By Jim Naveau
COLUMBUS – Everywhere Bowling Green looked during Ohio State’s 77-10 demolition of the Falcons on Saturday at Ohio Stadium, they saw playmakers in scarlet and gray.
They weren’t alone. Ohio State saw the same thing.
The Buckeyes, who struggled to find consistency on offense last year with a veteran team, produced one of the great offensive games statistically in Ohio State football history with eight first-time starters on offense.
Their 77 points were the most by an OSU team since an 83-21 win over Iowa in 1950. Their 776 yards of total offense broke an 86-year old school record.
Quarterback J.T. Barrett (21 of 31 for 349 yards) tied an Ohio State record with six touchdown passes.
Curtis Samuel caught nine passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 84 yards and another TD. Redshirt freshman tailback Mike Weber ran for 136 yards on 19 carries.
“We just have playmakers everywhere,” Ohio State center Pat Elflein said.
A pair of Miami County graduates got into the game for Bowling Green — Milton-Union High School graduate Nick Fields kicked off three times for 114 yards, and Bethel High School graduate and defensive lineman Gus Schwieterman played.
Bowling Green had one highlight and one touchdown, which both came early in the game on the same play.
It happened in the game’s first three minutes when linebacker Brandon Harris intercepted J.T. Barrett and returned it 63 yards to give the Falcons a 7-0 lead at 12:19 of the first quarter.
Other than that, almost everything went Ohio State’s way.
“It’s hard to take positives out of a butt whooping like that,” said Bowling Green coach Mike Jinks about his first game as a college head coach.
“All losses are hard to get over. I’m hoping that we’ve got this one out of the way. We made about every mistake you could possibly make so there’s only one way to go and that’s up,” he said.
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said putting a big number on the scoreboard was not his intent. He pulled his starters halfway through the third quarter. But the points just kept coming.
Earlier in the week, Meyer talked about “unleashing” Ohio State’s young talent. And that young talent, along with some veterans like Barrett and Samuel, looked like players who had waited a long time for their chance to take the stage.
There was lost time to make up for and maybe something to prove.
“Coming in, a lot of people didn’t know the people and the playmakers we had on our team. A lot of people thought we lost so many players that there was nobody left and we were just rebuilding. But that was never the case,” Samuel said.
“There were a lot of guys doing a lot of great things in practice last year but couldn’t play because the talent was so great at any position. Today we got to see what guys can do,” he said.
Meyer said time will tell if Ohio State’ offense, and its defense which held Bowling Green to 244 total yards, will operate so efficiently every week.
“It’s one game. Let’s chat in about four weeks and see how we’re doing. We have very good personnel. They played well. But let’s not put the cart before the horse and start anointing anyone. They played pretty good,” Meyer said.
Any BG dreams of an upset for the ages after taking its early lead were quickly quashed, though when on Ohio State’s next possession it took the Buckeyes only four plays to tie the game on a 47-yard touchdown pass from Barrett to K.J. Hill with 10:40 left in the first quarter.
Ohio State raised the lead to 14-7 on a 25-yard touchdown throw from Barrett to Dontre Wilson. Then the Buckeyes followed that up with a third Barrett touchdown pass in the first quarter on a 79-yard connection with Samuel.
Bowling Green cut the lead to 21-10 on a 32-yard field goal early in the second quarter, but after that it was all Ohio State all the time.
Barrett’s fourth touchdown pass, a 25-yarder to Noah Brown, put OSU up 28-10. Then Barrett rushed nine yards for another score in the final minute of the first half to make it 35-10.
Three more touchdowns in the third quarter – on a 21-yard pass from Barrett to Samuel, a 12-yard run by Samuel and an 11-yard pass from Barrett to Wilson – gave OSU a 56-10 lead and sent most of the starters to the sideline for the day with 22 minutes still to play.
Joe Burrow’s 36-yard touchdown pass to freshman running back Demario McCall on the first play of the fourth quarter made it 63-10.
Then the Buckeyes added two more scores in the final 6 minutes, 10 seconds of the game on a 16-yard run by McCall and a 75-yard interception return by Rodjay Burns.
Reach Jim Naveau at (567) 242-0414 or follow him on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau.