In a battle of heavyweights, Ohio State has struck haymaker after haymaker as the Buckeyes lead Oklahoma 35-17 at the half in Norman.
The Buckeyes, who entered the night with zero touchdowns allowed and three pick sixes on 76 passes defended, have turned two Baker Mayfield interceptions into touchdowns thus far. The first came on a 4th-and-3 when Jerome Baker snagged a tipped pass and returned it 68 yards for a touchdown, giving Ohio State a 14-0 lead with 4:34 to play in the first quarter.
Then, with the score 21-10 midway through the second quarter, Marshon Lattimore stepped in front of a Mayfield pass and returned it 20 yards to the Oklahoma 37-yard line. J.T. Barrett hit Noah Brown for a touchdown one snap later. The pass was the combination’s second of three touchdowns of the half. The first came on a 4-yarder to culminate an 89-yard drive giving Ohio State a 21-7 lead, and the third came in a highlight reel grab where Brown caught the ball behind OU defender Micah Quick‘s back with six seconds to go before the half.
Barrett has hit 10-of-14 passes for 120 yards and three touchdowns — all to Brown, who came into the game with one career touchdown grab — while rushing nine times for 32 yards.
Curtis Samuel has run well for Ohio State, carrying six times for 69 yards, including a 36-yard touchdown on Ohio State’s first possession.
Oklahoma’s night has been marred by not making the most of scoring chances and, oddly, making the most of scores that shouldn’t count. The Sooners’ first drive ended in a 27-yard Austin Seibert doink off the right upright, and another drive saw a 1st-and-goal at the Ohio State 3-yard line turn into a 26-yard Seibert chip shot.
The Sooners’ first touchdown came immediately after Baker’s interception return when Joe Mixon raced 97 yards for a kick return score… only the officials missed that Mixon actually dropped the ball after 96 yards.
Oklahoma registered its first offensive touchdown when Mayfield (9-of-17 for 158 yards) hit A.D. Miller for a 35-yard scoring strike with 4:12 to go before the break. It was the first passing touchdown of the season allowed by Ohio State, in its 96th pass defended.
Ohio State will receive to open the second half.