'Rally' results in resounding rout

Bill Rabinowitz
J.K. Dobbins (2) breaks free for a 26-yard touchdown run that dug Ohio State out of the 5-0 deficit it faced midway through the first quarter. [Maddie Schroeder/Dispatch]

A 71-point victory actually had a little adversity.

Not much, obviously, and not what Ohio State will face from now on. But it was something, which is more than the Buckeyes had faced.

Ohio State steamrolled Miami University 76-5 on Saturday in a game that was mercifully ended by mutual consent with 2:40 left after lightning was spotted near Ohio Stadium.

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But before the sixth-ranked and undefeated Buckeyes proceeded on their expected thrashing of Miami, the RedHawks took a 5-0 lead midway through the first quarter. It was the first time in four games that Ohio State trailed.

Miami (1-3) scored on a safety when after a downed punt at the Ohio State 2-yard line, linebacker Myles Reid got around running back J.K. Dobbins and swatted the ball out of quarterback Justin Fields’ hand and through the end zone for a safety.

On the ensuing Miami possession, the RedHawks drove to the Buckeyes’ 3 before the drive stalled. Coach Chuck Martin elected to kick the field goal for a 5-0 lead with 7:25 left in the first quarter.

“Coach always tells us that we’re eventually going to get punched in the face, so it’s about how we responded,” Fields said. “I think we responded in a great way.”

It’d be hard to argue otherwise. The Buckeyes scored 42 points in the second quarter alone, the most for Ohio State in a quarter since at least 1960.

Fields threw for four touchdowns and ran for two more as he continued the impressive start to his Buckeyes career. OSU’s revitalized defense had a stretch in which it allowed one first down in 11 Miami possessions. Defensive end Chase Young had two strip sacks for turnovers that the Buckeyes converted into touchdowns late in the second quarter.

After one quarter, Miami, a 39-point underdog, outgained Ohio State 113-70. The rest of the game, the Buckeyes outgained the RedHawks 531-17.

“We talked all week about, we have momentum and we have to keep momentum,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. “And how do you do that? You have a standard. We have a standard of how we play. That doesn’t matter who we’re playing.”

The touchdowns came quickly. Dobbins gave Ohio State the lead with five minutes left in the first quarter with a shifty 26-yard touchdown run.

Fields found K.J. Hill for a 53-yard touchdown to open the second-quarter onslaught. He then ran for his two scores on 7- and 6-yard runs and threw to Chris Olave twice for touchdowns and unleashed a 30-yard dart to Binjimen Victor in the back of the end zone.

Ahead 49-7 at halftime, Day rested Fields and most of his starters for all of the second half as reserves padded the lead. Fields finished 14-of-21 for 223 yards. He has not thrown an interception this season.

Chris Chugunov had his first two touchdown passes as a Buckeye, one on an acrobatic, juggling catch by freshman Garrett Wilson. Gunnar Hoak had his first.

Freshmen Marcus Crowley, Jameson Williams and Steele Chambers all had their first touchdowns as  Buckeyes.

Heavy rain opened up late in the fourth quarter. By the time lightning caused a delay, almost all of the announced crowd of 103,190 had long departed. Both coaches quickly agreed to end the game.

Martin clearly had seen enough of the Buckeyes.

“They run by everybody,” he said. “Not only are their running backs and receivers fast, but it’s also their linebackers, linemen, everybody. People compare them to Iowa — Iowa’s a great physical football team, too — but for me the difference is overwhelming how quick they are.

“It just looked like the tape. There were countless times where a guy was only a couple yards away from them, but even that’s too far away. Live, it’s pretty awesome. Not fun to go against, but awesome to see. It’s not like you can stop one kid.”

In the Buckeyes’ locker room, thoughts had already moved on to next week when they travel to play Nebraska.

Ohio State has outscored opponents 214-36. But even Day doesn’t really know just how good his team is.

“I think maybe midway through the season we’ll have a better idea,” he said. “I do think we’re playing with a lot of passion and playing hard and tough. It’s clear to see. But we go on the road next week. That’s a big test. I think I’ll have a better idea next week.”


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