Ohio State went into Saturday’s game as 27.5-point favorites and covered within the first nine minutes of the game.
And then The Lull happened.
The Buckeyes still won easily and were never threatened.
A 45-21 victory in the season opener against Florida Atlantic isn’t the final I would have come up with after the first quarter, but it’s the one that happened, and it’s only going to help this team moving forward.
How much good would come from a 77-0 win without any challenges or adversity to deal with? This at least gives them something to work on and the coaches don’t have to nitpick or fabricate the issues at hand. They are quite tangible and the players know it.
A win over Cincinnati on Saturday and nobody will remember this game. Hell, a loss to Cincinnati on Saturday and nobody will remember this game.
It’s just a season opener, sufficient for its own guff, but not sufficient to last beyond week two.
Anyway, welcome back to the Buckeye Watch. I think it’s my first since the 2016 Michigan game. I couldn’t find one from the 31-0 loss to Clemson. Sorry.
10:42 Breakfast today is some seasoned hashbrowns with some corn thrown in. Scrambled eggs. Sausage links. Ooh, salsa. Next week, I’m bringing tortillas from home and I’ll warm them between my two laptops. I’m really gonna do this right.
11:16 The DJ is now playing some Nirvana. I don’t know what all you olds were worried about. This guy rocks.
11:23 The game-time decision guys — sophomore defensive ends Tyler Friday and Tyreke Smith, and running back Demario McCall — are all warming up. Looks like they’ll be playing today.
11:24 Before this game gets started, I just wanted to remind Buckeye fans that Justin Fields won the 2017 Elite 11 passing camp, going head-to-head with Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Fields’ ability to run is just part of the entire package. He can sling it too.
11:54 I just ran into Kevin Wilson in the press box. He didn’t seem like he was in a hurry, so I’m guessing Ohio State will be kicking off to start the game.
11:59 The coin toss is now “Number” or “Logo” rather than Heads or Tails because they are using a commemorative coin honoring the 150th anniversary of the birth of college football. Ohio State calls “Number” and loses the toss. I call shenanigans. This is not how coin tosses go. You don’t play Rock, Paper, Scissors with Ropes, Batteries, and Pillows, and you don’t toss a coin without a heads or tails. Buckeyes will get the ball first because Lane Kiffin can’t wait to see Justin Fields either.
12:01 Jameson Williams and Demario McCall are back deep to receive. They should just let the ball go and race from one goal line to the other to see who is faster.
12:02 Demario was close to breaking one. Took it from the 5-yard line to the 30-yard with a spin move to boot.
12:03 You’ve run three plays now. Trips to the right. Time to take a shot? Well, sort of. Justin Fields just kept it on the zone read and “went deep” for a 51-yard touchdown run on his first carry as a Buckeye.
12:04 I’m guessing that’s the longest first rush by a Buckeye since Michael Wiley went 49 yards against Rice in 1996.
12:05 Dwayne who? 7-0 Ohio State.
12:05 I don’t know if it was a 4.38, but it was pretty good.
12:09 The Bullet and the Sam are playing together and everything is a lie.
12:09 Brendon White with a TFL on the swing screen to end the drive. From what I’ve seen of Michigan’s hybrid guy over the years, you should expect a bunch of TFLs from White this year.
12:10 Demario McCall as a punt returner could make this team pretty good.
12:11 Justin Fields finds Jeremy Ruckert wide open for a 25-yard touchdown. That was a pattern between Ruckert and Luke Farrell and the defense had no chance as Farrell cleared everybody out, leaving Ruckert so open that it’s almost surprising he didn’t drop the pass. Buckeyes lead it 14-0 and I’m not sure the game has even started yet.
12:13 Justin Fields is 2-2 for 30 yards and a touchdown. He is also averaging 51 yards per carry. Shea Patterson better do something spectacular tonight if he wants to get in on this September Heisman race.
12:16 Great diving pass break up by Jeff Okudah. That’s the same dominating Okudah from the bowl game.
12:17 Chase Young gets his first sack of the season. He is now on pace for possibly 60.
12:18 Buckeyes are under center and once again we have been lied to. Ryan Day said they worked on it but probably wouldn’t do anything with it. He poo pooed it this week. POO POOED IT. Right in our faces. And then he does this. Anyway, nice 17-yard run by JK Dobbins who is running well.
12:19 Play-action deep to Binjimen Victor for 32 yards and the touchdown. This is sad. No defense. I disagree with Florida Atlantic’s 4-3-0 defense. Buckeyes lead it 21-0.
12:20 There is still 9:12 remaining in the first quarter. Ohio State scores more touchdowns by the 9-minute mark than most teams score all day.
