Ohio State set for B1G play
COLUMBUS — Coming off his team’s victory against Florida Atlantic, Ohio State head coach Ryan Day wanted to see a cleaner, crisper performance against in-state foe Cincinnati.
He got it.
The improved effort came in all phases and resulted in a 42-0 whitewashing of the Bearcats before another capacity crowd at Ohio Stadium.
“We talked about doing a great job coming out of halftime,” Day said following the game that pushed Ohio State, now sixth in the AP poll, to 2-0. “That was something we were emphasizing really all week because we didn’t leave a great taste coming off the field last week. I thought we sustained it and finished it the right way this week.”
After failing to crack the 100-yard plateau in Week 1, junior J.K. Dobbins finally got on track, racking up 141 yards and two TDs, sparking a Buckeyes’ offense that finished with 508 total yards.
Day said the offensive line, which he also praised, had a lot to do with allowing Dobbins to spring free.
“When he got to the second level he was rolling and I thought it was great getting J.K. going and the O-line did an unbelievable job. Tribute to (assistant coaches) Kevin Wilson and (Greg Studrawa) and all the guys who worked on that this week.”
Quarterback Justin Fields also seemed to find his comfort zone. Although his 224 yards passing weren’t eye-popping, he did complete an efficient 20 of 25 passes and didn’t throw a pick, more evidence the Georgia transfer continues to become more in command of the offense.
“I think we can be as good as we want to be,” he said after the game. “If everybody stays focused, we limit the injuries on the team, I think we can do big things this year.”
Again like Week 1, Ohio State started strong, scoring 28 first-half points. Against Cincinnati, however, the defense rose to the fore, keeping the pressure on the Bearcats, finishing by allowing 273 total yards and forcing one turnover. Damon Arnette led the team with six tackles, with Jordan Fuller, Baron Browning, Malik Harrison and Pete Werner all collecting five.
“It’s another step in the journey,” Day said regarding the unit. “It’s what we see in practice every day. Going up against them in spring and during preseason, I knew they were going to be tough, and they’re getting there.”
This week, that defense, day said, will get another stiff test against an Indiana squad that’s posted victories against Ball State and Eastern Illinois, a 52-0 shutout last week.
“After looking at the film of Indiana the first couple of days, their first couple of games, they have a good team,” Day said of the Hoosiers, Ohio State’s Big Ten opening opponent and team its defeated 23 straight times dating back to 1990.
“We know going on the road, first conference game in the Big Ten, every time we play at Indiana, it’s a tough game. Those guys always come ready to play. So, we have our hands full early on.”