As Urban Meyer walked through Ohio Stadium for the first time since returning from his three-game suspension, the focus began to shift back to football.
While all the headlines were on the head coach’s first game back on the sidelines, and with No. 10 Penn State coming up next week, No. 4 Ohio State left no doubt on the field, outplaying an undermatched Tulane team from start to finish in a 49-6 victory.
Haskins said it was great to have Meyer back on the sidelines.
“We missed not having him there the first of the year,” Haskins said. “Being with him before we go out on the field together, the excitement he brings, the energy he brings, it was definitely missed.”
Ohio State outgained Tulane 570-256 in total yards, most of which came through the air.
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins throwing for 304 yards and five touchdowns in the first half, and tied for the third most 300-yard games in school history after only his fourth start.
Haskins said he wants to show how good this Ohio State offense can be.
“I just want to show how dangerous this offense is,” Haskins said. “With me at the helm a lot of plays can be made.”
Nearly half of Haskins’ production came through redshirt senior wide receiver Parris Campbell, who tallied 147 yards and two touchdowns on eight catches.
Haskins found Campbell early and often in Ohio State’s 43-point win over the Green Wave. With a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, Haskins, with plenty of time in the pocket, found a streaking Campbell, placing the ball perfectly over his shoulder. Though the redshirt senior receiver bobbled the catch, he came up with it in bounds, giving Ohio State a 21-0 lead.
Ohio State would not give up that lead for the remainder of the game.
On the defensive side, playing without junior defensive end Nick Bosa and redshirt junior defensive tackle Robert Landers, who were out with injuries, Ohio State continually found its way to the backfield, ending the day with 13 tackles for loss and three sacks.
Meyer was impressed by the way the defense shut down senior quarterback Jonathan Banks, who threw for 141 yards, and ran for only 14 for the Green Wave.
“It was a tough game,” Meyer said. “[Banks] only threw the ball 14 times, and he’s a hell of an athlete, so the biggest thing is getting him down and not having something pop up behind you.”
Tulane managed to slow down both Ohio State running backs, with redshirt junior Mike Weber rushing six times for 18 yards, and sophomore J.K. Dobbins ending with 11 carries for 55 yards and a touchdown.
Weber would leave the game in the second quarter after coming up limping on a run out of bounds, and would not return.
Ohio State was held scoreless in the third quarter with redshirt freshman quarterback Tate Martell at the helm, gaining only 10 yards in the first time it has been held without a point in a quarter all season.
Martell came in for a drive in the second quarter, then played the entirety of the second half, ending the day with 115 yards passing and 22 yards on the ground, including a one-yard touchdown with less than two minutes remaining in the game.
Ohio State will take on Penn State in Happy Valley on Sept. 29 at 7:30 p.m.
Story updated at 8:23 p.m. to include quotes from Meyer and Haskins.