COLUMBUS – For those fans that wanted to see The Ohio State University get tested, wish granted it.
The Buckeyes survived against the University of Toledo 27-22 Saturday at Ohio Stadium.
A weeek after pasting the Akron Zips 42-0, OSU had quite a tussle with the Rockets, who hadn't scored in two previous meetings against the Buckeyes.
Now, the talent level is different between Akron and Toledo.
While the Zips are struggling to move in a positive direction, the Rockets are one of the favorites to win the Mid-American Conference this season. Toledo has also had a penchant for knocking off big-time programs, like Penn State, Pittsburgh, Kansas and Michigan in the 2000s.
The Rockets, led by wide receiver Eric Page and running back Adonis Thomas, play fast. They also got into a groove and nearly pulled off the upset.
Still, OSU gained the win, improving to 2-0 on the season. They will head to South Beach Saturday to play the Miami Hurricanes.
The Buckeyes, who were still without running back Jordan Hall and defensive backs Travis Howard and Corey Brown, plus running back Dan Herron, offensive lineman Mike Adams, defensive lineman Solomon Thomas and wide receiver DeVier Posey, did some good things and did some things that need work.
1. OSU won the rushing battle 112-46, something coach Luke Fickell was pleased with afterward. While the Rockets passed for 292 yards, the Buckeyes did a good job of stopping their running attack
2. Tight end Jake Stoneburner continues to be an integral part of the OSU attack. He led the team with four receptions, including a nifty one-handed catch on a 26-yard scoring strike from quarterback Joe Bauserman in the first quarter.
3. Bauserman went 16-of-30 for 189 yards in his first full college game. He smartly threw the ball away at different times to avoid interceptions/sacks.
4. Chris Fields took a punt back 69 yards for a touchdown right before half to give OSU a 21-15 halftime lead. “I'm excited about what Chris Fields did, not just because he took it back, but how much he maybe improved from last week to this week in punt returns,'' Fickell said.
5. That OSU was tested. In fact, the game was in doubt until the final seconds as Toledo was stopped at the Buckeye 16. “You figure out how tough you are when there are situations whether you're down or up by four or up by six, or up by five or you've got to make a play in the last 45 seconds of the game.
1. While Bauserman didn't make many mistakes, he missed out on opportunities as well, especially with deep shots downfield.
2. A receiver hasn't emerged yet. Devin Smith and Verlon Reed both caught two passes, while Corey Brown and Fields picked up one each.
3. For the second straight game, running back Rod Smith had a crucial fumble. The Buckeyes were trying to put the game away when Smith put the ball on the ground and gave the Rockets a chance to pull out the win . “I'm not down on Rod,'' Fickell said. “He obviously knows he's got to get better.”
4. Special teams continue to be a problem. This has been going on for a year. A blocked punt allowed the Rockets to score a touchdown. “Obviously we can't have special teams lapses,'' Fickell said. And kicker Drew Basil missed a field goal for the second straight week.
5. Although OSU did a good job on Toledo's rushing game, the Rockets picked up nearly 300 through the air. Page was a big part of the attack with 12 for 145 yards and two touchdowns, including a 66-yarder.