- By Marcus Hartman Staff Writer
Ohio State players insisted during the week leading up to the season-opener against Oregon State their preseason was not disrupted by the absence of head coach Urban Meyer.
While they missed Meyer, who was put on leave and then suspended after an investigation found he mismanaged assistant coach Zach Smith, they went about business as usual under interim head coach Ryan Day.
The Beavers must be believers after the Buckeyes blitzed them 77-31, including a 42-14 first half, on Saturday in the season opener at Ohio Stadium.
“Really proud of the way the guys came out today,” Day said. “We talked about starting fast in this game. We talked about how we wanted to start fast, play fast. I thought we did that in the first half.”
Here are five things to know about the game:
1. Dwayne Haskins wows in starting debut.
The sophomore quarterback could hardly have been much better in his first career start.
He completed 22 of 30 passes for 313 yards and five touchdowns with an interception, becoming the first Buckeye to go over the 300-yard mark in his first career start.
» PHOTOS: Ten shots of Haskins in action
After tossing three TDs in the first half, his first pass of the second was a short one Terry McLaurin caught. He raced through the defense for a 75-yard score. Then Haskins tacked on another scoring toss with a shovel pass to Parris Campbell that covered eight yards.
2. Two-headed running back monster as good as expected.
Ohio State entered the season with a pair of 1,000-yard rushers.
Sophomore J.K. Dobbins started the game and ran for 74 yards on 15 carries. Junior Mike Weber was even better, using his 20 carries to pile up 186 yards.
Weber looked as good as he has in his Ohio State career, showing a little more shiftiness than earlier in his career.
The Detroit native ran for three touchdowns and scored another on a shovel pass.
“When we’re playing this fast, those guys, shoot, after they go about five plays, they need a sub anyways,” said Day of figuring out a rotation for the two. “It’s not like we could leave them in even if we wanted to. We try to roll them, keep them fresh, and how the game plays and how the chips fall, they do, but both guys are talented. And some days one guy is going to be hot. Sometimes it’s the luck of the draw based on the way that the guys block up front.”
3. So was Nick Bosa.
The junior defensive end gets an even bigger spotlight this season than 2017 when he earned All-America honors despite having to share time with a deep group of ends.
Bosa definitely deserved it in the first game of the season, logging a pair of sacks among his four tackles. He also pounced on a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown in the second quarter.
Beyond the numbers, the Florida native practically lived in the Oregon State backfield along with Chase Young, Ohio State’s other starting defensive end.
4. The rest of the defense? Not so much.
Oregon State presented Ohio State with a few things to work on before they take on Rutgers in week two.
Most of those are on the defensive side of the ball.
While the pass rush made sustaining much of an attack nearly impossible, the Beavers managed to use the Buckeyes’ aggressiveness against them a handful of times on screen passes.
The second and third levels of the defense also looked suspect on three long scoring plays for the Beavers.
“Obviously there are several plays you’d like to have back, but they all count,” co-defensive coordinator Alex Grinch said. “So you can say there’s an easy fix, but it doesn’t really matter. They’re in the books. The yards count, the points count. Those are the obvious blunders on the day. Nobody cares about the ‘why’ in the moment. We’ll find out those things on the film and get them corrected.”
5. Landers starts, Myers debuts.
As expected, Robert Landers moved into the starting lineup for the first time. The Wayne graduate has been a regular in the defensive line rotation, but Saturday marked his first start.
He was credited with one tackle, and it went for a loss.
On the other side of the ball, Miamisburg’s Josh Myers made his playing debut — but it could have gone better.
The highly regarded recruit, who redshirted last season, was flagged for illegal procedure on the second play after he relieved starter Michael Jordan at center in the second quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Myers helped clear the way for Brian Snead to score the Buckeyes’ 10th touchdown of the day. Snead took a handoff from Martell and cut right behind Myers on a 2-yard run.