Ray Stein’s observations about Saturday's game:

The game at hand

• Short-attention-span synopsis: Complete-game shutouts are not just a thing of the past in baseball. Dawg gone, but that new quarterback is good. No complaints to be heard in Ohio Stadium about Fickell’s defense this time. Darth Buckeye to UC coach: Luke, I am your father.

• Pregame buzz: Would Cincinnati become the first team from Ohio to beat Ohio State in 98 years? Would former OSU standout Luke Fickell, now coaching the Bearcats, have his players chewing steel and spitting nails? For the answers to these questions and more, tune in to the Fantasy Channel at 3:30 a.m. for a replay. Don’t blink.

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• The $90 question: The stakes were higher for the second act in Ohio Stadium’s seven-show season, and with reason. Coming off an 11-win season, UC was supposed to be among the highlight games — an in-state opponent with an actual chance to land a punch on OSU’s Power Five chin. Glancing blows, as it turns out. The Buckeyes cuffed their little brothers and sent them back down the freeway with cheese sticks and juice boxes. The home fans, however, welcomed a stress-free Saturday.

• Spread the wealth? Goodness, what a sucker bet this looked to be — the young Buckeyes favored by 15 1/2 points against a strong defensive team that a week ago shut down UCLA and coach Chip Kelly’s offense for the second consecutive year. Gimme, gimme, gimme. Gulp. Unlike a week ago against Florida Atlantic, OSU stomped the gas pedal once it got the lead.

• This week in vanity plates: UC STARS

The View

• How the team sees it: If we don’t get to go to Dairy Queen after this performance, then when?

• How the pollsters will see it: Keep this up and we’ll have to start giving you the respect we usually reserve for SEC teams.

• How Buckeye Nation sees it: Sorry about the lopsided score, Lukey, but that was almost the perfect day. If only Army had done its job …

Hey, what did Day say?

• What he said: “I think today was another step … in the journey. It was the right step — where we want to be.”

• What it means: “Sometimes you take left steps. Sometimes you take the wrong step. Sometimes you just step in it — and nobody wants to see that.”

They said it

• Your turn/the channel: The flavor of the week was vanilla on ABC, which sent its jumbo-consonants announcing team of Bob Wischusen and Dan Orlovsky — two names that you cannot say three times fast — for the telecast. As one tweety bird wondered: What did we do to deserve this? Without a compelling game, the announcers let their mouths wander to Antonio Clown and other topics. ABC did get plaudits, however, for deciding not to show replays of UC safety Kyriq McDonald collapsing and convulsing on a second-quarter running play. Good call, that, and all the best to the young man.

Numbers for dummies

43: Consecutive victories by Ohio State over in-state opponents, dating to a 7-7 tie against Wooster in 1924

21: Years spent at OSU by Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell, five as a defensive lineman and 16 as an assistant or head coach

218: Yards allowed by Cincinnati in last week’s 24-14 win over UCLA

356: Yards Ohio State gained in the first half Saturday

5.4: Average yards per carry for UC running back Michael Warren II in a 1,329-yard season in 2018

1.5: Warren’s per-carry average on Saturday vs. the Buckeyes

On tap

The Big Ten season kicks off for Ohio State with an opponent that historically rolls out the Welcome mat for the Buckeyes. Capital W there, yes, alert reader, because it has been a Long time since OSU lost to Indiana. In fact, the Last time Indiana beat the Buckeyes was 1988, the second of back-to-back dark days that eclipsed the end of the Bruce era and christened the Cooper years. Since a 1990 tie, OSU has won 24 straight. But the Hoosiers have been a game bunch in recent years, especially in Bloomington.

Tweethearts

Best responses to the game on Twitter:

@FinEdChat: Love my #Buckeyes, but it’s zero fun rooting against Luke Fickell.

@RyanWile: Chase Young is a baaaad man.

@FindlayBuckeye: JK Dobbins … more like JK Gone. Amiright

@cprestonmartin: Winning, or even being competitive in big boy football, is a Fickle thing.

@brian_bjones: UC playing a lot like the Reds today.

@jleegill: Not going to lie, I’ve switched over to Fox to laugh at TTUN vs Army

@TheAngryChris: How did that #BeatOSU hashtag go today, UC?

@CavsPulse: LeBron Hater told me “You talk more about how much you hate #Michigan than you do about how much you love the #Buckeyes.” It is the most accurate assessment of my fandom. Go Army.

Horseshoe haiku

Supposed trap game

Ends up ensnaring Bearcats;

UC goes hungry

rstein@dispatch.com