Ohio State concluded its non-conference slate last night against the Cincinnati Bearcats in the second night game of the season and it’s quickly becoming apparent that J.T. Barrett can ball.
The Bearcats were seeking a program defining victory in much the same way Virginia Tech was a few weeks ago. But the Buckeyes were also looking to make a statement in this game, against a team from the American Athletic Conference that Urban Meyer considered akin to a Power Five team.
Tommy Tuberville carried a 2-0 mark against Meyer into the contest, but Ohio schools have been coming up empty against the Buckeyes since the first year of the Warren G. Harding administration in 1921. The Bearcat offense, led by serial school-changer Gunner Kiel would be looking to stress Chris Ash’s secondary.
Would Tuberville continue his mastery of Meyer? Could the Buckeye offense do to Cincinnati what it had done last week to hapless Kent State? Would Gunner Kiel get the best of the Buckeye secondary? Could the Bearcats actually “black out” Ohio Stadium?
No, yes (and more), sometimes, and LOL no. Ohio State rolled early and stretched its lead back out after Cincinnati rallied to pull within five points, toppling Tuberville’s Bearcats. Ohio State was one bad snap from setting a school record in yards and gained 45 first downs. Kiel burned the secondary three times over the top for big plays to speedster Chris Moore, but other than that he was mostly held in check. The record crowd of 108,362 was nearly entirely in scarlet.
Here are your talking points:
Water Cooler prep (Everything you need to know…in one paragraph)
J.T. Barrett set career highs for passing (330) and rushing (79) yards as the Buckeyes raced out to a 30-7 lead. Curtis Samuel’s fumble ended a promising drive and gave the Bearcats a spark, with Kiel hitting big plays of 83 and 78 yards to pull Cincinnati within 33-28 in the third. But the Buckeyes pulled away on two of Barrett’s four touchdown passes (to Dontre Wilson and Devin Smith). Joey Bosa forced a fumble that resulted in a safety and the offense rolled for 710 yards (380 rushing, 330 passing) in a 50-28 win.
Talk before the game
All of the following was overheard at Eleven Dubgate V:
“I’m a little bit nervous about Cincinnati.”
“Gunner Kiel is a damn good quarterback. I’m pretty worried about our secondary in this game.”
“They’re going to score some points but I think we can take Cincinnati.”
“The Bearcats have no defense. Ohio State is going to win big.”
And this from Taylor Decker (but not at the Dubgate):
Just talked to a few fans in the elevator and it is almost incomprehensible how blessed we are to represent The Ohio State University— Taylor Decker (@TDeck68) September 27, 2014
Talk in the aftermath
“I’m so glad we beat those guys. Cincinnati fans would have been unbearable if we’d lost.”
“[Vomits profusely into a trash can while her two friends console her.]” – Unknown female University of Cincinnati fan I saw on High Street after the game
Eli Apple’s mom dropping truth bombs:
And let’s revisit this incredible stat:
BTN says Ohio State tied an NCAA record for first downs in a game (45). Pretty cool.— Vico (@ourhonordefend) September 28, 2014
Give that man a buckeye leaf (Player of the game)
With 26/36 passing for 330 yards and four touchdowns, without an interception, and another 79 yards on the ground, you’d think this would go to Barrett. Well, it could, but no, not this time.
Ezekiel Elliott posted 233 all-purpose yards and carried the game on his shoulders when things got close. He rumbled for a career high 182 yards on 28 carries (6.5 YPA) and scored a touchdown, adding five receptions for 51 yards. His rushing total eclipsed his yardage from the first three games combined. It seemed like Barrett could just hand it to EzE all night and he’d keep moving the chains. Elliott helped his team control the clock, with Ohio State holding an impressive 41:56 time of possession.
Did you see that?! (Play of the game)
Ohio State had just taken a 14-7 lead on Elliott’s three-yard run with 4:32 to play in the first quarter. Kyle Clinton’s ensuing kickoff went through the end zone for a touchback, and Cincinnati took over at its own 25. On the first play from scrimmage, Bosa came off the right side and crushed Kiel in the backfield. The ball squirted out and bounced into the end zone, where Bearcats offensive lineman Eric Lefeld was forced to swat it over the end line for a safety. Bosa’s electrifying play directly led to two points and Ohio State scored on a 19-yard Barrett-to-Smith pass on the ensuing series.
Slobber Knocker of the Game
Bosa’s strip sack of Kiel was going to win double honors until this happened:
Fans should never run onto the field, especially when strength coach and former OSU linebacker Anthony Schlegel is around. The fan appeared to be OK after taking the hit, but Schlegel may have opened himself or the university up to a potential lawsuit because we live in a litigious society, folks.
Jim Tressel's Least Favorite Moment of the game
Ohio State led 30-7 and was driving for more, as Tressel finished decorating a cake in the shape of Brent Bartholomew. (Most people don’t know that Tressel secretly teaches a cake decorating class in Newton Falls twice a month.) Tressel was using chocolate fondant to represent cake Bartholomew’s cleats when Barrett handed off to Samuel on first-and-10 from the Cincinnati 38. When Jeff Luc forced Samuel to fumble and it was recovered by the not-suspended-for-some-reason Leviticus Payne, Tressel put his fist through cake Bartholomew’s stomach. Dismayed at what he’d done, Tressel sadly started licking the cake off his hand.
When you sank into your chair (The moment Buckeye football disgraced your family)
Drops continue to plague Ohio State’s receivers. The Bearcats cut the OSU lead to 30-14 after the Samuel fumble, but Barrett brought the Buckeyes right back to the Cincinnati 45. On three straight plays, would-be Ohio State receivers dropped passes. Wilson dropped what would have been a long completion into the red zone on first down. Elliott perhaps didn’t “drop” the second down swing pass, which wasn’t thrown well, but he did get a hand on it and couldn’t bring it in. The third down drop was the most egregious. Barrett put the ball right in Smith’s hands, and the senior tried to run before he looked it in. Ohio State punted and four plays later Moore scored from 83 yards away, making it 30-21 at the half.
What you texted your friend at the end of each quarter
First: “We are absolutely killing them.”
Second: “The secondary is making me drink again. L”
Third: “Was starting to get nervous again, but it ain’t over yet!”
Fourth: “Wow, 700 yards of offense!”
It was over when
When Barrett found Smith for 34 yards in the back of the end zone with 10:26 to play, Ohio State’s lead stretched back to three touchdowns at 50-28. There was still a lot of time left, but that score took the wind out of Cincinnati’s sails and the Bearcats never seriously threatened again.
The Buckeyes kick off their conference schedule next week at Maryland (4-1, 1-0). The Terrapins have never lost a Big Ten game, opening their conference schedule with a 37-15 pounding of Indiana in Bloomington yesterday. Maryland destroyed the Hoosiers through the air, with 361 passing yards split between Caleb Rowe and C.J. Brown. Yes, those were the same Hoosiers that beat Missouri last week.