You have to be careful with what is taken from a 66-0 win against an overmatched opponent, but if there's one thing Ohio State fans can like about Saturday's win over Kent State it's that the Buckeyes did exactly what they were supposed to do: dominate from start to finish.
Often times teams coming off a loss can let that linger into the following weeks, even against inferior opponents. Other times a hard loss can motivate a team to perform at a much higher level, despite the competition not being nearly as fierce.
It seemed to be more of the latter for Ohio State in its blowout over Kent State. Obviously, there was a distinct gap in the talent, but the Buckeyes seized control from the game's opening drive and did not take their foot off the gas, getting their first comfortable win of the season.
"Obviously a little talent advantage, but we had to have a game like this," Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said. "Normally that's a first game, especially when you have a young quarterback and a young offensive line, but I'm glad we played like we did."
A Series of Firsts
With such a lopsided game, Ohio State was able to rotate a plethora of players. As a result, there were a ton of first-time happenings in Saturday's win.
True freshman safety Erick Smith, seeing his first action of the season, recorded his first career interception with a pick in the second half. Starting linebacker Joshua Perry also recorded his first career interception in the first half.
Three Ohio State players also found the end zone for the first time in their careers as tight end Marcus Baugh, H-back Jalin Marshall and running back Curtis Samuel all crossed the goal line. Samuel finished with 100 yards on 15 carries and actually scored twice for the Buckeyes.
Redshirt freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett also became Ohio State's first 300-yard passer since Troy Smith threw for 316 yards against MIchigan in 2006. Barrett was 23 for 30 for 312 yards and tied a school record with six touchdown passes.
“I feel like I’m progressing each week. I’m just trying to get better each week," Barrett said. "I definitely feel more comfortable every week as I get more reps. Things are starting to slow down for me in the game.”
Pitching a Shutout
Kent State came into Saturday's game averaging just 13.5 points per game and clearly doesn't have a ton of offensive firepower.
With that said, Ohio State's defense was never really threatened. The Golden Flashes were limited to just 126 yards of total offense and had just 17 in the second half playing mostly against the Buckeyes' non-starters.
True freshman Raekwon McMillan, who saw his first real action of the season, led Ohio State's defense with seven tackles.
“It was a great day of defense for our guys," McMillan said. "Moving forward, we have to make sure that we execute and are perfect in everything we do.”
Bearcats Up Next
It won't be nearly as easy when Cincinnati comes to town in two weeks and Ohio State knows it.
"I watched Cincinnati (Friday 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," Meyer said.
After opening the season with consecutive bye weeks, the Bearcats defeated Toledo in their season-opener, 58-34. Ohio State has a bye before another in-state showdown while Cincinnati will host Miami (Ohio) as its final tune-up before the Buckeyes.