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Buckeye Watch: Ohio State 77 - Bowling Green 10
By Tony Gerdeman

COLUMBUS — I was a junior at Ohio State in 1996 and despite the outcome of the Michigan game, it was a great time to be a football fan.

The 1995 team had an abundance of stars like Eddie George, Terry Glenn, Bobby Hoying, Rickey Dudley, and that was fun, but there was something exciting and refreshing about the mystery and anticipation of the 1996 season.

The freshman class featured names like Andy Katzenmoyer, David Boston, Mike Wiley, Na’il Diggs, Gary Berry, Mike Burden, and many others. There were other young players on the roster like Antoine Winfield, Stan Jackson, Joe Germaine, Dee Miller, Rob Murphy, and a dozen more.

Those young Bucks were led by guys like Mike Vrabel, Matt Finkes, Luke Fickell, Orlando Pace, and Shawn Springs, but the 1996 season started with a bang because of the impact of the young guys.

That was the year the Buckeyes opened with back-to-back 70-spots against Rice and Pitt, and Saturday’s game against Bowling Green had me thinking back to those days 20 years ago and how similar the situations are.

Urban Meyer and everybody else will point to the 2014 team as a comparison, but so much of that team was unknown. People didn’t necessarily know what to expect, they were all just pleasantly surprised. With this group, however, we’ve been hearing for a while what to expect when they finally got their opportunity, and on Saturday they made the most of it.

We saw a lot of promises come true on Saturday, with likely many more to come.

11:34 BG’s starting cornerback Will Watson has apparently been suspended for the first half of the season. He reportedly redshirted last year after being involved in a bar fight. (I think that's usually called a “Red, White & Blue Shirt.”) If that’s not the most Northwest Ohio thing I’ve ever heard, I don’t know what is.

11:57 The captains are headed out to midfield for the coin toss. Ohio State wins the toss and defers. I thought they might take the ball just to set the tone and hurry up and get J.T. Barrett’s day done.

12:00 Can you believe it? The Tyler Durbin Era is almost underway. This is a new dawn.

12:01 If I’m Durbin I’m just thinking, “Please don’t whiff this.” If you miss the ball completely on a kickoff attempt, is that a false start?

12:02 Third and six. There’s a catch, but he’s short, and now there’s a fumble. Damon Webb recovers, but that dude was down. They’re looking at it. He had two knees and an elbow down and the refs still missed it. He was down so long that he was practically a squatter on the 20-yard line. The call is overturned. Bowling Green punts.

12:08 Interception. What was J.T. Barrett looking at? What in the world? Flag down. That was horrific. He stared so long at his receiver that somebody should have nudged him with their elbow to tell him it was rude. He never saw the zone blitz drop. That’s not good for Barrett. So much for the Heisman. All is lost? Bowling Green leads it 7-0.

12:10 I bet J.T. is kind of mad right now. Time for Joe Burrow? He can’t keep throwing pick sixes like this. He can throw maybe two more tops.

12:14 Mike Weber goes for 13 yards. He is strong and quick to the hole. Like if Carlos Hyde and Raymont Harris had a kid and that kid was raised by Ezekiel Elliott, but sometimes Joe Montgomery would come over and let him watch R-rated movies on cable.

12:17 False start on Michael Jordan. Leave it to Michael Jordan to have a quick first step, right? Anyway. Barrett drops back on first-and-15 and goes deep to K.J. Hill out of the slot for a touchdown from 47 yards out. That was easy and looks like it will be readily available whenever the mood strikes. Ohio State ties it up 7-7.

12:18 So far the redshirt freshmen are pretty good. Redshirt freshmen > Redshirt juniors.

12:24 Dre’Mont Jones comes in for Tracy Sprinkle. Denzel Ward is in. The rotation is beginning. BG is flagged for holding on third-and-five. They’ll back up 10 yards. On third-and-15 they pick up eight yards. They’ll punt.

12:27 My back hurts. You know you’re out of shape when your body is sore just from the way you’re sitting. “I’m using muscles I never had to use before.” From sitting? Really? Take a walk once in a while.

12:30 Weber in. He goes up the middle for seven yards. He is so close to busting one. Now Curtis Samuel motions in. He gets nine yards up the middle. The offensive line is dominating Bowling Green right now. They’re pushing them around like aggressive mall kiosk owners. “Yes you will look at this radio control helicopter!”

12:36 Wilson and Samuel are both in now. Wilson is in the slot. It’s a fake pitch to Samuel and Barrett finds Wilson on a corner route for a 25-yard touchdown. Very easy. Bowling Green can’t cover these guys. It’s only 14-7, but Ohio State can name the score today.

12:38 Only matter of time until Weber is busting long ones.

12:42 Third and 11. Joe Burger is in for Dante Booker. Interesting. Damon Webb breaks up a pass on an open post route. Got fortunate there. BG will punt.

