more scoring drives in the next eight possessions as they ran out to a 42-0 lead with 4:34 remaining in the third quarter.
Guiton had two touchdown passes, both to Corey “Philly” Brown -- a 27-yard strike in the first quarter and a 24-yarder in the third. Guiton also ran 44 yards for a score to give Ohio State a 28-0 lead in the second quarter.
For the game, Guiton finished 19-of-28 passing for 152 yards with the two TDs and an interception. He added a team-high 83 yards rushing on nine attempts.
One week after a quiet game against Buffalo, Brown caught six passes for 73 yards, and Devin Smith added seven catches for 46 yards. Jordan Hall had 75 yards rushing to lead OSU’s 263-yard rushing attack.
The Buckeyes forced three turnovers by San Diego State (0-2) and limited the Aztecs to 99 yards in a dominating first half that ended with Ohio State holding a 35-0 lead.
First-quarter scoring summary
OSU: Wilson 7 run (Basil kick), 11:49. Drive: Eight plays, 50 yards, 2:15. Key plays: Heuerman 25 pass from B.Miller on third-and-6 from the San Diego State 46; B.Miller 5 run on fourth-and-1 from the 21; Wilson scored on the next play after taking a pitch left. Ohio State 7, Buffalo 0
OSU: Brown 27 pass from Guiton (Basil kick), 6:23. Drive: Five plays, 56 yards, 2:25. Key plays: Wilson 8 run on third-and from the Aztecs 47; R.Smith 12 pass from Guiton for first down at the 27; Guiton hit Brown on a streak route on the next play. Ohio State 14, San Diego State 0
OSU: J.Hall 4 run (Basil kick), :03. Drive: Nine plays, 57 yards, 3:33. Key plays: D.Smith 16 pass from Guiton on third-and-12 from OSU 41; Guiton 16 run for first down at Aztecs 27; Brown 10 pass from Guiton for first-and-goal at the 4. Ohio State 21, San Diego State 0
Analysis: Off the script
As it had been the week before against Buffalo, Ohio State was sharp again at the start, just not with the same personnel. Quarterback Braxton Miller was injured on the Buckeyes’ first drive as he finished a 5-yard run on a fourth-down play. Miller’s helmet popped off as he was hit by King Holder and Jake Fely, and he stayed on the ground for a few minutes before walking off. He later was carted to the locker room with what was called a left-knee injury, but he was back on the field by the end of the quarter. OSU did just fine in Miller’s absence, thank you. Ace reliever Kenny Guiton led the Buckeyes to three touchdowns, the first coming on a pitch to Dontre Wilson on his first play. Guiton later delivered a perfectly thrown 27-yard scoring pass to Corey “Philly” Brown, then took Ohio State on a late-in-the-quarter scoring drive that included a key third-down pass to Devin Smith and a 16-yard run up the middle. OSU was even better on defense, limiting the Aztecs to 3 total yards on 11 plays and forcing one turnover, an interception by Doran Grant.
Second-quarter scoring summary
OSU: Guiton 44 run (Basil kick), 5:33. Drive: Five plays, 77 yards, 2:28. Key plays: Wilson 18 run on first down from OSU 23; D.Smith 9 pass from Guiton on third-and-4 from OSU 47; on the next play, Guiton took off up the middle with the Buckeyes in a five-receiver set. Ohio State 28, San Diego State 0
OSU: R.Smith 1 run (Basil kick), 3:15. Drive: Three plays, 24 yards, 1:25. Key plays: Bennett recovery of Kaehler fumble to give OSU possession at Aztecs 24; J.Hall 25 run for first-and-goal at the 1. Ohio State 35, San Diego State 0
Analysis: Foot on the gas
No second-quarter slumbers for the Buckeyes this week. The quarter was not without its hiccups – Guiton was intercepted on OSU’s first drive of the quarter when he threw a flat deep pass to Devin Smith instead of airing it out, and the Buckeyes also committed another personal-foul penalty by rouging the punter, this time by Jordan Hall. Ohio State took a 28-0 lead with 5:33 left in the half when Guiton burst through a huge lane up the middle for a 44-yard touchdown run, a play that started with OSU having four receivers bunched wide right and another lined up left. Michael Bennett caused and recovered a fumble a few plays later and the Buckeyes cashed in again, Rod Smith leaping in from a yard out one play after Hall’s 25-yard run on a well-executed option play. The Aztecs finally threatened late in the half, driving from their 31 to the OSU 2. But on the final play of the half, Grant broke up Quinn Kaeher’s pass intended for Ezell Ruffin and the teams headed for the locker room. Ohio State owned a 309-99 yardage advantage at halftime.
Third-quarter scoring summary
OSU: Brown 24 pass from Guiton (Basil kick), 4:34. Drive: 11 plays, 66 yards, 5:52. Key plays: Elliott 4 run on third-and-1 from OSU 43; late-hit penalty on San Diego State’s Seau, giving OSU a first down at Aztecz 36; Guiton 4 run on fourth-and-2 from the 28; he and Brown hooked up on the next play. Ohio State 42, San Diego State 0
SDSU: Young 2 pass from Kaehler (Feer kick), 1:41. Drive: Six plays, 72 yards, 1:53. Key plays: Kaehler passes of 17 yards to Roberts, 18 yards to Ruffin and 18 to Lockett for first down at the OSU 19. Ohio State 42, San Diego State 7
Analysis: Going through the motions
Once the alumni band had finished its halftime performance without any major cramping issues, the only drama was whether the Buckeyes could complete the shutout. They could not. San Diego State didn’t dent the scoreboard until it was 42-0, however, the Buckeyes cashing their second possession of the half behind Guiton’s second scoring pass, a 24-yarder to Philly Brown. One play before, Guiton had kept the drive alive with a 4-yard run on fourth-and-2 from the 28. SD State then marched 72 yards in six plays, the first four totaling 14 yards or more. Before that drive, OSU had allowed only four plays of 10 or more yards in the game. Backup QB Quinn Kaehler completed the drive with a 2-yard flip to Chad Young on a bootleg.
Fourth-quarter scoring summary
Analysis: Not much to see
By the final few series, the only sections that remained filled in Ohio Stadium were the two holding the bands – the regular band in the south stands, the alumni in the north end zone. This was college football garbage time at its less-than-finest, though the backups who populated the field were happy for the chance to make an impression. Among those who did were Armani Reeves, who started the game but mostly sat behind Bradley Roby until the fourth quarter. Reeves intercepted a Kaehler pass in the final five minutes, after the Aztecs had moved inside the OSU 30-yard line. Later, backup defensive end Jamal Marcus thwarted San Diego State’s final attempt by forcing a fumble that tackle Chris Carter recovered. Those who remained showed their appreciation.