The Ohio State Buckeyes raced out to a 23-point lead and held off a tenacious rally by the Cincinnati Bearcats to win 50-28 on Saturday. Here are some observations from the game.
Offense sets blazing pace
Ohio State’s offense unleashed a fast tempo attack that gained 710 total yards against an overwhelmed Bearcats’ defense. The Buckeyes ran an astounding 101 plays, earned a team-record 45 first downs and averaged over seven yards a play. A big part of their success goes to the solid play of the offensive line, which provided J.T. Barrett with plenty of time to find receivers.
Speaking of Barrett, he continues to turn in consistent performances. He completed 26 of his 36 pass attempts for 330 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for 79 yards. Barrett shows incredible poise and control; and as he continues to develop, the offense will only become more versatile.
Another player that had a stellar game was Ezekiel Elliott. Elliott finished with 182 rushing yards, 51 receiving yards and one rushing touchdown. Elliott led a Buckeyes’ rushing attack that gained 380 yards and earned 5.8 yards per carry.
Defense shows promise, inexperience
Going into this contest, it wasn’t going to be a surprise if Cincinnati made big plays. Quarterback Gunner Kiel has a powerful arm and the Bearcats’ receiving core is deep. On Saturday, that’s what happened as three of Cincinnati’s touchdowns came on plays that were 60 yards or longer. What this shows for Ohio State’s defense is several things.
One, their secondary is inexperienced. These players need time to develop, so it isn’t surprising they made mistakes. However, take away those three plays, and the defense as a whole played well. They held the Bearcats to only 3.7 yards a rush and made some big plays to keep momentum on the Buckeyes’ side such as Joey Bosa’s hit on Kiel that led to the safety in the first quarter. The secondary does need to improve, but with the more experience they gain it should limit these breakdowns in coverages.
Buckeyes show growth in September
September was far from perfect for the Buckeyes, but they have shown growth with each game they played. This is a young but very talented team. Where they need to improve is reducing mental mistakes, as they raced out to a 30-7 lead and took the foot off the gas. The Bearcats took advantage of the Buckeyes’ mental mistakes to get back into the game. A promising sign was in the second half where Ohio State rebounded and pulled out to a huge lead. This team shows signs of resilience; and that’s what they need to be successful during conference play.