For the first time this season Ohio State started a game fast. Fueled by a 21-point first quarter, Ohio State was relentless on both sides of the ball en route to a commanding 66-0 victory over Kent State on Saturday. Here are some takeaways from the game.
Execution dictates tempo
The Buckeyes started the game red hot, as they scored touchdowns on their first two possessions. They ran crossing routes; they threw the ball to the tight end, it looked like a completely different team. Part of this was due to a struggling opponent; another part of this was due to the strong play by the offensive line, which executed a much improved offensive game plan well.
The offensive line did a great job of communicating with each other and executing their assignments. This gave quarterback J.T. Barrett ample time to make the reads he needed. This also opened up lanes for the running backs, as the Buckeyes averaged over five yards per carry. Because of their early success, Ohio State was able to dictate the tempo of the game. Provided the line can continue to show signs of improvement weekly, this offense will continue to improve.
Barrett channels his inner Kenny Guiton
Barrett had a great performance, as he had plenty of time to see the field and make the correct reads. He tied the school record with six touchdown passes and had 312 passing yards. It’s apparent that he has the skill set, poise and leadership qualities to help build this offense into a very dangerous unit.
The Buckeyes were finally able to let their playmakers get the ball in space and operate. Michael Thomas had another great performance where he had two receptions for 77 yards and two touchdowns. He would have had three receptions, but one popped off his chest and into the hands of Kent State’s Matt Dellinger. Thomas was one of 11 players to have at least one reception for the Buckeyes.
Two running backs that had outstanding games were Ezekiel Elliott and Curtis Samuel. Of Ohio State’s 628 total yards, Elliott and Samuel combined for 257 yards and two touchdowns. They are a dynamic duo that have the explosiveness to make plays on the ground and the versatility to be threats in the passing game.
Ohio State’s defense made life miserable for Kent State. The Golden Flashes gained just 126 total yards. The Buckeyes held Kent State to just two yards per rush and forced them to commit three turnovers. One of the most encouraging signs was the defense didn’t bite on misdirection plays. They held their ground, read what the offense was doing and executed by making great tackles in space.
Overall, the Buckeyes took advantage of their opportunities to improve against a struggling opponent. Ohio State was aggressive in their play calling, they came out ready to play and they made big plays throughout the contest. This game serves as a confidence builder for a young team that has plenty of promising talent.