With a 42-0 demolition of Luke Fickell and the Cincinnati Bearcats Saturday, No. 6 Ohio State dispelled any notion that it couldn’t maintain an elite level of play for 60 minutes.
The Buckeyes racked up 508 yards of offense while becoming the first team in 171 games to keep Cincinnati off the scoreboard. Here are five takeaways from Ohio State’s dominant performance.
Victory for Victor
A game-changing 47-yard touchdown at Penn State in 2018.
A 99-yard score in the 2019 Spring Game.
Ohio State wide receiver Binjimen Victor has flashed elite ability on occasion in the past three seasons, but two games into his senior year, he’s finally doing it consistently.
The 6-foot-4 Florida native tied career highs in both catches and yards with five for 69 against Cincinnati, and Victor hauled in the football each time he was targeted.
After a 65-yard game in the season opener, Victor’s Cincinnati performance gives him the first back-to-back games of 65 or more yards in his career. His seven receptions are the most he’s had after the first two weeks of a season, and are tied for the second-most he’s had in any two-game stretch at Ohio State.
With catches of 20, 32 and 33 yards this season, Victor is making a habit of getting open to torch defenses downfield.
He has caught touchdowns against Indiana in each of the past two seasons, but with only three career catches against the Hoosiers, look for him to factor much more heavily into the Ohio State offense in the road opener.
The chase continues for Young
Through two games of his junior season as the star defensive end at Ohio State, Nick Bosa had nine tackles, three sacks and five tackles for loss. He’d go on to become the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft.
Chase Young has eight tackles, three sacks and three tackles for loss after Week 2, and his trajectory doesn’t appear too far off from the man whose shoes he now fills.
On top of his 1.5 sacks and three tackles against Cincinnati, Young stopped the Bearcats’ only real opportunity to score in the first half when he blocked a field goal attempt by Cincinnati redshirt senior kicker Sam Crosa.
It was Young’s first-ever blocked kick in a game at any level, he said after the win.
Young looked for another personal first in the third quarter, when he appeared destined for a return touchdown on an interception. The only problem was, he had to catch it first.
“I’m still mad about it,” Young said.
He may be mad now, but at the pace Young is keeping on the field in 2019, it won’t be long before he’s rewarded with more than a pick-six.
Buckeyes blank Bearcats
With a 42-0 victory Saturday, Ohio State became the first team in 14 years to shut out the Cincinnati Bearcats.
It was Ohio State’s first time holding a team scoreless since an early season matchup with Rutgers in 2017.
“They were flying around,” head coach Ryan Day said. “That’s what we envisioned when we put this together. We all got together I guess back in January when it all came about.”
Senior safety Jordan Fuller said the Buckeyes left the season opener with a bad taste in their mouth after allowing Florida Atlantic to put up 21 points in the second half after a scoreless first 30 minutes.
It showed Saturday, as the Buckeyes turned Cincinnati over twice, accrued five sacks and held the Bearcats to 3-for-14 on third down.
In Cincinnati’s three best attempts to score, Young blocked a field goal, redshirt junior linebacker Tuf Borland intercepted a pass at the 3-yard line and sophomore linebacker Dallas Gant forced a fumble at the goal line to keep the Bearcats off the board.
Reinvigorated run game
Cincinnati gave up 62 yards on the ground to UCLA in its season-opening victory.
Ohio State junior running back J.K. Dobbins had 60 on a single second-quarter carry on Saturday.
When the clock hit zero, the Buckeyes had rushed for 270 yards and four touchdowns on a vaunted Bearcat defense that returned seven starters from a season when they gave up just 111.2 rushing yards per game. Ohio State ran for more yardage on only two occasions in 2018.
Dobbins had 120 yards and two scores in the second quarter alone and wouldn’t need another carry in the second half, as Ohio State was well on its way to victory.
Redshirt freshman running back Master Teague and sophomore quarterback Justin Fields had success on the ground as well. Teague added 60 yards on 11 carries in relief of Dobbins, and Fields ran for two more red zone scores.
Dobbins ran for 46 yards on 15 carries in the final three quarters against a suspect FAU defense, causing concern leading up to Saturday’s matchup, but the run game was a source of strength for the Buckeyes against the Bearcats.
“And J.K., when he got to the second level he was rolling today,” Day said. “And I thought it was great getting J.K. going and the O-line did an unbelievable job. Tribute to [offensive coordinator] Kevin Wilson and [offensive line coach Greg Studrawa] and all the guys who worked on that this week.”
Rewind for Wilson
If you weren’t paying close attention to Garrett Wilson’s leaping touchdown grab in the corner of the end zone Saturday, you may have thought it was a replay.
The 9-yard score was a near replica of the freshman wide receiver’s highlight-reel touchdown from the 2019 Spring Game, which was almost identical to another touchdown he caught in January’s Army All-American Game.
It was Wilson’s first real catch as a Buckeye, but leaping over defenders to pluck touchdowns out of the sky has quickly become the signature for the 6-foot receiver.
“For me and Garrett and I think everybody else on the team, they know that’s not a circus catch for Garrett,” Fields said. “That’s pretty much routine for him.”
It was Wilson’s only target of the day, but the catch served as both a positive indicator for the future as well as redemption from the week prior.
Against FAU, Wilson turned the ball over on his lone target when he bobbled a laterally thrown ball on a bubble screen.
People wondered what the five-star prospect would be able to contribute as a true freshman, but Day’s evaluation of Wilson’s play Saturday went beyond college football.
“I think the touchdown to Garrett Wilson was off the charts,” Day said. “That throw and catch there, that was NFL material there.”