A Monday morning grade card on Ohio State’s 48-3 win over Tulsa on a day when the Buckeyes and a predicted storm both came on strong in the final minutes of the first half and continued to dominate in the second half:
OK, no one expected a repeat of the 776-yard offensive outburst Ohio State had in its opener against Bowling
Green, but nobody expected OSU to struggle offensively like it did in the first half when it was a 6-3 game before two interceptions for touchdowns in the final three minutes of the second quarter changed everything.
The offensive line had some issues in run blocking and pass blocking early. Big plays were scarce. There was a lost fumble. Something — maybe some adjustments and possibly a little yelling — during a 50-minute weather delay seemed to ignite the offense, which gained 259 yards of its 417 yards total in the second half.
Ohio State found out it can win without J.T. Barrett throwing a touchdown pass. Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel continued to be productive out of the backfield and Dontre Wilson got his third touchdown in two games. Samuel was OSU’s leading receiver for the second game in a row. No wide receiver has emerged yet as a go-to guy, though wind and rain limited the aerial game on Saturday.
OSU’s defensive backfield, with three first-year starters, has gone from a question mark to one of the strengths of the team in two games. Marshon Lattimore and Malik Hooker got interceptions for touchdowns and Lattimore and Gareon Conley had additional picks against Tulsa. The Buckeyes had four interceptions and forced two fumbles.
The defense stopped Tulsa on fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line early, did not allow an offensive touchdown for the second game in a row and held the Golden Hurricane to 188 yards overall.
Defensive tackle Tracy Sprinkle’s season-ending knee injury opened the door for some other players and Robert Landers used his additional playing time well, getting two tackles for losses. Jerome Baker filled in a linebacker for Dante Booker, who was out with an MCL strain, and had five tackles and recovered a fumble.
Linebacker Raekwon McMillan led the defense with eight tackles. Sam Hubbard and Tyquan Lewis had sacks.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B
Tyler Durbin was 2 for 2 on field goals of 22 yards and 29 yards, experience that could be valuable if he is Ohio State’s kicker at Oklahoma this Saturday in place of the injured Sean Nuernberger. Punter Cameron Johnston did what has become routine for him, averaging 51.2 yards per kick with a long of 61 yards.
Ohio State’s kick coverage left something to be desired at times, specifically on a 52-yard kickoff return by Tulsa’s Bishop Louie.
Taken as a whole, the win over Tulsa was probably a good tune-up for this Saturday’s trip to Oklahoma. OSU is almost certainly farther along than many people would have predicted three weeks ago. The expectation was always that it would be 2-0 at this point in the season. But how many people expected the level of dominance the Buckeyes have enjoyed so far?