Prior to Saturday’s game, The Lantern’s sports editor and assistant sports editor Ryan Cooper and Kevin Stankiewicz gave their five things to look at during the matchup between Ohio State and Hawaii.
OSU ended up shutting out the Rainbow Warriors, 38-0.
Here is a look back at the five things to watch for before the game and how the Buckeyes played out Saturday’s home opener.
Who gets the field goal duties this time?
Much like redshirt junior Cardale Jones getting the start for the second game in a row, OSU coach Urban Meyer stuck with the same starter in the Buckeyes’ other position battle.
Redshirt senior Jack Willoughby, after missing his lone attempt in the Buckeyes’ opener at Virginia Tech, converted his only attempt on Saturday, a 20-yarder midway through the third quarter.
He was lined up for a kick earlier in the game, but a botched hold by junior punter Cameron Johnston took away that opportunity.
Willoughby, a transfer from Duke, has been in an ongoing battle with sophomore Sean Nuernberger for the field goal job. Meyer said on Wednesday that a competition in Thursday’s practice would decide who got the duties on Saturday, which apparently was won by Willoughby.
He was announced as the kickoff specialist shortly after his transfer to OSU, though he kicked two of them out of bounds on Saturday.
Who fields punts?
In Monday’s game at Virginia Tech, junior running back Ezekiel Elliott stood back as a surprise punt returner. Although a pair of H-backs in redshirt sophomore Jalin Marshall and junior Dontre Wilson were suspended for the game, the depth chart listed redshirt senior H-back Braxton Miller and sophomore running back Curtis Samuel as the return men.
However, it was Elliott who took the punts, which Meyer explained as because he had the best catching hands. Despite those hands, he muffed a punt in that game that led to a Virginia Tech score.
On Saturday, Elliott did not once stand back to return. Instead, Marshall, Wilson and Miller got the opportunities, with Marshall fielding the three returns.
For most of the game, unless OSU was sending an extra attacker to try to block a Hawaii kick deep in Rainbow Warriors territory, two returners of the three stood back.
Marshall pulled off the biggest return in the third quarter, a 32-yard return aided by an excellent block by Miller to take out two would-be tacklers.
Three more guys, just one ball
With already a bevy of offensive weapons, it was a valid question how OSU would adapt to the return of three more: Marshall, Wilson and redshirt senior receiver Corey Smith.
Much like on the punt return side, it was Marshall getting the bulk of the attention.
Marshall had three catches in the game for 40 yards, including two receptions on a shovel sweep that OSU ran frequently throughout the game.
Smith only had one catch for eight yards late in the first half. He had a long completion on an untimed play at the end of the first quarter, but offsetting penalties wiped out the catch.
Wilson did not see much time on offense or accumulate any stats, making his main presence felt on special teams.
As for the weapons who were on the field in Blacksburg, Virginia, Samuel led the Buckeyes with seven catches for 53 yards and had one carry for nine.
Redshirt junior receiver Michael Thomas had five catches for 52 yards, and redshirt senior tight end Nick Vannett caught one pass for 12 yards.
How many deep balls will the Buckeyes throw?
Despite Hawaii having a questionable secondary, the Buckeyes opted to do more damage on the ground than through the air.
All four OSU touchdowns were on the ground, marking the first game since Oct. 5, 2013 at Northwestern — a span of 24 games — without a passing touchdown.
Jones threw a few deep balls, with the first coming on a free play due to an offsides. Jones aired it out to redshirt freshman receiver Parris Campbell, but the pass went through his outstretched hands.
Early in the second quarter before he was pulled for Barrett, Jones unleashed a throw that traveled roughly 50 yards on the fly, but Marshall was unable to corral it in due good coverage by the Rainbow Warrior secondary.
Early in the fourth quarter, Jones let go another deep ball, this time it was intended for Thomas. Thomas had a step on the defender, but the ball was slightly underthrown, which ended up working out in the Buckeyes’ favor because the Hawaii defender made contact with Thomas as they both tried to readjust for the ball. The play resulted in defensive pass interference.
Those three attempts — and only one that was official — were the only deep balls by the Buckeyes, who carried the ball 49 times for 182 yards but completed just 20 of 34 throws for 181.
Will we see a two-QB system this time?
While three quarterbacks did play — and four if you include the eight direct snaps Miller took — Meyer once again opted not to mix Jones and Barrett together.
Jones got the start, getting all of the snaps that weren’t taken by Miller until he was pulled for Barrett midway through the second quarter. Barrett struggled, leading Meyer to hand the reins back to Jones for the second half.
WIth the game out of reach, Barrett got back in the game and led a long drive that ended in OSU’s fourth and final offensive touchdown.
On the final victory formation drive, it was neither Jones nor Barrett but redshirt freshman Stephen Collier who got to take the final snaps. He did not attempt a pass.
One player who did attempt a pass was Johnston, when he shoveled his mishandled snap on a first-quarter field goal attempt to no one in particular.
Many have speculated about the potential chaos and possibilities of having Barrett and Jones on the field at the same time, but through two games that is yet to materialize.