Posted by Bryan Fischer
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Heading into the IneligiBowl, Miami had already scored a big victory over Ohio State: they had more ineligible players back for the game than the Buckeyes did.
It finished as much more than a moral victory, however; it turned into a real one for the 'Canes Saturday night. despite a lackluster second half from both teams that caused Sun Life Stadium to look and sound like a Marlins game.
Ohio State's offense never could get going, racking up less than 200 yards of total offense. Miami didn't generate a ton of pressure on defense, but it was enough to keep the Buckeyes uncomfortable in the pocket all night long. Receivers failed to get open against the Hurricanes secondary and Joe Bauserman ended up completing as many passes to his teammates as Jacory Harris did. The Buckeyes also had more pass attempts (15) than passing yards (13) until the very end of the final quarter.
Speaking of Harris, he was sharp early but shaky late before turning into a glorified handoff machine. The Hurricanes first two drives were impressive, with Harris hooking up with wide receiver Allen Hurns twice to take a 14-0 lead the team never relinquished.
The game itself was really a tale of two running backs. Miami's Lamar Miller showed great burst, hitting the hole hard before taking off on several long runs throughout the night. Before the season, UM coaches talked very highly of the talented redshirt sophomore and it's easy to see why after Saturday night's game. He rushed for 116 yards in the first quarter and managed keep his average over seven yards a carry for the night.
His counterpart in scarlet and gray, Jordan Hall, was the Ohio State offense. He broke off several nice runs during the Buckeyes' second scoring drive and had a nice punt return to start the third quarter where he almost broke it to the house. He was limited after the return following a minor injury on the play and whatever hope OSU had of winning the game walked to the sidelines with him.
Given the offseason both teams faced, the game in the warm Miami night was pretty reflective. It was ugly and nothing to be proud of, with a second half that some would like to forget. For the Hurricane faithful though, it was something they needed - a win no matter what. It was also Al Golden's first win as head coach and while there's plenty of things to go back and work on, he'll no doubt be happy to be talking about winning instead of what ineligible player will be suiting up.