CORAL GABLES (AP) — It was late Saturday night and Miami linebacker Sean Spence was fiddling with his cell phone, looking at all the new text messages and missed calls that poured in after the Hurricanes beat Ohio State.
There were tons of them.
Seemed like everyone had something to say about Miami's defense.
Not only did the Hurricanes beat Ohio State 24-6 on Saturday night, they even knocked the Buckeyes out of the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2004 after giving up just 209 yards. And having three starters — Spence, plus defensive linemen Marcus Forston and Adewale Ojomo — come back from one-game suspensions for NCAA rule violations made the Hurricane defense look nothing like the one that got embarrassed in a season-opening loss at Maryland.
Against the Terrapins, Miami gave up 176 yards in the first quarter alone, on the way to allowing 499.
“Clearly, the guys that we had back on defense made a big difference,” Miami coach Al Golden said. “I'm not even going to try to hide that. I mean, Sean Spence runs the show. And the guys that didn't make moves had another six practices to be in those positions. … Sean, Forston, Ojomo — those guys made a big difference. We put more pressure on the quarterback, obviously.”
Ohio State generated 35 yards passing — the worst single-game total for a team from a BCS conference so far this young season — on 18 attempts. The last time a BCS school threw the ball at least 18 times and failed to gain more than 35 passing yards was Sept. 19, 2009, when Boston College was 5-of-21 for 25 yards against Clemson.
It was just the 13th time in Ohio State's last 192 games in which the Buckeyes didn't manage at least 210 yards of offense. Of Ohio State's 11 drives, only two saw the Buckeyes collect more than 30 yards. And, in the second half, Ohio State held the ball for just under 10 minutes, running 20 plays and picking up five first downs.
With Miami leading 17-6 but with the outcome still in at least some doubt, Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller dropped back, faked a handoff and then sprinted past Miami's defensive line — including Marcus Robinson, who was eight yards behind Miller at one point on the play.
Robinson kept pursuing, catching up when Miller tried to dodge some Miami defensive backs and wound up throwing a right uppercut to punch the ball free. Mike Williams fell on the fumble and the Hurricanes essentially ran out the clock from there.
“All I've ever known about Miami football is that's how they play,” Golden said. “It wasn't about anything else but just being relentless. I hope now they see, that's how you win games.”
Next up: Miami (1-1) hosts Kansas State (2-0) on Saturday. The Wildcats' defense leads the nation so far in both yards (164) and points (3.5) allowed per game.
Photo: Sean Spence