When your team wins a game 63-10, you try and have some fun summing up what you saw on the field in the victory. At first, I was thinking of writing about Big Red, and while that giant red creature is glorious, I didn’t think I could tie in enough about the game with the furry mascot. So I started to look at the notable people who went to Western Kentucky.
As I scrolled through the list, there it was: Tyler Childers did attend Western Kentucky. Now I’m not going to sit here and try and pretend he graduated from the university, as he only studied for a semester in Bowling Green. Even that short amount of time is good enough for me to use some of his works to describe what we saw on Saturday afternoon in Columbus.
I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge country music fan. For a long time, really the only country music I listened to was by Garth Brooks. If you made me listen to Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, or some of the other country singers along those lines I’d want to punch you in the face. Then I heard some of Childers’ music, along with Sturgill Simpson and Colter Wall, and I realized there was a segment of country music I could stomach. Real country music with a mix of outlaw and bluegrass.
So to put a bow on the blowout win over the Hilltoppers, here are a few song titles from Childers’ albums that I think tie in well with the performance of the Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium on Saturday.
“Space and Time”
This title is from Childers’ recently released album, Rustlin’ in the Rain. Ohio State’s offensive line had a performance they can build on yesterday. The big uglies not only gave Kyle McCord time, but they also opened up holes for the Buckeye running backs to hit. The result was over 560 yards of offense in the win. By far this was the best offensive performance of the year for the Buckeyes, giving them some much-needed confidence heading into South Bend on Saturday night.
Not that Western Kentucky is going to be mistaken for some defensive juggernaut, but coaches have to be thrilled when their quarterbacks are kept pretty clean for most of the game. The Hilltoppers were only able to muster one sack and two tackles for loss. Obviously, things are going to be a lot tougher against what Notre Dame will throw at them this week, but the line can at least feel good about themselves for a bit after some spotty play to start the year.
The track from Can I Take My Hounds To Heaven? perfectly describes the feeling of watching Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka operate on the field. For the second straight week, Harrison notched a touchdown that went at least 70 yards. Last week Harrison took a pass 71 yards to the house early against Youngstown State, and he topped that career-high yesterday when he scored a 75-yard touchdown in the middle of the second quarter to help the Buckeyes respond after Western Kentucky closed the deficit to 14-10. Harrison finished the game with five grabs for 126 yards and a score. With his output on Saturday, Harrison now has eclipsed 100 career catches in his Buckeye career.
Later on in the second quarter, Egbuka left his mark on the game, scoring two touchdowns in the final two minutes of the half. The first score came from 15 yards out, and he followed it up with a 14-yard score with eight seconds left on the clock. Even though Egbuka hasn’t topped 100 yards in a game this season, he is the perfect compliment to Harrison on the field. While so much attention will be paid to Harrison in South Bend, it could shape up to be a real breakout game for Egbuka under the lights on a national stage.
“Nose on the Grindstone”
From the OurVinyl Sessions, this perfectly describes what we saw from the Ohio State running backs against Western Kentucky. The Buckeyes toted the rock 33 times for 204 yards on the ground, averaging 6.2 yards per carry. There were a couple of lengthy runs, most notably Chip Trayanum’s 40-yard touchdown scamper, but for the most part, it was hard running from a number of Buckeye backs.
TreVeyon Henderson tightened his grip on the starting running back role, putting together his best game of the young season, leading Ohio State with 88 yards on 13 carries, finding the end zone on two of those carries. We even got to see Evan Pryor for the first time since the 2021 season, as Pryor got three carries. The backs will face a tough challenge trying to find running room against Notre Dame, but they are certainly trending in the right direction.
“We’ve Had Our Fun”
I would imagine the title of the track from Bottles and Bibles is what the Ohio State defense was saying to each other after the game. In full disclosure, I thought the defense might struggle a little against a high-octane passing attack after two games of boring offense from Indiana and Youngstown State. It’s not the first time I’ve been wrong, and it certainly won’t be the last.
Two sacks, four turnovers, eight tackles for loss, and two defensive touchdowns. It’s hard to play much better than that. We got Tyleik Williams falling on a fumbled football in the end zone for a LARGE MAN TOUCHDOWN. Denzel Burke and Josh Proctor made numerous plays to break up passes, Tommy Eichenberg registered 10 tackles. The Buckeyes held the top passer in the FBS last year to just 207 yards passing, with Austin Reed doing pretty much nothing throwing the football after the midway point of the second quarter.
The title track from Childers’ 2017 feels like it perfectly encapsulates what the defensive line is in right now. There were a few good plays from the d-line, yet they should be playing a lot better. While efforts like we saw Saturday might fly against the Western Kentuckys of the college football world, it certainly won’t against Notre Dame. The Buckeyes only recorded two sacks, with one of those coming late in the game from linebacker Mitchell Melton.
The play of the defensive line has to be better against Notre Dame since if it’s not Fighting Irish quarterback Sam Hartman will pick the defense apart if he has time to throw. Saturday night’s game is one where we’ll need another performance from J.T. Tuimoloau like we saw last year against Penn State. If Ohio State's defensive line can’t create some noise in one of the biggest games of the season, they might not be quite the title contender we thought they were.