No Urban Meyer? No problem. At all.
With Meyer serving the first of what will be a three-game suspension, Ohio State had little issue dragging Oregon State into the season-opening woodshed as the Midwest OSU spanked the West Coast OSU 77-31 in Columbus. The Buckeyes jumped out to a 42-14 halftime lead and, after a weather delay that lasted nearly an hour and a half, dropped it in cruise control the remainder of the way as acting head coach Ryan Day picked up his first career win in his first-ever game as head coach.
In his first career start, and replacing the record-setting J.T. Barrett under center, quarterback Dwayne Haskins completed 14 of his 18 passes for 164 yards and three touchdowns… in the first half. Haskins finished the day with 313 yards, five touchdowns and one interception in going 22-of-30 passing. The touchdown passes set a school record for a first-time starter, while the passing yards marked the first time in program history a quarterback had thrown for 300-plus in his first debut.
On the ground, Mike Weber, reduced to second fiddle behind Freshman All-American J.K. Dobbins last season, led both teams with a career-high 186 yards rushing (on 20 carries). The junior also accounted for a career-high four touchdowns — three rushing, one receiving. As for Dobbins, considered one of the preseason Heisman Trophy favorites, the sophomore put up a quiet 74 yards on 15 carries.
All told, the Buckeyes ran for 375 yards — they averaged 7.1 yards on their 53 carries — as part of an offense that rolled up 721 yards of total offense. The 77 points matched the program record for an opener set in 2016 against Bowling Green. It was also the most points scored in any game since they hung 83 on Iowa during the 1950 season.
Defensively, Nick Bosa very loudly tossed his name into the Heisman hype hat as the true junior — and likely Top Five pick in the 2019 NFL draft — was credited with a pair of sacks and recovered a fumble for a touchdown for good measure. Dre’Mont Jones matched Bosa with two sacks as the Buckeyes’ defensive front seven combined to drop Beaver quarterbacks six times.
In a losing effort, Artavis Pierce ran for 168 yards and a pair of touchdowns on just 11 carries. Those touchdowns came on runs of 80 and 78 yards in a span of just over three minutes early in the third quarter.
The Beavers, incidentally, have now lost 11 straight games dating back to the 2017 season. Conversely, the Buckeyes are now rising a six-game winning streak.
The win marked the first time Ohio State has won a game without Meyer on the sidelines since Nov. 5 of 2011, a 34-20 triumph over Indiana. The head coach that day was Luke Fickell, who replaced Jim Tressel before giving way to Meyer the following year. The Buckeyes went 6-7 that lost 2011 season; the Buckeyes have lost a total of eight games in the six-plus seasons under Meyer.
That 2011 season was also the only time since 2004 that the Buckeyes have failed to finish a season with at least 10 wins.
In addition to today’s game, Meyer will be suspended for the Week 2 matchup with Rutgers and the Week 3 showdown against TCU. The coach will also be suspended through Sept. 2; that suspension prevented Meyer from taking part in the Buckeyes’ preparations for the season opener against the Beavers. He will, however, be permitted to take part in all football activities leading up to the Rutgers and TCU games, including practices, player meetings, coaches meetings, etc.
That participation will begin Sunday as Meyer’s in-week suspension comes to an end tomorrow.