Ohio State Buckeyes show plenty of vulnerability vs. Navy

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The Ohio State Buckeyes opened their 2014 regular season against the Navy Midshipmen in Baltimore, MD.

The game pitted the Buckeyes, who lost star quarterback and Heisman hopeful Braxton Miller for the season with a shoulder injury, against the Middies triple-option offensive attack, an offensive scheme that is difficult to plan for and play against as they are the only major college football program that employs the system.

Redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett took over the reigns for Miller and struggled a bit early on as Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer opted to employ a conservative game plan for his recently-decided upon quarterback.  Meyer was also breaking in a nearly new offensive line, replacing 4 departed linemen from last season and didn’t want to overwhelm Barrett in his first star turn in manning the Ohio State offense.

The Middies opened with a 7-3 lead on a DeBrandon Saunders 1 yard touchdown run as the Middies were utilizing their ground game to their advantage.  The Buckeyes then tightened the score 7-6 on Sean Neuemberger’s second field goal to finish the 1st half.

In the 3rd quarter, Navy was driving deep into Ohio State territory on the next possession when Navy halfback Demond Brown fumbled the option pitch and Ohio State’s Darron Lee scooped up the fumble and raced 61 yards to the end zone to put the Buckeyes up, 13-7.

Navy responded, however, by driving the ball down the field, capped off by a Keenan Reynolds touchdown and the Midshipmen were back up, 14-13.

The Ohio State Buckeyes and Barrett began to open things up by connecting on an 80 yard pass to Devin Smith to put the Buckeyes up, 20-14.

After Navy opened the 4th quarter with a field goal, the Buckeyes began to assert themselves and put away the Middies with 2 touchdown scoring drives and won the game by a final score of 34-17.

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Barrett overcame the early jitters by completing 12 of 15 pass attempts for 226 yards and ran the ball 9 times for 50 yards.  Overall, the Buckeyes rushed for 194 yards on 40 attempts while Navy’s ground assault was its usual stellar self with 370 yards on 63 rushing attempts.

Meyer was relieved to come out with a victory, stating in his post-game press conference, “we won it and the best thing about it is that’s it’s in our rear-view mirror.”  While the offense did shake off its early doldrums, the defense, particularly its front seven, struggled against the smaller Middies offensive line.

The Ohio State Buckeyes host Virginia Tech next week in Ohio Stadium while Navy hosts the Temple Owls.

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