The Ohio State Buckeyes followed their bye week with a 50-28 victory against the Cincinnati Bearcats on Saturday night in front of a record crowd at Ohio Stadium.
The Buckeyes tied and broke school records, and set individual season and career highs en route to their third win of the season.
The Lantern sports editors compiled a list of five things we learned from the OSU victory, but not all were positives for the Scarlet and Gray.
1. J.T. Barrett is as good, if not better, than advertised
When senior quarterback Braxton Miller went down for the season with a torn labrum, many questioned whether the OSU offense would be able to function at the record pace it did in 2013.
If anyone still has questions after Saturday, they weren’t watching the game.
Sure, Cincinnati might not have the greatest defense in college football, but redshirt-freshman J.T. Barrett accumulated 409 of OSU’s 710 yards of total offense against the Bearcats and did not commit a single turnover.
OSU also set a school record for first downs in a single game with 45, breaking the previous record of 39.
Questions about OSU’s offense? Anyone?
2. The offense line is starting to gel
Not only did the Buckeyes nearly break the school record for yards in a game, they did so with great balance.
The Buckeyes rushed for 380 yards while passing for 330 and allowing just one sack.
Sophomore running back Ezekiel Elliott emerged as OSU’s workhorse back as he accumulated 182 yards rushing on 28 carries, while adding 51 yards receiving from five catches.
Barrett and Elliott both highly praised their offensive line following the game, and rightfully so.
3. The pass defense is far from a finished product
Going into the matchup with the Bearcats, all eyes were on Cincinnati redshirt-sophomore quarterback Gunner Kiel, and the biggest question for OSU was whether the pass defense could slow down the gunslinger.
The answer was no — definitely no.
Kiel finished the game with 352 passing yards and four touchdowns, including three potentially game-changing connections with junior wide receiver Chris Moore.
Those three receptions for Moore were his only three of the game, but he broke through the porous Buckeye pass defense on all three to total 221 yards and three touchdowns. Even if he had 10 catches, those numbers would look bad for OSU. But seeing them come on three plays is a huge red flag that can’t be ignored.
Sustained solid play for the defense is completely irrelevant if it can suddenly break down at any time. If the Buckeyes don’t adjust, giving up plays of a similar nature will haunt them in the future.
4. The defensive line is really good, but maybe not as dominant as hoped for
The Buckeye defensive line has been touted as one of the best in the country, and had a chance to showcase its pass-rushing prowess against the Bearcats.
The thing is, OSU only got to Kiel for a sack one time. On one hand that looks like a bust, but on the other hand, that one play changed the course of the game.
Sophomore defensive lineman Joey Bosa’s sack and strip of Kiel led to a safety and gave OSU a 16-7 lead that turned into a 23-7 advantage on the ensuing possession.
After the game, senior defensive lineman Michael Bennett commended Bosa’s play, but said the line was disappointed to not get to Kiel more often. The play was a bright spot, but you can count on the defensive line to come out with a chip on its shoulder next time OSU takes the field.
5. Anthony Schlegel’s still got it
You’ve likely seen a video, or at least a picture, of former OSU linebacker and current assistant strength and conditioning coach Anthony Schlegel tackling a fan who sprinted onto the Ohio Stadium turf just before halftime of Saturday’s game.
The joke was on him, as Schlegel made like it was 2005 and slammed the fan onto the turf like a rag doll.
From the press box, former OSU coach and coach Urban Meyer’s mentor Earle Bruce screamed, “I knew it! (He was) the best tackler we ever had!”
From the looks of the tackle, it would be very hard to argue.
The Buckeyes are scheduled to take on Maryland on Saturday in College Park, Md. Kickoff is set for noon.