Hawaii’s the team that traveled over 9,000 miles, but it’s top-ranked Ohio State looking jetlagged through two quarters of play.
Coming off just four days between games, and playing for the most part with all of the the urgency of a lethargic pothead, the defending national champions have sleepwalked its way to a 14-0 halftime lead on visiting Hawaii. OK, maybe it’s not fair to lump the defense in with some of the more lethargic ones.
In the first half, the Rainbow Warriors managed just 89 yards of total offense — 35 passing, 54 rushing. 29 of those yards came on UH’s first play from scrimmage, meaning the Buckeyes’ defense allowed just 60 total yards the final 29½ minutes of the half.
Offensively, the Buckeyes did manage to move the ball but simply couldn’t finish drives on all but two occasions. They put together 232 yards of total offense on the stat sheet, but had just one play of 20-plus yards — Cardale Jones‘ run of 24 yards; that too came on OSU’s first play from scrimmage. The longest pass play was a 19-yard connection between Jones and Michael Thomas.
Jones got his second straight start and first at home, and was, well, pedestrian in the passing game. While he completed 6-of-9 passes, he accounted for a mere 82 yards through the air. Perhaps in a move to light a fire under the offense — or perhaps because it was the plan all along — J.T. Barrett was inserted into the lineup late in the second quarter. His first possession was capped by a three-yard Ezekiel Elliott touchdown, the running back’s second of the day; Barrett’s second possession ended with a third-down incompletion near midfield with just over a minute to play in the second.
Thanks to a healthy use of timeouts, and a Jalin Marshall 32-yard punt return, OSU got the ball one last time with :21 left and set up at the UH 44-yard line. Barrett came out for a third possession, with the drive ending in a failed Hail Mary attempt after he very nearly threw a Pick-Six.
Barrett ended up 5-of-12 on his three drives for 41 yards. Barring something unforeseen, Jones will be under center (probably?) for the first possession of the second half.
Braxton Miller was very Braxton-like as one of the few offensive bright spots, leading all rushers with 48 yards on six carries. The quarterback-turned H-back added an eight-yard reception for good measure.
One final note to file away for future use: if the Buckeyes don’t get their kicking game squared away, it will cost them a game at some point this season. Mark it down.