It’s weird to be writing about bouncing back from a loss during the regular season, but, in Urban Meyer’s third season at the helm, here we finally are.
Kent State brought its brand of MACtion to the banks of the Olentangy, trying to hand the Buckeyes back-to-back regular season losses. The Buckeyes, destroyers of in-state competition, with a 180-48-15 all-time record, have long enjoyed morsels from the Mid-American Conference, entering yesterday with a 29-1 mark against current MAC schools.
In the run-up, Meyer praised Kent State quarterback Colin Reardon and head coach Paul Haynes, a former Ohio State defensive backs coach. But you know Meyer wanted an angry team to go out and punish the Golden Flashes, who brought an 0-2 record into Ohio Stadium.
Would Ohio State take out its frustrations on in-state MAC snack Kent State? Could the Buckeye running backs get going? Would the receivers start squeezing those pigskins? Could the defense go into shut-down mode, even after the disappointing news of Noah Spence’s (continued) unavailability?
Yes, yes, mostly but not always, and absolutely yes. The Buckeyes rolled and were never seriously challenged in any way by the Golden Flashes. The Buckeyes ran well and passed well, but there were still a few drops, including probable touchdowns for Devin Smith and Mike Thomas—the latter resulting in a deflected interception. Just about everyone on the roster played.
Here are your talking points:
Water Cooler prep (Everything you need to know…in one paragraph)
It was by no means a perfect bounce-back game, but Ohio State easily ripped apart a vastly inferior opponent. Kent State only ran two plays in Buckeye territory and never moved beyond the OSU 48. The Buckeyes rolled for 628 total yards in their 66-0 win. J.T. Barrett threw for more than 300 yards and a school-record-tying six touchdowns. Ezekiel Elliott (7 carries, 65 yards) and Curtis Samuel (15 carries, 100 yards and two scores) had good games. Rod Smith ran for a score and caught one. Michael Thomas caught two passes for 77 yards and two more touchdowns.
Talk before the game
“Should have no trouble bouncing back against Kent State.”
“Hoping Ohio State goes for 50+ and holds the Golden Flashes under 14.”
Some talked about the statistics:
And one Buckeye prepared for important events:
I should probably hit the shmoney dance after a touchdown— Taylor Decker (@TDeck68) September 13, 2014
Talk in the aftermath
“Good win for confidence building. Lots to build on.”
“Not sure we can reasonably tell anything about Ohio State from this, but it’s a win.”
Some folks were very succinct:
WE WON YAY— Johnny (@Johnny11W) September 13, 2014
Give that man a buckeye leaf (Player of the game)
Barrett recovered magnificently from the Virginia Tech game, playing with patience and vision, and often reading through all of his progressions. He completed 23/30 passes for 312 yards (16th most in school history for one game) and six touchdowns, tying Kenny Guiton’s team record. That could have been improved if not for a couple of big drops, one of which popped off Michael Thomas’s chest and into the hands of Kent State’s Matt Dellinger for Barrett’s only interception on the day.
Slobber Knocker of the Game
Ohio State already led 24-0 in the second quarter, when Barrett dropped back on second-and-10 from the OSU 37-yard line. Barrett found Michael Thomas, who turned up field with a nifty move and tried to out-race three defenders to the end zone. Freshman H-back Jalin Marshall picked up his teammate with a crushing block to ensure the pursuit didn’t get there. Thomas’s score made it 31-0, just over two minutes into the second quarter.
Did you see that?! (Play of the game)
The same play as the slobber knocker was the play of the game, but for another reason. Thomas’s catch and run included a fake inside that sucked in all of the defenders and allowed him to use his speed outside to break it. That’s two explosion plays in back-to-back weeks from Thomas, who appears to be the most complete receiver on the OSU roster.
Jim Tressel's Least Favorite Moment of the game
With 6:05 remaining in the game, Jim Tressel’s heart beat just a little bit faster as Cameron Johnston jogged onto the field for the first time all day. He asked Ellen for a timeout in the epic game of dominoes the two have been playing since 1998. With the massive table in their rec room groaning under the weight of hundreds of dominoes, Tressel watched in horror as Johnston shanked his second punt in as many games, squibbing out a 28-yarder. The visibly angry Youngstown State president upended the table with a mighty heave, sending dominoes everywhere. Ellen sadly shook her head and began cleaning them up.
When you sank into your chair (The moment Buckeye football disgraced your family)
Ohio State stopped Kent State on three straight plays to open the second half. As Anthony Melchiori tried to punt it away, wide receiver Jeff Greene came off the edge and blocked the kick. Greene was unable to corral the loose ball, but Ron Tanner picked it up and headed for the end zone. Unfortunately, he lost it inside the KSU 5-yard line and the Golden Flashes recovered. Because Tanner had possession, it was a turnover and Kent State got the ball right back. Always scoop an score, kids.
What you texted your friend at the end of each quarter
First: “Fast start for once but still making a LOT of mistakes.”
Second: “More reps for J.T. in the second half or will we see Cardale?”
Third: “Burn all of the redshirts!”
Fourth: “Raekwon McMillan and Jalyn Holmes are going to be good ones.”
It was over when
By the time Rod Smith plunged in from a yard out to make it 21-0 late in the first quarter, it was apparent that Kent State was not only overmatched, but that they’d be hard pressed to keep the margin of victory under 50. They also seemed unlikely to score without some help, which, of course, they did not.
The Buckeyes are off next week, enjoying the first of their two bye weeks for the 2014 season. They’ll be back in action on the evening of Sept. 27 against a pretty exciting Cincinnati team. The Bearcats (1-0) finally opened their season last night with a 58-34 stomping of Toledo. Many were impressed with Gunner Kiel’s performance and the dynamic look of the Cincinnati offense. I honestly didn’t see the Rockets put up much defensive resistance. On the flip side, Toledo’s offense destroyed the Bearcat defense. It’ll be a fun match-up, provided Kiel doesn’t transfer again.