(Photo courtesy of Heavy.com)
The Ohio State Buckeyes, again at home this week, following the 45-21 victory over Lane Kiffin’s Florida Atlantic University (FAU), last weekend to open the 2019 football campaign, and Ryan Day’s reign as the Buckeye’s Head Coach – took on the Cincinnati Bearcats (1-0) for another in-state rivalry. The ‘Fightin’ Fickle’s’ (I confess I stole that one from my colleague – Ken Kohl – who referenced the term in last week’s piece on the Buckeye’s victory), was in for a commanding surprise.
Justin Fields passed for two touchdowns and ran for two more scores as the 5th ranked Buckeyes glided, as it seemed effortlessly, to a statement win – 42-0 this afternoon.
J.K. Dobbins pounded the turf with 141 yards in 17 tries for an average of 8.3 yards per carry, with a long of 60 yards – scoring twice – all in the first half. The Buckeyes completely shredded the Bearcats (or shall we stay with the ‘Fightin’ Fickle’s’?) as Luke Fickle and his team returned to Ohio State. Coach Fickle, a third – year head coach played for the Buckeyes before roaming the sidelines as a defensive coach, and an interim head coach in 2011. He led the Bearcats to an opening win last weekend against the UCLA Bruins 24-14; this victory was indeed, and certainly understandable – a confidence builder.
“They just ruined any sentimental thought you had,” Fickell said. “I’m just disappointed we couldn’t give them a real game.”
The game started off with the Buckeyes receiving – with Demario McCall taking it to the 28. J.K. Dobbins, on the first offensive play carried the defense for three yards. A penalty against Offensive Lineman Jonah Jackson stopped the opening drive which presented promise – resulting in a punt.
The Buckeyes defense stepped up – holding the Bearcats down and shutting the door with a blocked field goal, an interception and forcing a fumble for a touchback on the three occasions the Bearcats threatened. The Buckeyes would also sack the Bearcats quarterback Desmond Ritter five times.
“I think today was another step in the journey, the right step — where we want to be,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said.
The Final Analysis:
Cincinnati: All of the hoopla of Luke Fickell returning to Ohio Stadium – along with the shared opinion that the Bearcats would give the Buckeyes a much tougher time – overshadowed the building mastery simply ignored by the College Football world that Ryan Day is more than ready for the challenge. The Buckeyes defensive line also slammed the door shut on the Bearcats running game – with Tavion Thomas accumulating 58 yards in 11 tries for a 5.3 per carry average – that being their leader. Quarterback Ritter witnessed few successes as well – tossing for 166 yards in 20 attempts with one interception – a 23-yarder being his longest.
The Ohio State University: The Buckeyes browbeat all the predictors prior to this one in the onslaught that the Bearcats faced. Every player improved from week one against a team that was certainly better than week one. There were few mistakes and clicked magnificently. Ryan Day and the coaching staff clearly made no errors and mastered the game plan.
The Buckeyes will not move up in the polls – that’s doubtful. But what is good is all the “pros” were wrong on the 16-point spread. Perhaps another bright spot in this week’s play is TTUN took 2 OT’s to beat Army by only 3 – in a 24-21 barn-burner. They should drop out of 7 – but then again that’s my biased opinion.
Big Ten Play opens up for the Buckeyes as they travel to Indiana a game scheduled for 12:00 noon on Fox.