One week removed from its first loss of the season, the Ohio State football team jumped out to a 21-0 first-quarter lead on its way to beating Kent State, 66-0.
The Buckeyes scored less than two minutes into the game to start things off before scoring touchdowns on six of eight first-half drives Saturday at Ohio Stadium.
OSU coach Urban Meyer credited the win partially to the Buckeyes’ advantage in the talent column, and added his team needed a big game coming off a 35-21 loss to Virginia Tech on Sept. 6.
“I thought our guys played well,” Meyer said after the win. “Obviously a little talent advantage, but we had to have a game like this.”
Redshirt-freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett tied an OSU record with six touchdown passes in the game — five of which came in the first half.
Barrett said he already has an idea of what former Buckeye quarterback Kenny Guiton — who set that record against Florida A&M last season — will say to him after the performance.
“I can hear KG calling me now, talking about ‘you tied me, you tied me, you didn’t beat me though,’” Barrett said.
The Wichita Falls, Texas, native attempted 19 passes in the first quarter alone as Meyer said throwing the ball early and often was a big part of the Buckeyes’ game plan.
“Early in the first half I wanted to throw a lot,” Meyer said after the game. “I wanted to force him (Barrett) to make plays, and the receivers — it’s not just him, it’s the whole combination of quarterback/receivers.”
OSU tacked on 21 points in the second half to close out the scoring on improve its record to 2-1 on the season.
Three different Buckeyes scored the first touchdowns of their college careers as role players saw time in both halves for OSU.
Redshirt-freshman tight end Marcus Baugh scored a touchdown in the first half on the first reception of his college career. In the second half, redshirt-freshman H-back Jalin Marshall and freshman running back Curtis Samuel each made it into the end zone for the first time in their OSU careers as well.
“I had a smile from my ear to ear,” Marshall said of his first touchdown with the Scarlet and Gray. “And it felt really good.”
Barrett totaled 297 passing yards in the first half alone before tacking on 15 more yards in limited second-half action. Sophomore running back Ezekiel Elliott had 65 rushing yards to go with 52 receiving yards before the break, sparking OSU to a 45-0 halftime lead.
The Buckeyes’ fast start was aided by two long pass plays on top of steady output from the running game. Redshirt-sophomore wide receiver Michael Thomas took a Barrett pass 63 yards for a touchdown before senior wide receiver Devin Smith scored on a 50-yard catch and run to close out the first-half for OSU.
Redshirt-senior running back Rod Smith led the first half scoring with a pair of touchdowns — the first on a short pass from Barrett and the second on the ground from a yard out.
On top of the offensive explosion, the Buckeyes’ defense held the Golden Flashes to just 126 total yards as Kent State failed to crack the century mark on the ground or through the air.
Junior linebacker Joshua Perry said OSU’s ability to hold Kent State to such a low number in the total yardage column made him even happier than keeping the Golden Flashes off the scoreboard.
“That’s the thing that puts a smile on my face,” Perry said after the game. “Shutout is one thing…but when you can hold an offense to that I think it’s really impressive. Like I said, it doesn’t matter who the opponent is, that’s a tough thing to do.”
Senior tight end Jeff Heuerman sat out the game due to an injury while junior defensive lineman Noah Spence was ruled ineligible by OSU on Friday due to a Big Ten and OSU rules violation.
Meyer called the news about Spence — which came out to the public less than 24 hours before the team played Kent State — a “sucker punch,” but said the situation is not yet resolved.
“I don’t know much other than he was declared he couldn’t play for this weekend, and what the future holds for him, I don’t know,” Meyer said after the game.
Barrett’s 312 passing yards made him the first OSU quarterback to top 300 since Troy Smith in 2006.
Redshirt-sophomore quarterback Cardale Jones relieved Barrett in the second half and finished the day two for four on pass attempts for 32 yards and ran for 37 yards on four carries.
Samuel finished the day with 15 carries for 100 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while also adding on 40 yards through the air. Elliott added 65 rushing yards and five different Buckeyes had 40 yards or more receiving. Eleven different OSU players recording at least one reception in the game.
The OSU defense totaled four sacks, two of which were credited to freshman linebacker Raekwon McMillan, who also led the team with seven total tackles in the game.
McMillan said his success on the field Saturday came from his work in practice leading up to the game, which allowed him to come into the game with the right mindset.
“I practice hard for the games during the week so the game will be easy,” McMillan said after the game. “I learned from what the guys around me are doing, so I feel like I can play more loose now.”
The Buckeyes are scheduled for a bye week before hosting Cincinnati on Sept. 27 at Ohio Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.