Jacory Harris continued to make the same mistakes that plagued him last season. He tied a career high by throwing four interceptions in one contest. Two were the fault of wide receiver Travis Benjamin, but Harris should have been wiser and just thrown the ball away if he noticed he and Benjamin were communicating poorly. Harris was unable to put the team on his back like all great quarterbacks do. Harris finished 22-for-39 with 232 yards passing and one touchdown. The turnovers were costly, none was bigger than the pick that occurred during the Canes’ opening drive in the third quarter inside the red zone. Harris fluttered a ball that was intended for Damien Berry, but it was caught by defensive lineman Cameron Heyward and he returned it 80 yards. In response, Ohio State remained in cruise control. Harris continues to show how fragile he is: at one point during the game, he was limping because of cramps.
Running Backs: D+
The unit of Damien Berry, Lamar Miller and Mike James was never able to establish any consistency. As a team, Miami ran the ball 20 times for 128 yards. Berry led all backs with 94 yards, but that’s because he had one long run for 42 yards that skewed the statistics. I would have liked to see freshman Storm Johnson get some touches. Senior Graig Cooper did not travel due to a lower extremity injury.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: F
Miami’s lone offensive touchdown came on the first play of the fourth quarter as Harris connected with Chase Ford on a nine-yard strike. That was the only positive though. Travis Benjamin had two miscues that led to two Ohio State interceptions. He simply ran the wrong routes which is inexcusable for a veteran like himself. On one series, LaRon Byrd, Aldarius Johnson and Chase Ford all dropped balls in the red zone. Hankerson quietly picked up 90 yards on seven snags but was not the impact receiver Cane fans were hoping for.
Offensive Line: C
Jacory Harris was only sacked twice. Pass protection was definitely better than run blocking. Harris had time in the pocket and none of his four interceptions were because he had lack of time. Left guard Harland Gunn had three false start penalties which is embarrassing even though the Ohio Stadium was noisy and hostile. The offensive line was never able to open up any glaring holes for the running backs which is alarming.
Defensive Line: B
The dynamic defensive line of the Miami Hurricanes was only able to sack Terrelle Pryor once but they did a pretty decent job. Marcus Forston looked the best of the bunch as he played assignment football. Pryor did rush for 113 yards and pass for 233 yards. But Pryor is a great athlete, and you have to respect your opposition. The Miami defense treaded water as long as they could, but the offense didn’t pick up any slack.
Sean Spence looked like the Spence of 2008. He was “flying around” and making great reads. He was never faked out. He did a solid job covering the 6-foot-6-inch, 233-pound Pryor. Safety Vaughn Telemaque was horrific for the second game in a row whiffing on tackles left and right. Not to sound like a broken record, but the Miami secondary just doesn’t make impact plays under Randy Shannon. Ray-Ray Armstrong, DeMarcus Van Dyke and Sean Spence all dropped sure fire interceptions. That’s the difference between good and great teams.
Special Teams: B+
The good…. Lamar Miller had an 88-yard kick return for a score and Travis Benjamin had a 79-yard punt return for a score. Matt Bosher added a 51-yard field goal and had a beaming 58-yard punt. But Miami allowed OSU to have good field position to start drives based on poor coverage. Bosher had to make a touchdown saving tackle once again. Also, there was a blocked field goal and a missed kick.
On a day when Miami had a chance to declare themselves back in the national spotlight, they reverted back to their same mistakes. UM didn’t seize its opportunity. Miami’s team had eight team penalties that resulted in 59 yards for Ohio State. Ohio State scored in seven of their nine trips inside the red zone. Miami missed numerous tackles on defense and the offense was stagnant. Miami has yet to win a big road game under Randy Shannon. The Canes are 1-6 in road games against ranked teams in the Shannon era. I would have liked to see some reverses on offense or even some runs in the wildcat formation, just to keep the Buckeye defense off guard. Exactly how long is this “process” going to take?
Justin Antweil may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.