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After wonky start, Ohio State obliterates Miami (OH) 76-5 to end non-conference slate

After going going down 5-0, the Buckeyes turn it on and blow out the RedHawks.

NCAA Football: Miami (Ohio) at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State continued its early season dominance on Saturday afternoon, knocking off Miami (OH) 76-5 to close out the non-conference schedule. The Redhawks looked prepared for the challenge in the opening minutes of the game, but those dreams very quickly came crashing to the ground as the Buckeyes just straight up out-manned their fellow Ohioans for the next 50 minutes of play.

After an interesting first quarter, one that saw Ohio State leading just 7-5 through 15 minutes, the Buckeyes opened up the floodgates in the second quarter. Dominating in every single facet of the game, OSU outscored Miami 42-0 behind a swarming defense and incredibly efficient offense headed by Justin Fields.

Fields continued to show improvement at an absolutely terrifying pace for opposing defenses around the country. In almost all aspects of the game, Fields has quickly shown why he was one of the most highly touted recruits in the country coming out of high school in 2018. The sophomore quarterback completed 14-of-21 passes for 223 yards and four touchdowns, running for an additional 36 yards and two scores. The starting QB did not play in the second half. Most impressively, Fields’ presence of mind and ability to keep his eyes upfield — even when plays look broken — has improved drastically in just four games.

The Buckeye defense got off to a slow start, allowing far too many yards on quick passes and outside runs on Miami’s first two drives. However, Ryan Day was able to quickly make adjustments. The Silver Bullets forced three first-half turnovers, with Chase Young leading the charge with two sack-fumbles.

Jeff Okudah recorded his first career interception, and after just one quarter of play, a defense that looked vulnerable early flipped the switch and became completely impenetrable.

Five different players scored for Ohio State in the opening 30 minutes. Fields was able to find Chris Olave twice in the corners of the end zone, with K.J. Hill and Binjimen Victor each catching long touchdowns of their own. J.K. Dobbins scored on a long 26-yard scamper, and Fields added two scores on the ground with his feet. Overall, Fields completed passes to eight different receivers in the opening two quarters.

Redhawks head coach Chuck Martin was forced to switch quarterbacks early on after a 5-for-15 beginning to starter Brett Gabbert’s day — including the Okudah pick. With backup Jackson Williamson in the game, the team switched to a more run-heavy approach with little success, accounting for -7 total yards in the second quarter. A quick start was not enough to overcome the talent disparity, as Ohio State scored seemingly at will all day — with the starting offense not returning for the second half with the game clearly in the bag.

Ohio State came out of the gates incredibly slow on defense, allowing two relatively easy first downs on quick passes by Miami quarterback Brett Gabbert. The Silver Bullets seemed to pull things together, and after a near-interception by Jeff Okudah, the Redhawks were forced to punt. However, after pinning the Buckeyes inside the one, Myles Reid was able to strip the ball away from Justin Fields, going out of the back of the end zone for a safety and an early 2-0 lead.

The slow start for OSU continued, as the Redhawks drove down the field and into the red zone with ease following the free kick. After Pete Werner was called for pass interference on a 3rd-and-8, Miami got a new set of downs inside the five. The Buckeyes stood their ground on the goal line, holding the opposition to a field goal, but finding themselves in an early 5-0 hole; yes, 5-0.

The Buckeyes began their first real possession of the game going up-tempo, feeding J.K. Dobbins early on with a few quick strikes by Fields to the outside for first downs. The offense got in a really good rhythm with a few decent runs and short passes before the Dobbins of a week ago made his return, making a great cut in the backfield to spring a 26-yard touchdown run, giving Ohio State their first lead of the game, 7-5.

After an action-packed first few minutes, the play slowed down significantly. Both teams traded some pretty lackluster possessions, and after one quarter of play the Buckeyes continued 7-5 lead.

Ohio State opened the second quarter with a bang, and following a nice 12-yard ground gains from Dobbins, Fields found K.J. Hill streaking down the sideline on a play action pass for a 53-yard TD. Day continued to put on display what has made this offense so effective in the early goings of the year, with a great running game setting up the excellent play-action deep ball.

The Redhawks had their fun, but, with a two-score lead, the Buckeyes were out for blood. Gabbert’s first pass on the next Miami possession was the one picked off by Okudah, his first interception as a Buckeye. Fields started having his way with the defense, picking them apart for two big gains before walking it in on a seven-yard keeper for a touchdown, OSU now leading 21-5.

You could almost physically see the wind leaves the sails for Miami as the Ohio State defense began to completely dominate the line of scrimmage. Chuck Martin went to the bench for a new quarterback in hopes of better results, but things remained the same. Chase Young strip sacked replacement Jackson Williamson, and before the Redhawks could blink, Fields was finding Chris Olave in the back corner of the end zone to extend the lead to 35-5.

Miami at this point was just hoping to get into halftime with their dignity still in tact, but the Buckeyes just continued to pour it on. As everything that could go wrong did go wrong for Martin’s squad, Ohio State’s special teams came up with yet another punt block — their second in two weeks. Fields followed up with a casual 30-yard TD pass to Binjimen Victor on 3rd-and-20, as the Scarlet and Gray switched into cruise control with a 42-5 lead.

The Redhawks just could not get out of the second quarter, as Young bullied his way into the backfield yet again for his second strip-sack of the evening.

Fields pulled a rabbit out of his hat to escape a sack on a 4th-and-3 conversion, and on the next play found Olave in the end zone yet again in what very quickly became a 49-5 route of Miami in Columbus. Begging for things to finally come to an end, the away team decided to cut their losses and take a knee to mercifully take it to half.

With the lead securely in hand, both teams emptied their benches to start the second half. Ohio State made the first big play of the half on a 52-yard punt return by freshman receiver Garrett Wilson, but a fumble by Master Teague kept the Bucks off the board early in the third quarter. Wilson got another opportunity on the ensuing drive, and he made the most of it as he went up and got a 50-50 ball thrown by backup QB Chris Chugunov, juggling the ball in the end zone and coming down with a touchdown to extend the lead to 56-5.

Chugunov looked very good in relief, completing six of his seven passes for 86 yards and two touchdowns. A seven-yard pass-and-catch from Chugunov to Marcus Crowley had the Scarlet and Gray boys up 63-5 — the 12th different Buckeye to catch a pass in the game — as the route continued even with the twos and even some threes on the field.

Gunner Hoak came on in the 4th as the third OSU quarterback of the day. His second pass of the day went a casual 61 yards, as freshman wideout Jameson Williams took one to the house with Parris Campbell-esq burners to give the Buckeyes a whopping 70 points. Williams was the third true freshman to score for Ohio State in the game, but it was Steele Chambers who would put the finishing touches on this one with a late touchdown run — ending the game at 76-5, good guys.

The Buckeyes will be back on the field on Saturday, Sept. 28 in Lincoln, Neb. as they take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on ABC.