Even without starting quarterback Braxton Miller, out for the second consecutive game with an sprained MCL, the Ohio State Buckeyes improved to 4-0 on the season with an easy 76-0 victory over Florida A&M.
Led by fifth-year senior Kenny Guiton, the offense flexed its muscles early and often, while the defense was solid as a rock from start to finish. Guiton played tremendously in his second career start, throwing for a school-record six touchdown passes, and the defense did not allow the Rattlers to cross midfield.
While Florida A&M had no chance of winning the game, they let it get out of hand early. The Rattlers' offense went three-and-out on their first possession and were forced to punt. During the ensuing punt, defensive back Doran Grant got a piece of it, giving the Buckeyes' offense great field position.
The Buckeyes were unable to take advantage of the short field position, as Guiton made one of the first mistakes as a starter by throwing an interception in the end zone. However, cornerback Patrick Aiken attempted to return the interception out of the end zone, fumbled as he crossed the goal line and turned the ball over, setting up the Buckeyes inside the five-yard line.
Fifth-year senior running back Jordan Hall, who seems to have put a stranglehold on the starting tailback position, punched it in from five yards out and the rout was on.
Per usual the rest of the game, the Rattlers went three-and-out on their next possession. Corey "Philly" Brown electrified the crowd of 103,595, still a 90th consecutive game with 100,000+ despite the FCS opponent and rain throughout the morning, with a 65-yard punt return, setting up Guiton and Co. with great field position. The quarterback capped the drive with a short touchdown pass to tight end Jeff Heuerman, who scored the first touchdown by a tight end on the season, putting the Buckeyes up 13-0. The Rattlers stopped a two-point conversion attempt after the touchdown.
Again, the Rattlers' drive stalled after three plays and were forced to punt. Grant got more than a piece of it and blocked the punt, and two plays later, Guiton hit receiver Evan Spencer for his first touchdown of the year, this time from eight yards out.
With the Buckeyes up 20-0, running back Carlos Hyde made his first appearance of the season. Coming off a three-game suspension, the senior tailback picked up a fourth-and-1 conversion on his first carry of the game. With the quarter coming to a close, Hyde contributed in the passing game as he caught a shovel pass and scooted across the goal line for his first touchdown of the season. Things only got worse for FAMU as quarterback Damien Fleming was picked off by senior corner Bradley Roby, setting up Guiton's fourth touchdown of the day on the very next play.
Although, the rest of the game didn't have quite the fireworks as the first quarter, the play from the game most likely to see a highlight reel was a touchdown reception by Hall. The tailback from Jeannette, PA, took the FAMU defense, and the referee, along for a ride to the end zone, which gave the Buckeyes a 41-point lead.
While the offense will get the recognition, the defense was a stout as ever. The Rattlers were unable to pick up a single first down until the five-minute mark of the second quarter. Despite this breakthrough, the offense was only able to garner one more first down on the drive before having to punt.
With time running out in the half, Guiton took over the two-minute drill and with five seconds left, found Spencer wide open in the back of the end zone for the Ohio State record for touchdown passes in a game.
From there, head coach Urban Meyer called off the dogs, and put in the backups. Cardale Jones came to play football today, relieving Guiton of his duties for the day after a 24/34, 215-yard, record-setting performance. Jones was unable to throw a pass, as the Buckeyes ran the ball on every play in the second half.
Freshman running back Ezekiel Elliott reaped the benefits of the offense that Woody Hayes would have been proud of, eclipsing 100 yards in the third quarter alone. Elliott finished the day carrying the ball 14 times for 162 yards.
Like their counterparts on offense, the starting defensive unit was pulled in favor of their backups, who kept the shutout intact.
Guiton played backup to his backup in the fourth quarter, when Jones left the game with a cut on his hand. As Jones walked to the locker room to get stitches, Guiton led another drive to the end zone, capped off yet again with a touchdown as Elliott scampered to the end zone from 13 yards out. Jones returned with time winding down in the game and finished off a scoring drive of his own to give the Buckeyes the final 76-0 advantage.
At the end of the day, Ohio State was able to showcase their offense against a less than stellar opponent, while Florida A&M is taking home a $900,000 paycheck. Both sides win. Regardless of the stature of the opponent, the Buckeyes have now rattled off 16 straight wins, the longest streak in the nation.