The Ohio State University, fourth-ranked nationally, handed a wondrous gift to Urban Meyer, upon his return to the sideline after a three-game suspension on his handling of the Zach Smith fiasco. The whole indent appeared to keep Coach relaxed, and not to get into any decision that would rattle his return.
The # Buckeyes played as they had in the three previous games, of which Coach Meyers had been suspended. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins continued to throw touchdown passes at an insane pace, as the Buckeyes simply out-played the Green Wave of Tulane; 49-6, Saturday the 23rd in Columbus.
Meyer was oddly calm in his return, though honestly returning from a suspension in which he was not allowed on the sidelines of only two games of the three in which he had been suspended, and against Tulane, as opposed to next week’s opponent, Penn State (@ Penn State) seems like THE game for a return to get re-acclimated to game day. Next week would have been “more” pressure for a return. As we know Penn State is ranked nationally @ 10, and the annual “white out” game at Beaver Stadium only two seasons ended in a victory for the Nittany Lions.
Meyer didn’t reveal much, specifically of what he was feeling, only speaking positively, and of his love for the program and the kids on his team. He would suggest at the end of the game that the most emotional moment for him was between the third and fourth quarters when the marching band played “Hang on Sloopy,” a longtime tradition at Ohio Stadium.
“It’s been that way for seven years now,” Meyer said.
“Being able to have him in the locker room, being able to have him, to talk to him, before the game, you miss that not having him …,” said Haskins, who threw five touchdown passes in the first half before giving way to backup Tate Martell. “Being with him before we go out on the field together, the excitement he brings, the energy he brings, it was definitely missed.”
Meyer’s return after serving a suspension for his mismanagement of former assistant Zach Smith, who was accused of domestic violence and other questionable behavior while working under Meyer at Florida and Ohio State.
Meyer was not in the picture for the for blowouts against Oregon State and Rutgers, then sat in front of the TV nervously as the Buckeyes pulled away from the No. 15-TCU in the second half last week to win 40-28. Ryan Day, the co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach, temporarily handled sideline coaching duties and were exceptional.
“He’s always a fired-up dude,” Ohio State cornerback Jeffrey Okudah said. “I feel like you could feel his energy. You could really feel his energy today. You could tell that he was glad to be back with the team.”
Haskins was pretty sound, completing his first nine passes on the way to a 21-for-24 effort for 304 yards before taking a seat in the second half as the Buckeyes backed off the gas and cruised. As he entered the game he led the Big Ten in passing with 890 yards and 11 Touchdowns.
Haskins, a third-year sophomore, is among the nation’s leaders in touchdown passes with 16 through the first four games and is on track to eclipse J.T. Barrett’s school record of 35 set last season.
“Dwayne did very good, but then to throw the ball takes much more than him,” Meyer said. “The offensive line protected well and the receivers are playing at a very high level.”
Say That Again Coach About the Receivers:
Parris Campbell caught Haskins’ touchdown passes of 14 and 37 yards in the first quarter. Binjimen Victor, Terry McLaurin, and Austin Mack also caught first-half scoring throws. The prettiest, to me, was, in fact, Haskins’ final TD pass, a perfectly placed behind the shoulder 14-yarder on which Mack made a falling-down grab.
Campbell, a fifth-year senior, had a career day, catching eight passes for 147 yards and the pair of scores.
The Green Wave just could not muster much, specifically in response to the Buckeyes’ lethal passing attack; offensively speaking, they were almost DOA.
“They’re a great, well-coached football team,” Tulane coach Willie Fritz said. “They were tuned up and ready to go, and I’m sure having their coach back, all those things might have motivated them a little bit, I don’t know. They were on fire early.”
The Buckeyes gift-wrapped another victory for Urban in a rout that would make anyone smile. But in a steam-roll of an outmatched challenger is far from what will be concluded as the most remarkable moment of the season – hopefully, that “may” be next week as the season’s biggest game so far will wind up in enemy territory in “Happy Valley.”
The Ohio State University’s running back Mike Weber left the game in the second quarter with an injury and did not return. Meyer said Weber “has a little strain on his foot,” but should be fine. That’s good news. JK Dobbins would lead the running attack with 55 yards and 1 TD. As I have previously mentioned, Dwayne Haskins threw for 304 yards – with 5 TDs and no interceptions. This kid is on fire!
Next week? Well, we’ve discussed that so far. See you in State College, PA … and, well, let the game begin….