A week after thrashing Bowling Green 77-10, Ohio State powned Tulsa 48-3 on Saturday, switching on the afterburners following an extended halftime and outscoring the Golden Hurricane 28-0 in the final two quarters.
For whatever reason—looking ahead to next week’s showdown in Oklahoma, understandable regression following a record-setting performance vs. Bowling Green, or general bewilderment as to why the new iPhone fails to sport a headphone jack—the Buckeye offense was stuck in the mud for most of the first half, registering a pair of 3-and-outs and a lost fumble on three of its first four drives. But, order was restored in the second half and Ohio State cruised without hindrance in spite of a steady precipitation emanating from the heavens. Heading into its gargantuan matchup with Oklahoma, the Buckeyes have yet to surrender a touchdown on defense and are plus-7 in the turnover department. The kids are alright, I suppose?
It’s Week 2 of the Ohio State football power rankings. Leggo!
1. Hell yeah, it’s Oklahoma week
Ohio State. Oklahoma. In Norman. (Yours truly and a cadre of schlubs are taking possession of recreational vehicle and driving to Norman. No truth to the rumor that ‘The Boz’ will be at our tailgate on Saturday morning.)
These two storied programs have met twice before, with the last collision coming in 1983 when No. 6 (Associated Press) Ohio State beat No. 2 Oklahoma 24-14 in Norman. The New York Times’ recap of the game indicates that the temperature on the field on that September day reached was 135 degrees. The typewriter-based takes from the press box at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium must have been especially scorching.
In 1977, No. 3 Oklahoma and Barry Switzer edged No. 4 Ohio State and Woody Hayes in Columbus, 29-28.
2. You get an interception! And you get an interception! And you get an interception!
The Silver Bullets tallied four interceptions on Saturday, raising their season total to seven. The first-half pick-sixes by
Ed Reed Malik Hooker (who has three picks to his name) and Marshon Lattimore were very timely, as the defense more than picked up the slack for a laggard Ohio State offense in the first half. For the game, the Buckeyes forced six Golden Hurricane turnovers. Better check yourself, Baker Mayfield.
3. Curtis Samuel
After averaging nearly 12 yards per touch on 22 carries/receptions in Week 1, Samuel was magnificent again in Week 2, accumulating almost 12 yards per touch on 13 carries/receptions opposite Tulsa. The Buckeyes went away from Samuel in the first half, but the junior notched four touches on Ohio State’s initial second half drive and caught a pair of passes for 48 yards when the Buckeyes scored two drives later.
“I try to spend a lot of time on that and be creative in how to get him involved,” Urban Meyer said post-game of Samuel. “We threw a couple of wheel routes to him, he made a play. We gave him a push sweep. That's one neat thing about this offense: You can dictate where the ball goes sometimes.”
Gonna go out on a limb and proclaim that Mr. Samuel will feature heavily vs. the Sooners.
4. Tyler Durbin and Cameron Johnston
So much shade coming Durbin’s ways these days. First, Meyer admitted publicly that he basically didn’t have a clue that Durbin even existed. Then, the operations staff at Ohio Stadium referred to him as ‘Drew Durbin’ on Saturday. What’s a guy with a “Fight Club”-sounding name have to do to get some love? Acing Ohio State’s preferred coffin-corner kickoff and booting the pigskin consistently through the uproots (Durbin is 2-for-2 on field goals and 11-for-11 on PATs) is a massive step toward name recognition.
As for Johnston, he averaged 51 yards on his five punts, and he pinned Tulsa on the 1-yard line late in the fourth quarter despite having a defender crash into him. On that particular play, Johnston stood his ground and found the time to chirp at the dude who ran into him. You do you, Thunder from Down Under.
5. John Cooper
As Geoff Hammersley outlined earlier this week, former Ohio State head honcho John Cooper cut his teeth at Tulsa (and Arizona State) before landing in Columbus. (Francis Schmidt, another ex-head coach of the Buckeyes, coached at Tulsa nearly 100 years ago.)
Cooper won over 71 percent of his games in Columbus and turned Ohio State into an NFL talent factory, but of course, no mention of the former 13-year Buckeye coach (and college football Hall of Famer) is complete without mention of his 2-10-1 record against Michigan.
6. Mother Nature
A line of storms that stretched from southwestern Tennessee to southern Canada on Saturday afternoon left this writer without cable or internet for most of the second quarter and caused a delay of just over an hour at Ohio Stadium because of lightning in the area at halftime.
Another reminder of nature’s power, to be sure. It’s too bad it didn’t rain more at The Shoe, though—would’ve been awesome to see the Buckeyes arrive for the second half in fan boats, a la “The Waterboy.”
7. College GameDay
The GameDay crew is reportedly headed to Louisville for Louisville-Florida State instead of Ohio State-Oklahoma. The hell, guys?