It was a heavyweight bout the college football public waited three-and-a-half decades, plus an extra 90 minutes, to see. But in the end, the third ever meeting between the top two programs in the history of the AP poll wasn’t much of a fight as No. 3 Ohio State rolled No. 14 Oklahoma 45-24 in Norman.
After a three-and-out on their first possession, the Buckeyes scored six of the next seven times they touched the ball. The deluge started with a 36-yard Curtis Samuel run and continued with a 68-yard Jerome Baker interception on a tipped 4th-and-3 pass to give Ohio State a 14-0 lead at the 4:34 mark of the first quarter.
Ohio State (3-0) responded, though, with an 89-yard drive capped by the first of four Noah Brown touchdown catches from the arm of J.T. Barrett. Barrett found Brown from 37 yards out one play after another interception of Baker Mayfield and, with just six seconds to go before the half, a 21-yarder that Brown pinned against defender Micah Brown‘s back to give the Buckeyes a 35-17 halftime lead.
Barrett found Brown again, from eight yards out this time, to cap Ohio State’s drive to open the second half and push the edge to 42-17.
Oklahoma (1-2) notched its only score of the second half when Mayfield found tight end Mark Andrews for a 5-yard score at the 4:06 mark of the third quarter, but never seriously threatened beyond that.
Barrett played like the true Heisman contender in a showdown of stiffarm hopefuls, hitting 14-of-20 passes for 152 yards and four touchdowns and no interceptions while rushing 17 times for 74 yards. Mike Weber added 18 carries for 123 yards, and Samuel carried 11 times for 98 yards and a score.
For Oklahoma, Mayfield hit 17-of-32 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns, but his two interceptions proved extremely costly. The combination of Mixon and Samaje Perine combined to rush 26 times for 138 yards.
Ohio State enters Big Ten play now squarely in the Playoff hunt and an undeniable heavyweight in the 2016 title chase. Oklahoma, though, faces a season where a Big 12 title is still on the table, but chances of winning the program’s first national title since 2000 are all but gone.