Ray Stein’s observations about Saturday's game:
The game at hand
• Short-attention-span synopsis: The hot weather finally broke, but the Buckeyes didn’t bend. Hey, get a load of the new guy; I guess he does work Saturdays. If Haskins throws footballs like that, can he lose at darts? Green Wave buh-bye.
• Pregame buzz: The return of Urban Meyer to the Ohio State sideline raised all sorts of questions: Would he let Ryan Day keep the keys to the purring offense? Is there juice in being a game manager? Who do the Buckeyes play, anyway?
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• The $67 question: It doesn’t get any cheaper than this in Ohio Stadium this year, so it was no surprise that 103,000-plus football-crazed folks showed up to watch the Buckeyes play a founding member of the Southeastern Conference (you could look it up). Most left satisfied after seeing the home team crush a Tulane program whose Green Wave helmet looks like a rejected Scrubbing Bubble.
• One-liner: When Tulane signed the contract that would pay it $1.5 million for the right to get pushed around by Ohio State, did it also sign a noncompete clause?
• The odds have it: That cheer you thought you heard with 61 seconds remaining was from bettors all over the country who gave Tulane and the 37 points, watched Ohio State roll to a 36-point halftime lead and get stuck there until Tate Martell strutted in from a yard out to push the margin to 43.
• This week in vanity plates: CANT MSS (Dwayne Haskins Jr.)
• How the team sees it: So happy to have our coach back. Even happier that Tulane was the soft landing in between two hard-spot games.
• How the pollsters will see it: You’re ranked right about where you should be, but we see opportunity for a bump on the yonder side of Mount Nittany.
• How Buckeye Nation sees it: This was as predictable as a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors between Mount Rushmore and Edward Scissorhands.
• What he said: “It’s a much different game today than it will be next week. Today was wishbone football.”
• What it means: “We’re going to have to carve some serious turkey against Penn State if we want the bigger piece of the wishbone.”
They said it
• Your turn/the channel: With a noncompetitive game on their hands — the evidence is rather overwhelming, your honor — the Big Ten Network crew of Kevin Kugler and Matt Millen did what professional talking heads do in such situations. They climbed the Tower of Babble. Oh, the hot air, including a monologue about what an official tosses next after he’s launched his flag and his hat. Hmm, his lunch? Later, Millen let his remaining viewers know that “there is a disparity of talent” between the two teams. Thanks, Columbo.
Numbers for dummies
16-1: Touchdown-to-interception ratio for OSU quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr.
5-3: Touchdown-to-incompletion ratio for Haskins again Tulane
328.7: Haskins’ passer rating at one point in the first quarter; it dropped to 298.4 after he completed two passes that did not go for touchdowns
6: Possessions for Ohio State in the first half (also, touchdowns; also, points per touchdown)
425: Offensive yards for OSU in the first half, the second time this season it has topped 400 in a half (407, Oregon State)
100: Age of Anthony Violi, a Steubenville resident who played trumpet with the Ohio State Marching band from 1937 to ’42. He "dotted the i" on Saturday as part of the alumni band festivities.
Now it gets real, yo. The on-paper game of the year in the Big Ten arrives before October, which may not provide much of an endorsement for the conference’s fortunes but makes for must-see relevance for one week, anyway. The Nittany Lions are not the complete unit they’ve been the past two seasons — the defense is suspect, for one thing. But the Buckeyes won’t feel away-from-home hostility anywhere else this season. This rivalry is real.
Best responses to The Dispatch crew on Twitter:
@jleegill: Half a million dollar bonus you'd think Coach Day would join the dollar shave club.
@R_A_Lash: Say what you want about Tulane but I think it’s admirable that they let a second grader design their helmet logo
@johnnybunn: Let #Michigan go to Paris all they want. We'll keep going to Parris.
@greghaslife: Urban returns and so do the penalties
@laxreftom: Tulane was not a cupcake. A beignet maybe, but not a cupcake.
@JonBauer7576: QB Haskins outplayed only by 100-year-old i-Dotter #TonyVioli today.
@jayhoster: How to make (Parris) Campbell soup: pour in a mess of Green Wave defense
The Buckeyes' engine
Is fully tuned, but can they
Scale Mount Nittany?