12:23 Chris Olave on the kickoff return tackle. You’ll be hearing that a lot.
12:23 Baron Browning with a tackle for loss. Once we saw him as an OR on the depth chart, we knew he would be playing a lot, and so far he’s a real part of this defense.
12:24 Let’s tally up the worst defenses we’ve seen in Ohio Stadium. 1. Florida A&M; 2. Bowling Green; 3. New Mexico State; 4. Florida Atlantic
12:30 KJ Hill just dropped a deep throw back from Justin Fields. There goes Fields’ perfect day. Tate Martell will remain in Ohio State’s record books for one more week.
12:31 JK is now throwing dudes around. This is what they’ve been asking him to do.
12:31 Play-action touchdown pass on the post to Chris Olave from 29 yards out. Easy on the move inside to the post. No safety help. This is just destruction. 28-0 with 6:50 to play.
12:32 They just showed a replay. The only other receiver running a route was Garrett Wilson and he was on the left side running a short route to draw in the safety and leave no help for the FAU corner. You know how in the olden times — or at least in Game of Thrones — rather than having entire armies battle, they would just let the two leaders fight and whoever won that fight won the battle? This was like that. Ohio State kept all of their troops in and sent out Olave against FAU’s corner. The Buckeyes quickly won the battle.
12:33 Keep in mind, this is FOX’s national game. It’s basically Faces of Death and kids are watching.
12:34 Jeff Okudah forces a fumble on the swing pass help. Then he gets another tackle behind the line of scrimmage. He has picked up right where he left off last year. Dude is spotless.
12:37 Now Ohio State is throwing screens to JK Dobbins on third down. This is not classy football.
12:38 Fields gets blasted on a third-down blitz, but gets the ball off deep and it goes off of the hands of Chris Olave. Both incompletions should have been caught.
12:41 The Ohio State run defense has been very good. And they are rotating a lot of guys early.
12:43 Jashon Cornell beats Chase Young to a sack and forces a fumble. That’s the second forced fumble of the game for the Buckeyes, but FAU recovers.
12:44 THAT’S THE END OF THE FIRST QUARTER. Ohio State leads it ∞ to -∞.
12:45 FAU with -1 passing yards and -3 rushing yards. Is their passing yardage three times better than their rushing yardage, or is their rushing yardage three times better than their passing yardage? I don’t know the proper vernacular. Ohio State has 220 yards.
12:50 Nice spin out of a blindside pass rush by Justin Fields. Showed nice awareness to not get blasted. Pretty good for a sophomore in his first start. The Buckeyes will punt.
12:55 Man, Jashon Cornell looks great and fast on the little chase of the sweep. The defense is running to the ball. Baron Browning too. Loss of eight. Ryan Day wanted to see his defense flying to the football. They are. This is the fastest I’ve ever seen Cornell.
12:56 Robert Landers and Chase Young combine on the sack. Young will need another half-sack this quarter to keep up his 60-sack pace.
1:01 Fields finds Binjimen Victor on third down and Victor spins out of a soft tackle attempt and takes off upfield showing off his wheels.
1:03 Florida Atlantic gets flagged for having 12 men on defense. Let them have 12. It would be a better test for this Ohio State offense.
1:05 Chris Olave gets flagged for a pass interference. The crowd doesn’t like it so he must not have done it, I said sarcastically. Actually, after watching a replay, that was a bad call. Nice job being objective, Buckeye fans.
1:06 Bad swing pass to Garrett Wilson is actually a lateral that Wilson can’t handle. Nobody realizes it was a backward pass and FAU jumps on it. They’ll get that fixed. Either players have to be coached to jump on those swing passes if the ball is on the ground, or you have to coach the QB to make sure his passes are forward. That pass was behind Wilson. The irony is it was Fields’ worst pass of the day, but will go as a lost fumble.
1:11 Florida Atlantic goes with a reverse throwback flea flicker and the one receiver in the route was double covered. That’s some pretty terrific discipline by the Buckeyes. Does that happen last year, he asked rhetorically.
1:16 The first quarter of the Justin Fields Era was more impressive than the second quarter. If the regression continues in this manner, Chris Chugunov better be ready by the third quarter.
1:17 Justin Fields is getting too much pressure. He’s getting hit more than he should and he’s not getting the time he did in the first quarter. Ohio State punts.
1:18 A 1-yard rush gives FAU -29 rushing yards. The journey of a thousand miles actually takes 24,000 miles if you go backwards.
1:20 Lane Kiffin wants to leave Columbus so bad you’d think he played for the Blue Jackets.
1:26 Damon Arnette drops an interception in the end zone. Let’s go check his Twitter mentions right now.
