Ohio State-Cincinnati | Ray Stein’s Bottom Line

Ray Stein
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State Buckeyes safety Brendon White (25) and Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker Baron Browning (5) bring down Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Ben Bryant (6) during the fourth quarter of a NCAA Division I football game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Cincinnati Bearcats on Saturday, September 7, 2019 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. [Joshua A. Bickel/Dispatch]

They do things differently in Cincinnati, where it’s baseball season 365 days a year and where the chili gets scooped over spaghetti and topped with cheddar (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Regarding college football, the Queen City’s team has some promise, at least until it is measured against the state’s kings of the sport. Leaves are awarded on a zero-to-five basis.

Offense (4)

Last week, the Buckeyes were as unfocused as a class of second graders: little angels one moment and flinging chalk-filled erasers the next. This week brought a maturity unexpected so early in the season, a 508-yard effort that showed the promise of fine youngsters such as Justin Fields and J.K. Dobbins. Pinch their cheeks!

Defense (5)

Luck is the residue of design, as the saying goes. So while it’s a fact that OSU was able to keep a clean sheet by getting two turnovers inside its 5-yard line, it’s also true that the Buckeyes’ aggression forced both mistakes. As a unit, this is an incredible turnaround from 2018. As for Chase Young, it’s beast mode that goes to 11.

Special teams (4)

The game turned when Young — he can do everything except pick-six — blocked Sam Crosa’s 32-yard field-goal try early in the second quarter, preserving OSU’s 7-0 lead. The Buckeyes then scored on three straight possessions. Drue Chrisman also got into the act with punts that made UC start drives from its 1- and 4-yard lines.

Coaching (4)

It’s doubtful Ryan Day expected his young charges to be so polished so fast, especially considering the potential hornet’s nests that Cincinnati allegedly packed for the ride up I-71. But pretty much every lever Day pulled Saturday came up three 7s — jackpot! The early fourth-and-1 failure was quickly forgotten.

Fun (3)

No hurricanes here, among other places, so central Ohio enjoyed an ideal weather afternoon. The football was satisfying, if mostly void of drama, but the home folks usually don’t gripe about such things. The warmest applause was reserved for OSU’s hall of fame class, including classy ex-coaches Thad Matta and Jim Foster.

Opponent (2)

It was just one of those days for the Bearcats, who stubbed their toe getting out of bed, mistakenly grabbed a tube of Brylcreem instead of minty Colgate, then discovered they had only decaffeinated coffee. The bad thing for UC is that it was its last shot at a Power Five team, and it whiffed. Batter up, if y’all want a bowl bid.

Officiating (3)

Buckeyes fans didn’t have much to carp about, considering Ohio State was flagged for only two penalties — although, it should be said, Tommy Togiai didn’t exactly get his money’s worth with that roughing call. Some OSU tweeters didn’t like some of the spots on Fields’ slides, but they should bone up on the rule.

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