OSU Grade Card: Buckeyes have an honor roll game


A Monday morning grade card on Ohio State’s dominating 45-24 win at Oklahoma that ended early Sunday morning after a long weather delay:

OFFENSE: A

J.T. Barrett threw for four touchdown passes, rushed for 74 yards on 17 carries and did things that don’t show up in the boxscore. His leadership in a big game was invaluable to the Buckeyes in an environment that started out hostile but turned quiet when OSU jumped out to a 35-17 lead at halftime.

Noah Brown emerged as the go-to receiver Ohio State has been looking for this season with four touchdown catches, including an absolutely spectacular grab where he reached around a defensive back with both arms and caught a touchdown pass.

Mike Weber had the second 100-yard game of his three-game career with 123 yards and Curtis Samuel was just short of 100 yards with 98 yards.

The offensive line was in control of the line of scrimmage for most of the night.

DEFENSE: A-

Considering a starting linebacker, Dante Booker, did not play for a second straight week because of a knee injury and that OSU’s top cornerback, Gareon Conley, went out with a “stinger” in the first half after making a tackle, it’s hard to find fault with the Buckeyes’ defense.

Allowing 404 yards against to Oklahoma might seem like quite a few, but there were only a few times when the Sooners threatened to turn those yards into points. Oklahoma’s two offensive touchdowns were the only scores by an opposing offense in Ohio State’s three games this season.

Linebacker Jerome Baker delivered maybe the biggest play of the night on defense when he returned a pass interception 68 yards for a touchdown to give Ohio State an early 14-0 lead. OSU has nine interceptions this season.

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield was far from lighting up OSU’s defense, as his back-up quarterback had predicted he would do earlier in the week.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B+

Punter Cameron Johnston was outstanding again, dropping several punts inside the 10-yard line. He averaged 50.6 yards per punt. Kicker Tyler Durbin kicked a 31-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.

The Buckeyes’ kick coverage continues to need some work, though. Oklahoma got its first touchdown on a 97-yard kickoff return by Joe Mixon right after the interception return for a score by Baker. Some replays appeared to show Mixon dropping the ball around the two-yard line.

OVERALL: A

The oddsmakers had Ohio State as a small favorite most of last week, but not many people expected a three-touchdown win by the Buckeyes.

It’s a long way until December, but the Buckeyes delivered a message that they have talent and they can use it. Clearly, there was talent behind the starters last season and those players have made the most of their opportunities when they’ve gotten a chance to play this year.

Ohio State gets a week off this week before their Big Ten opener against Rutgers at Ohio Stadium on Oct. 1. The biggest concern to come out of Saturday night’s game might have been the injury to cornerback Conley, but coach Urban Meyer said he expects him to “be fine.”

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