Ohio State marched in front of a raucous crowd at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on Saturday night and made it seem like a cakewalk.
The third-ranked Buckeyes dominated No. 14 Oklahoma in all facets of the game, and by the time the dust had settled, they came out with a convincing 45-24 victory. All night, the Buckeyes picked up chunks of yards on the ground at will, finishing with 291 yards at a 6.1-yard average. Meanwhile, that rushing success set up the passing game for J.T. Barrett, who threw four touchdown passes to Noah Brown while adding 72 yards of his own on the ground.
On the other side, the Buckeyes swarmed Baker Mayfield and the Sooners’ offense, forcing two interceptions and two second-half fourth-down stops to halt any chance of an OU comeback.
Ohio State set a tone on both sides of the ball early. A 36-yard touchdown run from the shifty Curtis Samuel opened the scoring, and the defense doubled that up with a score of its own when Jerome Baker returned a tipped ball 68 yards for a score.
The Sooners did their best to keep pace, but by the time the first half ended, OSU had a commanding 35-17 lead, thanks to three connections between Barrett and Brown. Brown’s third touchdown catch was one for the ages. Barrett looked toward him in the back corner of the end zone and Brown pinned the ball against an Oklahoma defender for a crazy touchdown.
Brown found the end zone for a fourth time early in the third quarter to make it 42-17, and aside from a second TD pass from Mayfield, who was largely kept in check on the evening, the defense pretty much took care of things from there to seal the win.
Entering the season, Ohio State was overlooked a bit because of its youth. When a team loses so much talent to the NFL, that is understandable. It took just three weeks to quell any concerns. This team may be young, but it is extremely talented and should be looked at as the favorite in the Big Ten — even with Michigan and Michigan State in the same division.
It’s only Week 3, but this was a statement from the Buckeyes, who enter Big Ten play at home in a few weeks (following a bye) against Rutgers. It’s hard not to look ahead with this team and its schedule. A trip to Wisconsin (which looks very overrated despite its win over LSU) will present a challenge, but the real tests don’t come until the last two weeks of the regular season: at Michigan State on Nov. 19 and a home game with Michigan on Nov. 26.
There’s no reason to think the Buckeyes shouldn’t be undefeated when those games roll around.
On the other side, Oklahoma drops to a disappointing 1-2. After last year’s College Football Playoff appearance, the Sooners are already a longshot to return to that stage three weeks in. OSU and Houston are marquee opponents, but it’s tough to envision any two-loss team cracking the Top 4. Nonetheless, the Sooners’ Big 12 goals are still in front of them as they enter conference play in two weeks at TCU.
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