J.T. Barrett and the Ohio State passing game take a lot of gruff, but there are days when the seas are calm and the passage is smooth. Or perhaps it’s because the opponent is about as hard-edged as a Wayne Newton show. Danke schoen, say the Buckeyes. Leaves are awarded on a zero-to-five basis.
It’s not as if Dan Fouts tuned in and said, “Yeah, that’s the offense we ran,” but the Buckeyes had more than enough might for UNLV, especially in a candy-grabbing first half. Everybody without sore hammies got a piece of pie in a 661-yard performance marred only by three turnovers.
Allowing 21 points certainly doesn’t constitute a shutout, so maybe some things are best unsaid. Otherwise, those dogs will hunt, and they sure can be disruptive, as 13 tackles for loss attest. The Mona Lisa mustache is courtesy of the touchy-feely secondary, which still hasn’t learned to turn toward the ball.
Special teams (4)
It’s true that Blake Haubeil’s second kickoff sailed out of bounds left, but he took a mulligan and pounded balls deep and tight to the sideline thereafter. Parris Campbell had a thrill-ride 82-yard return of a free kick, and punter Drew Chrisman is making 15 the new normal.
Ohio State never was going to lose a game like this based on talent level, and the staff made sure the Buckeyes came out swaggering at the start. Penalties and turnovers will remain a point of emphasis in film study, and rightly so. For a week, anyway, concerns about the offense are whispers.
For 3 1/2 hours, Ohio Stadium set a Guinness record for being the world’s largest human griddle, such was the frying-pan effect the inescapable sun had on the crowd — and some of the alumni bandies. Get yer $4 water here! They came, they watched, they cheered, they sweated, they left early.
Having Vegas come to you is a far different experience than going to Vegas, but the Rebels got what they came for: They were not totally embarrassed and they left with a check that will pay some bills. QB Armani Rogers has legitimate star power, but that mob on defense needs witness protection.
It was too hot to complain, for the most part, but it was interesting to hear the crowd react to the defensive holding and interference calls on OSU. As the penalties piled up, the hoots turned into indifference into something bordering on general agreement.