COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — With several of his best players either injured or held out of Ohio State's spring game, coach Urban Meyer had to look at the progress of individuals instead of the big picture.
"I'm not trying to evaluate an offense. Who cares?" Meyer said after the Gray squad slipped by the Scarlet 17-7 on Saturday before a crowd of 61,058 at sunny Ohio Stadium. "There's guys out there who will never play or are not ready to play now. I wanted to see who's going to compete, who's going to make plays, not who's going to fit into the team concept. Because we all know what we saw out there. And that's not the Ohio State Buckeyes. That's a bunch of people all over the place."
Bri'onte Dunn and Warren Ball ran for touchdowns to lead the Gray squad on a day in which most of the most notable Buckeyes stayed on the sidelines.
Quarterback Braxton Miller, Ohio State's All-Big Ten quarterback, sat out spring workouts after surgery on his (right) throwing shoulder. Wide receiver Evan Spencer (ankle) and safety Vonn Bell (knee) also missed the game, along with tight end Jeff Heuerman, wide-out Jalin Marshall, H-back Dontre Wilson and starting offensive tackle Taylor Decker.
"You have the first-team offense playing together the whole spring and they're jelling together. When you mix it up like we did today, it's hard to get used to," said tight end Nick Vannett. "Offensively you need to have that mesh to move the ball down field and make plays. And as you saw, we had a tough day."
Down by three points, Scarlet had a prime chance to take the lead on the first play of the fourth quarter but wide receiver Corey Smith, on an end around, fumbled through the end zone for a touchback.
Ball then scored on a 4-yard run with 4:30 left to close the scoring.
He led all rushers with 55 yards on eight carries, Dunn had 35 on six and Ezekiel Elliott, expected to have the inside track at the tailback position when camp resumes in August, had 16 yards on only three attempts.
Gray quarterback J.T. Barrett, a redshirt freshman, completed 17 of 33 passes for 155 yards without a touchdown. Scarlet quarterback Cardale Jones was 14 of 31 for 126 yards.