Ohio State scores early and often, demolish UNLV, 54-21

(AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

Granted, it’s UNLV, but Ohio State’s first-team offense dominated. So much so that J.T. Barrett was taken out of the game in the first half with the Ohio State Buckeyes holding a 37-0 lead. Although the backups were outscored, the Buckeyes went on to win handily, 54-21 in a game that was even much more of a blowout than the score showed.

The game against UNLV and next week’s game at Rutgers could (and should) both be blowouts, but either way, its a confidence booster for an Ohio State team that has had somewhat of a rush start to the season at times. They just need to take advantage of it.

Quick recap

Ohio State’s starters scored early and often, hence why most of them were pulled out of the game by halftime.

Whether it was Barrett or Dwayne Haskins, the Buckeyes aired it out early and often. So often that they set a Big Ten record with seven different players catching a touchdown.

In the blowout, it was great for the backups and players who don’t receive much playing time during the season to be able to get in the game and play some significant time.

The turning point

Can the opening kickoff be the turning point even though the game hadn’t even started yet? Yeah, we’ll go with that. Ohio State was expected to blowout UNLV and they did just that.

Top performers

J.T. Barrett: 12-of-17, 209 yards, five touchdowns; five carries, 15 yards

After many people questioned whether he should be the starting quarterback over the last two weeks, Barrett dominated in less than two quarters on Saturday. It wasn’t even due to his run game either, he used his air attack very well and all but secured the win for the Buckeyes even before halftime.

Dwayne Haskins: 15-of-23, 228 yards, two touchdowns, one interception; six carries, 20 yards

Having played for over two quarters, this is the most playing time I remember a backup quarterback receiving in a game in quite some time. Even though he played well for much of the game, Haskins had a few plays that showed why he is the backup, including an inexcusable pick-six.

J.K. Dobbins: 14 carries, 95 yards

Dobbins continues to be impressive. Even though he didn’t find the end zone, the true freshman almost hit the century mark in the first half.

Parris Campbell: three catches, 105 yards, one touchdown; 82-yard kick return

It really is amazing just how fast Campbell is. He used his speed to blow past the defense both on his long touchdown and kick return. Campbell could have had two touchdowns too, if it weren’t for him fumbling the ball at the one-yard line.

C.J. Saunders: six catches, 102 yards, one touchdown

I know, a lot of people have probably never heard of this receiver before, and you’re not alone. With most of the starters pulled at halftime, Saunders took advantage of his playing time. He was backup quarterback Dwayne Haskins’ favorite target on Saturday.

Nick Bosa: four tackles, one sack, three tackles for loss, one pass breakup

With much of the defense not getting too much playing time, Bosa stuck out big time. Whether it was getting in UNLV’s backfield or tipping the ball at the line that led to an interception, Bosa dominated on Saturday.

Drue Chrisman: two punts, 47.5 yards per punt, both landed inside the 20-yard line

Many people will take him for granted given that he’s a punter, but Chrisman has dominated so far this season. When the offense has struggled, the punter has pinned the opposing offense deep in their own territory.

Top plays

On Ohio State’s second play of the game, J.T. Barrett threw a short pass to Parris Campbell and the receiver used his speed to run for a 69-yard touchdown.

On their second drive, Barrett finished off a seven-play, 65-yard drive with a 16-yard touchdown to Johnnie Dixon.

After Campbell fumbled (and lost) the ball at the one-yard line, the Silver Bullets stepped up. Dre’Mont Jones got to the running back for a safety on the first play following the turnover.

You can’t teach height, kids. Barrett threw it up high to a covered Binjimen Victor and the wide out did the rest of the work for a three-yard touchdown catch.

Even when Nick Bosa doesn’t get all the way to the quarterback, he still makes plays. His tipped ball allowed Damon Arnette to intercept it and  return it all the way to the six-yard line. So close but yet so far to a pick-six.

After Denzel Ward wrestled it away from the receiver, Damon Webb gave the Buckeyes another interception.

Dwayne Haskins is a backup quarterback, but he actually played more than Barrett on Saturday. He threaded the needle to C.J. Saunders for a 16-yard touchdown.

Rashod Berry used to be a defensive lineman but judging by this play, you would never know. The tight end used his athleticism and strength to stay up and run for a 38-yard touchdown after catching a short pass from Haskins.

On to the next one

The Buckeyes will travel to Rutgers to take on the Scarlet Knights next Saturday. The time is to be determined.