The 129th season of Ohio State football kicked off with what felt like a return to normalcy, if a game missing the suspended head coach can be considered normal. But all the trimmings were there — the band, fannies in Horseshoe seats, the familiar sight of the Buckeyes dropping the hammer on an overmatched opponent. Leaves are awarded on a zero-to-five basis. — Ray Stein
>> Read more: Ohio State defeats Oregon State, 77-31 in season opener
>>Watch: Ohio State Marching Band halftime show
The final numbers suggest just what it was — Ohio State was a city bus speeding downhill, and the Beavers were fruit flies trying to stop it. Eleven touchdowns (one by defense), 721 yards of offense, 35 first downs, you get the picture. Dwayne Haskins Jr. led the orchestra, and Mike Weber got to clang the cymbals.
What to make of the sight of eager Beavers running free into and through the Ohio State secondary at various times? On the one hand, Ohio State had built a sizable cushion by that point, thanks in large part to the dominant work by Kid Bosa and the snarling front four. On the other hand, Oregon State.
Special teams (3)
It’s one game, but it looks like the kickoff has been flung to the trash heap of history alongside rotary phones and MySpace. Maybe that’s good for reducing injuries, but it’s not going to help OSU win field-position battles. The Buckeyes won one with a 65-yard punt, a gold star canceled by C.J. Saunders’ muffed punt.
The first installment of the Ryan Day trilogy went pretty much according to plan. But you know how those things are: The suspense doesn’t kick in until the final episode. One noticeable improvement was the offensive pace; the Buckeyes wore track shoes in the first half, the Beavers hiking boots.
Besides the return of actual football — not to be discounted after this summer of indignity — there wasn’t much to recommend about an afternoon in Ohio Stadium in which a sweaty humidity transformed into a drenching rain. This result was cemented on signing day — any year you choose will do.
Nothing wrong with Oregon State’s offensive plan — misdirection plays and screen passes aimed at negating the Ohio State bull rush. But the Beavers’ ability to build a defensive wall could use a lot of dam work. They barely entered Haskins’ ZIP code, let alone getting close enough to sack him. Smells like another long year.
In a three-play stretch in the first quarter, Ohio State defensive end Chase Young was twice flagged for being offside, although both penalties were negated by pass-interference calls on Buckeyes cornerback Jeffrey Okudah. Nothing wrong with any of the four calls. Just pointing out the coincidence.