Ohio State-Tulane | Ray Stein’s Bottom Line

Staff Writer
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State running back Master Teague carries the ball in the fourth quarter against Tulane. [Brooke LaValley/Dispatch]

The beauty of college football is how it can be wildly entertaining and unpredictable. And then there are mismatches like Ohio State hosting Tulane, which had such a Haves vs. Have-Nots feel that it would not have been surprising if Sarah McLachlan had shown up with a commercial seeking mercy. Leaves are awarded on a zero-to-five basis. — Ray Stein

Offense (4)

The Buckeyes dialed up a full-out aerial assault in the first half and Tulane all but scattered for the bomb shelter. Dwayne Haskins completed 21 of 24 passes for 304 yards and five touchdowns, earning him a second-half furlough. The running game never got going, and neither did the second unit, but neither really needed to.

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Defense (4)

Nick Bosa’s absence never was going to be a factor against the Green Wave, but Ohio State’s other Rushmen made it a moot point. The Buckeyes totaled 14 tackles for loss among Tulane’s 58 snaps, a staggering percentage, which more than made up for the handful of big plays that bubbled up but didn’t bite.

Special teams (3)

Fair catches have sent most of the specialists into the witness-protection program this season, but the notable gold stars included a nice punt return by K.J. Hill and a Drue Chrisman punt downed at the 2. Sean Nuernberger went 7 of 7 on PATs, though he got no bonus points for two makes pushed back by holding calls.

Coaching (4)

On the field OSU put the statement in Urban Meyer’s reinstatement, and in the postgame locker room Meyer cleverly turned over the game ball to Ryan Day, who guided the HMS Buckeye to three wins in his stead. Ohio State has hills to climb, starting this week, and penalties to clean up. But the Buckeyes have the look.

Fun (3)

For once, it didn’t rain in Ohio Stadium, a first for 2018. The dotting of the I by a centenarian probably was the day’s highlight, which doesn’t say a lot about the theatrical quality of the football production. The Buckeyes took care of business, for sure, but it would have been nice if Tulane had packed some Mardi Gras beads.

Opponent (1)

Tulane calls itself the Green Wave but its play suggests Lazy Rivers might be a more appropriate nickname. The funky option offense may work for disciplined academy teams, but discipline is just another letter beginning with D that is foreign to the Green Wave — defense and depth being some others.

Officiating (2)

Few things bring a crisp football game to a rush-hour freeway crawl like a parade of penalty flags, and this was never a crisp game. Still, Jeff Servinski’s crew tossed laundry around like they were getting a bonus from the Americans for Yellow Cloth lobby. Keep your hats on, boys.

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