Ho-hum: OSU delivers the dominance
COLUMBUS – In its 92 seasons, Ohio Stadium has seen many, many great games.
Obviously, Ohio State’s 76-0 win over Florida A&M on Saturday wasn’t one of them.
It was the football version of a backyard basketball game where the bigger, stronger older brother blocks every shot his younger brother takes and wins without surrendering a basket. But after it’s over the younger sibling gets ice cream, or in Florida A&M’s case, a $900,000 check for its bumps, bruises and humiliation.
No. 4 Ohio State (4-0) did anything it wanted to do against Florida A&M, which plays a division down from the Buckeyes as an FCS school.
Backup quarterback Kenny Guiton brought his September magic to the stadium again, throwing for a school-record six touchdowns when starter Braxton Miller did not dress for a second straight game.
Guiton broke the OSU record of five touchdowns passes by Bob Hoying and John Borton. Hoying did it twice – against Pittsburgh in 1995 and Purdue in 1994 – and Borton did it in 1952 against Washington State.
The Buckeyes’ 76 points were the most by an Ohio State team since an 83-21 win over Iowa in 1950.
Ohio State made the predictions that this game would be an epic mismatch come true in a hurry when it jumped out to a 34-0 lead after one quarter.
The Buckeyes’ first three scoring drives took one play, one play and two plays. They scored on 10 straight possessions from early in the first quarter until their only punt of the game in the opening minute of the fourth quarter.
When Ohio State coach Urban Meyer was asked what his team could take out of the game, he said, “We get to play in one of the biggest stadiums in college football and 103,000 people came out to watch us play. They have a right to see our kids play hard and they did.”
Guiton said OSU judged its performance by the standards it sets for itself, not how it did against an obviously out-manned opponent.
“It’s evaluating yourself. It’s not really who you’re playing against,” he said.
Center Corey Linsley had a hard time thinking of anything that didn’t go right for Ohio State.
“I’m not trying to be arrogant or anything. I missed a couple blocks but in the grand scheme of things, we did a really good job,” he said.
Even the one time something went wrong in a major way for OSU, it turned out all right.
On Ohio State’s first possession of the game, Guiton was intercepted in the end zone by Patrick Aiken, who inexplicably tried to return it, rather than taking a touchback. Three yards into the field, Jordan Hall stripped the ball from his hands and recovered it at A&M’s 3-yard line.
On the next play, Hall scored the first of Ohio State’s 11 touchdowns.
Guiton was 24 of 34 for 215 yards and six touchdowns – all in the first half. Evan Spencer caught two touchdown passes and Jeff Heuerman, Devin Smith, Chris Fields and Carlos Hyde caught one.
Ten receivers caught throws from Guiton, who has been OSU’s quarterback since Miller suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee early in the San Diego State game in week two of the season.
Hyde, the team’s No. 1 running back last season, returned from a three-game suspension with 5 carries for 41 yards, along with the touchdown catch on a one-yard shovel pass.
All 33 of Ohio State’s offensive plays in the second half were running plays. The chief beneficiary of that strategy was freshman running back Ezekiel Elliott, who rushed for 162 yards on 14 carries, all in the second half.
Elliott scored on a 16-yard run and a 13-yard run and broke loose for 57 yards on another carry.
How dominant was Ohio State? Florida A&M never advanced the ball farther than its 47-yard line. The Buckeyes had 603 yards total offense, the second straight week they got over 600 yards, and ran as many plays (80) as the Rattlers managed in total yardage.
Despite his team’s total inability to compete with Ohio State, Florida A&M coach Earl Holmes said the game was worth it for his team. And not just for the $900,000 check Ohio State cut for the school.
“It is always worth it,” Holmes said. “We have some guys on our team with aspirations of playing on Sundays and it is important for them to play in this type of atmosphere. It also makes us come together as a team because out of the 100,000 people in the stadium the only ones cheering for you are your teammates.”
The moments when A&M found something to cheer about on Saturday were few, if any, though.