Ohio State-Florida Atlantic | Scarlet & Gray Matter: Observations from the game

Ray Stein
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State coach Ryan Day makes himself heard during the Buckeyes' 45-21 win over Florida Atlantic in the season opener. [Adam Cairns/Dispatch]

Ray Stein’s observations about Saturday's game:

The game at hand

Short-attention-span synopsis: Fast out of the starting blocks, slow to the finish line. Justin Fields makes a great first impression. This isn’t last year’s defense (well, actually, maybe it is). All in a Day’s work. Are you ready for some Fickell?

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Pregame buzz: Urban Meyer and Dwayne Haskins Jr. are gone, one sitting in a television studio on Saturdays and the other holding a clipboard, for now, on Sundays. Next men up, as they say around here: Ryan Day and Justin Fields, Buckeye Nation turns its lonely eyes to you. Woo woo woo. How would Day handle being the boss of his program for the first time? And how would Fields fare in his first start at quarterback since high school? The answers were definitive, though hardly sustaining.

The $60 question: Those looking for bargain-basement prices for Ohio State football will do no better this season than the three Andrew Jacksons it cost to enter the Horseshoe on Saturday — not counting parking and snacks and pure-as-driven-snow bottled water, of course. Pity the late arrivals, who had to catch the Buckeyes’ four, decisive quick-strike touchdowns on the highlight shows.

Spread the wealth? For a while, it looked like the Buckeyes would obliterate the very nature of a point spread and take aim at the margin of their last game against a team from the Sunshine State — 76-0 against Florida A&M in 2013. Even Dave Yost, Ohio’s attorney general, apparently was counting his money, based on this tweet: “First quarter, 28-0. #Buckeyes have already beat the spread.” (Aside: Is gambling legal in Ohio, bruh?) Anyway, that OSU domination machine turned out to be an Edsel, leaving one man alone in his genius: Carrot Top. Yes, Mr. Top (FAU, 1989) correctly predicted the 45-21 final score in Saturday’s Dispatch. Bow the hell down.

The View

• How the team sees it: Man, that was a great way to start. Um, by that I mean, Coach, that it was a great way to start a game. Certainly not a great way to start a season. Not even close. No sir.

>>PHOTOS: Ohio State 41, Florida Atlantic 21

>>VIDEO: Ryan Day enters Ohio Stadium in season opener

>>VIDEO: Ohio State Halftime Show In 60 Seconds

How the pollsters will see it: Considering that most of us only pay attention to the final score and highlights — all good!

How Buckeye Nation sees it: 12:30 p.m.: See you in New Orleans! This whole season is going to be the Big Easy! 2:30 p.m.: Mark my words, Cincinnati is going to come in here and beat these bums.

Hey, what did Day say?

What he said: “A lot of times, the defense we were seeing was different than what we see in practice. It was a three-down front and they were dropping eight some, so the windows weren’t as clean.”

What it means: “Every married man should know that a house isn’t clean until the windows are spotless. Ours are not.”

They said it

Your turn/the channel: Saturday marked the proverbial first day of school for Big Game Gus Johnson, the Fox play-by-play announcer who probably was spiffily dressed for class by 5:30 in the morning. Gus loves him some college football, and most fans seem to love him for it, so it was something of a killjoy when OSU’s balloons deflated after a firecracker start. Johnson and his ace partner, Joel Klatt, correctly flagged the Buckeyes for a lack of urgency as the action flagged in the middle quarters.

Numbers for dummies

15.4: Average yards per play on Ohio State’s first 13 snaps against Florida Atlantic, resulting in four touchdowns

2.5: Average yards per play on OSU’s next 31 snaps, resulting in zero points and two turnovers.

388.3: Justin Fields’ quarterback rating after four possessions (5 for 6, 100 yards, three TDs)

1.4: Dollars, in millions, Florida Atlantic received for playing at Ohio State, its only regular-season game against a team from a Power Five conference

1: Dollars, in millions, the Owls will receive for playing at Illinois next season (less money, but the plane ride home may be more fun)

On tap

Most Ohio State fans know this fact by rote: OSU hasn’t lost to another Ohio team since 1921, when Oberlin pulled out a 7-6 victory at Ohio Field. But it’s not likely the Buckeyes have faced a tougher in-state nut to crack in the past 98 years than Cincinnati, which visits at noon on Saturday. The Bearcats are coming off an 11-win season and you can bet your bottom dollar that coach Luke Fickell will have them well-aware of their underdog status. Could be fun, yo.


Best responses to the game on Twitter:

@Brutus_and_BBQ: I’ve never seen someone walk into the end zone as fast as Justin Fields

@MattTwombly1: 11:05 left in the first quarter and the entire FAU team just entered the transfer portal

@jleegill: Good thing wifi is revamped in the shoe, fans might be able to stream a football game to watch

@WillieWanKenobi: Just think … if @TheTateMartell would have stayed at Ohio State he would probably be playing a whole half today!

@JonnyThunder24: What the hell am I watching right now? This is trash

@HeyMisterDJ_ATL: Sorry neighbors. Yelling at the TV season has started

@ChadDBaus: Everyone complaining about the Buckeyes seem to have one thing in common — they bet on the spread.

Horseshoe haiku

Buckeyes start game 1

like Usain Bolt, resemble

Dick Van Dyke at end

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