The Ohio State football team gained more than 700 yards of total offense on its way to a 50-28 win against Cincinnati. OSU (3-1) scored 23 points in the first quarter and another 20 in the second half to seal a 40th consecutive win against in-state opponents Saturday night at Ohio Stadium. The Buckeyes’ offensive output fueled a 30-point run in the first half and a 17-point run in the second to help negate a huge day from Cincinnati redshirt-sophomore quarterback Gunner Kiel. With the score at 36-28 in favor of OSU in the second half, the Buckeye defense forced four consecutive punts and the offense scored two touchdowns in that span to take a 50-28 lead. Senior wide receiver Evan Spencer said the Buckeyes’ quick start on offense was drawn up in the game plan coming in. “It was a big emphasis in the locker room coming into this game and we just put our foot on the pedal right away,” Spencer said after the game. “It means the world to play offensively the last two games like we have. Now it’s time for us to get on a roll.” OSU coach Urban Meyer said he was happy with the Buckeyes’ ability to move the ball, but left room for improvement from his defense. “Other than a dropped third down and a fumble, I was very pleased for the night, offensively,” Meyer said after the game.
“Defensively, we’re back to the drawing board.” OSU redshirt-freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett powered the offensive output with 330 yards and four touchdowns in response to Kiel’s 352 yards and four scores. Beyond Barrett’s big day, the Buckeyes had a balanced attack throughout the game as they totaled 380 on the ground. Sophomore running back Ezekiel Elliott led all OSU ball carriers with 28 attempts for 182 yards and a touchdown. Meyer said OSU’s offense is powered by the offensive line, and said the linemen led the way to the Buckeyes’ victory. “They won the game for us,” Meyer said. “And they controlled that line of scrimmage, they protected our quarterback.” Barrett echoed his coach and said the offensive line’s play was a key to the win. “All the credit goes to the offensive line,” Barrett said after the game. “They got it started for us and that’s what coach Meyer always talks about in relying on them to keep the offensive going.” Kiel hit junior wide receiver Chris Moore for a 60-yard touchdown on the game’s fourth play from scrimmage to put the Bearcats ahead early. OSU responded with a run of 30 straight points — including a safety after a sack-and-strip by sophomore defensive lineman Joey Bosa. Senior defensive lineman Michael Bennett said Bosa’s play was the turning point for the Buckeyes. “Today I think he (Bosa) changed the whole course of the game by hitting Gunner Kiel like that and forcing the safety,” Bennett said after the game. “It gave us incredible momentum and Gunner was kind of looking at him from that point on.” The Cincinnati signal caller responded with two more touchdown passes toward the end of the half, including an 83-yard strike to Moore to cap a four-play, 97-yard drive. Despite the charge from Cincinnati, OSU still entered the break ahead, 30-21. Kiel finished the half 14 of 19 on pass attempts for 234 yards and all three Cincinnati touchdowns. Barrett was 15 of 20 for 185 yards and a pair of scores at the break. The Buckeyes opened the second half with a 14-play, 67-yard drive that ended with a 25-yard field goal by freshman kicker Sean Nuernberger to bring their lead back to double digits. Cincinnati responded with another long touchdown from Kiel to Moore, this time for 78 yards to make it 33-28 in favor of OSU. The three connections between the pair totaled 221 yards and three touchdowns. Meyer said he was “pissed” when the Bearcats stormed back with big plays through the air, but recognized that Cincinnati is “probably the best throwing team” OSU has faced during his tenure in Columbus. “I asked (Cincinnati coach Tommy Tuberville) after the game, and he’s got a good team,” Meyer said. “But we’re Ohio State, too, so we better learn how to play pass defense and get that fixed. In response to the Bearcats’ touchdown, OSU was forced to settle for another field goal on the ensuing possession, which Nuernberger put through the uprights from 42 yards out, extending the lead to 36-28.
After the Buckeyes’ defense forced a punt, Barrett hit sophomore H-back Dontre Wilson in the end zone without a defender within five yards. Another Cincinnati punt lead to another touchdown pass for Barrett as he hit senior wide receiver Devin Smith from 34 yards out to make the Buckeyes’ lead 50-28. Barrett added 79 yards on the ground while Wilson led all OSU receivers with 71 yards to go along with one touchdown. Elliott finished the game with 233 total yards. Sophomore safety Vonn Bell led OSU with seven total tackles while Bosa’s sack was the only tackle for loss by the Buckeyes in the game. Barrett’s 409 yards of total offense rank second in OSU history behind Art Schlichter’s 412-yard output against Florida State in 1981. The team’s total output of 710 yards is third most in school history after a late 10-yard loss negated what would have been the new OSU record. The Buckeyes gained 718 yards against Mount Union in 1930 and 715 yards against Utah in 1986. Moore led all players with his 221 yard receiving while the Bearcats were held to just 70 yards on the ground. The official attendance of 108,362 set a new Ohio Stadium record, passing the total from the Sept. 6 loss to Virginia Tech. The Buckeyes are scheduled to head to College Park, Md., to take on Maryland on Oct. 4. Kickoff is set for noon. For highlights from Saturday’s game, watch the video below.