1:27 FAU kicks a field goal to make it 28-3 with 33 seconds remaining in the half.
1:28 The comeback has begun.
1:30 Ohio State goes to the half up 28-3. Now it’s time for some halftime hot dogs.
1:33 There were no halftime hot dogs. I may not be as attentive in the second half because I’ll be in the process of writing a sternly worded letter about people not meeting hot dog expectations and how that can affect the quality of content that is being produced by the media. I will use my own example of neglecting my job in order to write this letter about not having expectations met.
1:47 I’m not saying anybody is to blame, but somebody is to blame for the popcorn machine being empty the two times I’ve tried to load up.
1:50 Ohio State outgained FAU in the second quarter 60 yards to -10. FAU has completed 9 passes for 8 yards. They have actually gained more yards on each of their four incompletions than they have on four of their completions.
1:51 Back to the action.
1:53 Florida Atlantic goes deep to receiver John Mitchell, but Brendon White breaks it up at the last second. Mitchell had a step, but White did a great job getting his hand inside the catch and ripped the ball out. Nice play.
1:55 Now they attack Jahsen Wint deep for a 26-yard gain to tight end Harris Bryant. I doubt it’s coincidence that FAU has come out and attacked OSU’s hybrid guys deep. And tack on 15 additional yards due to a roughing call from Davon Hamilton.
1:56 Feeling pretty good about my 49-10 pick right now.
1:57 Baron Browning gets a tackle for a 1-yard gain and then gets after the quarterback and forces a throw away. This is not going to help the cause of the Tuf Borland Fan Club.
2:06 Imagine thinking yesterday — or earlier today — that Justin Fields would play the whole game.
2:07 Ohio State punts. Florida Atlantic muffs it, but recovers it at their 4-yard line. Is this more likely to be an Ohio State scoring drive or a Florida Atlantic scoring drive?
2:15 Justin Fields takes off upfield, slides and gets hit. First down. Should’ve been 15 more for a late hit. Urban would have been flagged for reacting to that.
2:17 Master Teague for no gain. I think most of these hand-offs are simply hand-offs and not reads. There looks to be room for Fields to go, but he’s the one at field level and I’m just a guy up here working on a letter about hot dogs.
2:19 Play-action to Jeremy Ruckert for the 3-yard touchdown. His second of the day. IT’S THE YEAR OF THE TIGHT END! I TOLD YOU WINTER WAS COMING!!! You all laughed at me, but here we are. It’s the year of the tight end. BOW BEFORE YOUR NEW GOD! Buckeyes lead it 35-6.
2:28 Florida Atlantic going up-tempo and throwing some quick stuff and taking advantage of Ohio State keeping things in front of them.
2:33 Huge hit by Malik Harrison to break up a pass and I’m waiting for a flag. Even as they line up for the next play, I’m still waiting for that hit to be buzzed down from upstairs.
2:34 Nice tackle by Pete Werner on Harrison Bryant in a one-on-one situation. Does he miss that tackle last year? We have reached the end of the quarter. Buckeyes are still winning.
2:27 Another one-on-one tackle by Werner.
2:43 Florida Atlantic pounds it in from three yards out. They’ll go for two. Long roll out, quarterback is getting pressured and he drops in a perfect completion right in front of Jeff Okudah. Robert Landers didn’t drop deep enough as a nose safety on that play. It is now 35-14.
2:48 Justin Fields drops back, escapes, scrambles, tries to juke and nearly blows out both knees. Fields is fast, but he doesn’t have Braxton Miller’s moves, that’s for sure.
2:55 First and goal and JK Dobbins goes way up and over for the touchdown. Buckeyes now lead it 42-14 as I prepare to head down to the field in a few minutes.
3:00 Teradja Mitchell and Baron Browning let Harrison Bryant get behind them and he picks up 38 yards. Good thing that wasn’t Pete Werner or Tuf Borland in coverage, or else some fans would have been critical of the defense on this play.
3:01 Zach Harrison just misses out on his first career sack.
3:06 Third and goal. Play-action bootleg, and Chris Robison hits John Raine as, I believe, Cameron Brown, Jahsen Wint, and Isaiah Pryor were all a bit late to recognize the fullback in that route. Touchdown Owls to make it 42-21.
3:07 225 of FAU’s 199 yards have come on their last four drives.
3:10 I’m going to wrap it up here and head down to the field. I’m taking a notebook, so if anything exciting happens, I may remember to take it out of my pocket and jot it down. If something exciting does happen and there’s no more mention of it here, I forgot and I was probably still downstairs working on Hot Dog-gate. Thanks for reading. Together, we will bring hot dogs back to the Ohio State press box.