The remedy. A slump-buster. Just what the doctor ordered. Call it what you want, but Kent State came into Ohio Stadium as the sacrificial offering to appease the masses worshipping at the altar of Ohio State Football. Only a massacre would quell the murmurings. And a 66-0 domination should suffice. For now.
If there was any hope of getting back into the graces of the playoff selection crew, if there was any hope of redeeming a lackluster performance in front of a national audience, Ohio State had to go out and decisively handle business. They would probably need to score two or three touchdowns in the first quarter, and have an insurmountable lead by halftime. The starters shouldn’t be needed after the first series of the third quarter. Lots of younger kids should probably see the field early and often.
These are the strictures the law demands. These were all met.
Of course, it was against Kent State. So what does that mean? Does the team that will take the field the rest of the season look like the team that struggled with new defensive looks and top-notch defensive coaching, or will it be the team that depends on its superior talent and athleticism that simply overwhelms its over-matched opponents? (It will field superior teams in just about every game moving forward, with the exception of Michigan State).
Time will tell.
The first half gives us a pretty good read on how this team could move forward. This much was clear: given time, JT Barrett can find open receivers and he will have people he could get the ball to. He has a couple receivers that look to be reliable. There are two running backs that are talented and fast enough to chew up yards and grind and fly with the best of them.
Michael Thomas is clearly becoming a favorite target of Barrett. I always amused myself with the following thought: Thomas’ Twitter handle is “Cantguardmike” and I thought, “how appropriate. You’re right, no one can guard you, Mike, because you’re on the sideline.” No one can guard you. (I kill me) But now he is coming in to his own and Thomas has been putting those great spring efforts into some serious real fall football. This is promising to see.
The running backs are Ezekiel Elliot and Curtis Samuel and we probably won’t see much Bri’onte Dunn or Warren Ball moving forward. Rod Smith earned some PT for his blocking and effort, but Dunn and Ball did nothing to distinguish themselves and Urban basically said as much. It’s a shame for them, but they had their chances and Urban Meyer is going to start the players he feels are the best and give the team the best chance to win football games.
Raekwon McMillan appears to be the real deal. Everything I say about this game has to be viewed through the lens of “it’s just Kent State”. But it’s still an opportunity for underclassmen to learn to react, to recognize formations, personnel and situations. This experience will serve them down the road. So to see Raekwon making plays and being involved is very encouraging. Curtis Grant still has the seniority at the right to play, but I won’t be surprised to see Raekwon starting before we get to November.
The last thing I’d like to mention: a shut-out is a shut-out. Kent State or not, it’s really hard to keep any team out of the endzone. Kent State had fifteen possessions, a number of those against second third teamers.
Now the Buckeyes will get a break before taking on Cincinnati on the 27th.