Midway through the first quarter, a Miami (Ohio) team billed as a final tune-up for Ohio State became the first team to hold a lead on the Buckeyes this season.
Seven touchdowns, three turnovers and a blocked punt later –– before halftime –– and Ohio State found its tune.
No. 6 Ohio State (4-0) put up 601 yards on Miami (1-3), including a stretch of 49 unanswered first half points, to end the game with a 76-5 drubbing of their in-state opponent Saturday in Columbus.
“First five, six minutes of the game –– not great,” head coach Ryan Day said. “A lot of things to clean up off of film there, hit us on some things and then we gave up the safety. But then, from then on, I thought it was pretty dominant overall.”
In the second quarter alone, sophomore quarterback Justin Fields threw touchdown passes of 53, 30, 17 and 10 yards, adding two more scores on scampers to the end zone. Fields finished with 259 total yards and wouldn’t return in the second half.
Those 42 points were the most Ohio State has scored in a quarter since at least 1960.
The 53-yard strike to redshirt senior wide receiver K.J. Hill was a career high for both Fields and Hill, and put Ohio State up 14-5.
Junior cornerback Jeffrey Okudah’s first career interception on the following Miami drive set Fields up for a seven-yard touchdown run just 32 seconds after his long bomb to Hill.
Ohio State junior defensive end Chase Young had two strip sacks in the second quarter, bringing his season sack total to seven. Both were recovered by Ohio State defenders in Miami territory.
Sophomore wide receiver Chris Olave was the beneficiary of both Young-forced turnovers, catching touchdowns of 10 and 13 yards, the second of which came with under a minute remaining in the first half. Olave now has seven touchdowns in his past seven games for the Buckeyes.
Just five offensive plays prior to Olave’s second scoring snag, Fields connected with senior wide receiver Binjimen Victor in the back of the end zone for a 30-yard touchdown. Both of Victor’s touchdowns this season went for 30-plus yards.
Victor’s score was set up by a blocked punt from Ohio State sophomore cornerback Sevyn Banks, marking the second-straight game that the Buckeye special teams unit has blocked an opposing punt.
“I think it was a pretty good stretch,” Fields said. “I don’t know about the best stretch we’ve had, but it was a good stretch and I think we did a great job in the second quarter executing and doing our job.”
Despite Fields’ dominant performance, it was an early error from the Georgia native that allowed Miami to get on the board first.
Beginning his first possession on the Ohio State 2-yard-line, Fields’ drop-back into his own end zone was greeted by a strip sack courtesy of Miami senior linebacker Myles Reid. The ball squirted out of the back of the end zone for a safety –– giving Ohio State its first deficit of the season at 2-0.
A fourth down defensive holding call on redshirt junior linebacker Tuf Borland extended the ensuing Miami drive, resulting in another Redhawk score with a 21-yard field goal by senior kicker Sam Sloman.
The Ohio State offense found its groove on its next possession, as junior running back J.K. Dobbins’ 26-yard touchdown run capped off a seven-play, 75-yard drive that gave the Buckeyes their first lead at 7-5 in the first quarter.
Like Fields, Dobbins didn’t return in the second half, but that didn’t stop the scoring for the Buckeyes.
Redshirt senior quarterback Chris Chugunov threw two scores in the third quarter, a 36-yarder to freshman wide receiver Garrett Wilson, and a 7-yard toss to freshman running back Marcus Crowley to extend the lead to 58.
Replacing Chugunov, redshirt junior quarterback Gunnar Hoak connected with freshman wide receiver Jameson on a 61-yard catch-and-run for both of their first touchdowns as a Buckeye in the fourth quarter to make it 70-5.
Freshman running back Steele Chambers would cap the offensive onslaught for the Buckeyes with a 2-yard touchdown run with three minutes left in the game. A missed extra point kept the Ohio State total to 76.
“To come out like that after three weeks and a week of a lot of people telling us how great we were, to come out and dominate like that is pretty impressive,” Day said.
Ohio State goes on the road next week for a matchup with Nebraska at 7:30 p.m.