Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer hadn't been very happy with the way his team started this season's first two games.
“We haven’t started particularly fast and we have a pretty good reputation for coming out of the games real fast, real hard," Meyer said Wednesday. "We haven’t done that yet and it was brought to my attention and I went back and did a little research on it so we’ve gotta go take the lead and play Ohio State-style football.”
The Buckeyes trailed at halftime in each of their first two games of the season, but that was not the case Saturday as they blew out Kent State, 66-0. Ohio State led 21-0 after the first quarter and was up 45-0 at halftime.
If a fast start was what Meyer wanted then mission accomplished.
"I think a big reason we jumped out fast was because of the environment created by our students and our fans, so I just want to make sure we show our appreciation," Meyer said after Saturday's win. "I thought our guys played well. Obviously a little talent advantage, but we had to have a game like this."
There was clearly a talent gap between Kent State and the Buckeyes, but Ohio State did exactly what it needed to do against an opponent that wasn't on its level.
The Buckeyes had 199 yards of total offense after the first quarter and had 392 at halftime while limiting the Golden Flashes to just 109 yards in the first half and 126 in the game. That's a whopping 17 yards of total offense in the second half.
After struggling early in its previous two games, Ohio State wasted no time as it received the ball to start the game and drove right down the field on a five-play, 58-yard drive that was capped by a 14-yard touchdown pass from redshirt freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett to Michael Thomas.
The Buckeyes scored touchdowns on six of their eight first-half drives against a Golden Flashes team that fell to 0-3 on the season with the loss. Rod Smith added a pair of first-quarter touchdowns with an 8-yard catch and a 1-yard run.
"It was definitely refreshing to go out and have the start that we did," offensive coordinator Tom Herman said.
Ohio State's defense started fast, as well, as it forced two first-half turnovers. Tyvis Powell made a nice interception near the sideline on a ball deflected by Doran Grant and Joshua Perry also had a pick off a deflection.
"Yeah, I think effort was good," Meyer said of the defense. "I think we denied throws. That's the where the challenge I have — you're really going to be challenged in two weeks with the Cincinnati group of receivers and their quarterback — but I think everybody has heard me say I just want to challenge throws, and I thought you saw that today."
Coming off last week's loss to Virginia Tech, which fell to East Carolina 28-21 on Saturday, Ohio State needed a decisive win like this over an opponent it clearly had an advantage on in the talent department. The task will be much greater in two weeks when the Buckeyes take on Cincinnati.
"Time to move on, a bye week, and then get ready," Meyer said. "I watched Cincinnati last night and they're a very talented team, so we're going to put everything we can into it the next two weeks to win that game."