Don’t be too quick to label Buckeyes

Sometimes in life, it’s very hard not to jump to conclusions or get excited about something before really knowing what it’s all about.

The above was the case with the Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday against Buffalo in the 2013 season opener.

During the first quarter, it was hard not to fall in love with what Ohio State was doing – especially on offense.

On the Buckeyes’ first offensive series of the season, it only took them four plays and 1 minute and 15 seconds to go 63 yards to make the score 8-0 after a Braxton Miller 47-yard pass to Devin Smith, followed by a 2-point conversion.

On the next drive, which began roughly 2 minutes later, OSU scored in five plays and moved the ball 61 yards – this time finishing with a Miller pass to Chris Fields.

Even defensively, Ohio State was getting the job done. Buffalo never crossed the 50-yard line in the first quarter and the Buckeyes limited the Bulls to 63 total yards of offense after the first frame. That was compared to Ohio State’s 216.

It seemed as if this Ohio State team was poised, collected and ready to prove to the world that they can hang with the big boys of the Southeastern Conference and that Miller was going to be a legit contender for the Heisman Trophy.

But here’s where the lesson is learned. Don’t speak too soon. You might look foolish.

Many in attendance at Ohio Stadium probably learned that lesson after the Buckeyes played a less-than-stellar second and third quarters and had to use a few big plays to secure a 40-20 victory over Buffalo.

What transpired at The Horseshoe can be best told by coach Urban Meyer, who made no qualms about the fact that he was not happy with many things during the 20-point opening day victory.

“First quarter was script. You can’t play much better than our guys did,” Meyer said. “And then we rough a punter. Then we have the fourth down and we don’t make it. Then we throw a screen and it goes the other way.

“In a tight game, you’re going to lose that game. So we’ve gotta learn to fight through those momentum shifts.”

The Buckeyes were lucky they were playing Buffalo on Saturday, a team that has been at the bottom of the Mid-American Conference the last few seasons. Any other team – especially in the Big 10 – would have taken those mistakes and turned them into a lot more than 20 points.

When Ohio State was good on Saturday, it showed. When the line was secured in the first quarter, they opened up holes as big as the Grand Canyon for running back Jordan Hall and gave Miller plenty of time to throw. Linebacker Ryan Shazier looks as if he’s going to be the face of the defense this year, which is good as the Buckeyes are still dealing with the loss of John Simon to graduation. Even on special teams, freshman Dontre Wilson was a shoestring tackle away from returning a punt for a touchdown. Instead, he settled for a 51-yard return.

While those were very bright moments for the Buckeyes, the second and third quarters of bumbles and stumbles can’t be ignored. Between the offensive line giving up four sacks (the unit allowed 2.5 per game last season) and the entire team racking up 94 yards in penalties, the Buckeyes need to get things fixed – and quick.

Granted, Ohio State has San Diego State next week, followed by the trip to Cal – which gave the Buckeyes a scare last season at home. While people hope things are in order by the time the Buckeyes head out west, things need to truly get ironed out by Sept. 28 when Wisconsin comes to town.

Is a win a win? Yes. Was it pretty? No. Should fans be excited for this team and a chance for the Rose Bowl, and even possibly the National Championship? Yes. But until some things are fixed, be careful what you say about this edition of the Ohio State Buckeyes.