12:45 Second and 16. Curtis Samuel motions into the slot. Barrett throws him a slant and there are no safeties anywhere in the ballpark. Touchdown. 79 yards for Curtis Samuel. Were there only seven or eight defenders out there? Where was everybody? Buckeyes lead it 21-7 with 3:05 to play in the quarter. Barrett is 7-10 passing for 186 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. His passer rating is 305.2. Not bad. This BG secondary is just so overmatched.

12:46 That’s 258 yards of total offense in 12 minutes of play so far, and only eight of those minutes belong to the Buckeyes. Math tells me the Buckeyes are averaging about 32 yards per minute, which is about a half a yard per second. You’d think a fast team like Ohio State could manage better than an 80 second 40-yard dash. Even with my back all sore like it is now I can still do better than that probably.

12:48 Do you think Ed Warinner’s like, “Should we do the Samuel thing again? Or should we have sportsmanship instead?”

12:50 BG runs a draw for two yards. Tracy Sprinkle is hurt. Dre’Mont Jones comes in. That’s not good. It happened after the play. His knee buckled and he went down. He gets helped off. Right knee. Doesn’t look good for him. That looks bad.

12:59 Fourth and 13 and the refs blow their whistles and stop play because we have finally reached the end of the first half. The Buckeyes lead it 21-7.

1:00 What? This is just the end of the first quarter?

1:01 Kyle Snyder with a nice ovation. People are suckers for gold medals. I’m not impressed by them. People need to chill out.

1:02 THEY JUST ANNOUNCED OVER THE SPEAKER IN THE PRESS BOX THAT WE’RE GOING TO HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO TALK TO KYLE SNYDER. OH MY GOD I WANT TO SEE THAT MEDAL.

1:03 Barrett is going deep to James Clark. Amazing grab. Wow. That was a terrific effort. Replay shows the ball moving. Be surprised if that stands. Hell of an effort by Clark though. It’s overruled. Incompletion. Doesn’t take away from his effort at all.

1:07 Weber for another 10 yards. His teammates called him ‘Baby Los’ last year, but I think he’s even quicker to the hole than Carlos Hyde.

1:08 Pass interference on BG. It was a late call. The flag was really tucked in. The ref had to dig it out. Lucky he didn’t throw his boxers.

1:11 Fourth and two from the BG 21-yard line. The Buckeyes are hurrying more than normal. Barrett drops back and nearly throws another interception. Stared down his first receiver again.

1:13 I had an NFL scout tell me today that Barrett stares down his first read too long.

1:17 Third and five. Where’s ‘Hell’s Bells’ been? Slant completed for a first down on Denzel Ward. Does Marshon Lattimore need to be in?

1.18 Ha. As I’m typing that, they try it again and Ward bats the ball down perfectly.

1:19 Bowling Green is held to a 22-yard field goal, making it 21-10 with 9:37 to play in the first half. At this rate, the fourth quarter will be played under the lights.

1:26 Big gain by Weber, but possibly a fumble. Nah, he’s way down. He and the football signed a lease together he was down for so long.

1:26 Barrett with the play-action to the corner of the end zone and Noah Brown. 25 yards. Touchdown. Yep, suction cup hands just like Barrett said. Bowling Green is slow to get off the field. Perhaps stalling for a replay. If they really want to stall, their coaches could just strip down to their skivvies in protest. It’s all the rage. The touchdown is confirmed. Buckeyes lead it 28-10 with 6:57 to play in the first half.

1:34 Oh my. Malik Hooker interception alert. I could see it happening from up here. Wow! He’s amazing. He came from a long ways away. “Hooker turns a trick” is said next to me. He came from about 40 yards away and stabbed the ball with one hand and then came down with it in the other. There’s about eight different ridiculously athletic things that he did on that play. That was special. That wasn’t “right place, right time”, that was somebody getting to the right place just in time, and then making one hell of a play.

1:41 Whose turn is it to get a touchdown?

1:44 Barrett keeps it on the QB draw and runs it up the middle for six. Buckeyes lead it 35-7 in the first half. Barrett has accounted for every touchdown in this game.

1:46 Curtis Samuel has four receptions for 94 yards and 11 rushes for 67 yards. J.T. Barrett is 14-21 passing for 244 yards and four touchdowns.

1:48 We have reached the end of the half. Ohio State leads it 35-10. Only took an hour and 48 minutes.

2:00 I’m assuming Sprinkle is done. Not sure what’s up with Dante Booker. He apparently got rolled up in the first half.

2:05 I can’t even process these numbers that Ohio State put up in the first half.

2:12 Back to the game. Corner route to a wide open Curtis Samuel. This isn’t fair. They can’t defend this play. Uh oh, Jamarco Jones is down. Left leg. Cramp? He’s okay. Samuel picked up 36 yards on that play. He now has five receptions for 131 yards.

2:14 Barrett finds Samuel for a 21-yard touchdown. That’s too much of a mismatch. Somebody needs to step in and say something. They can’t even stay with him. 42-10 Buckeyes. Samuel is now one touchdown away from my prediction of three scores. Barrett went over 300 yards passing with that one. He’s now 16-23 for 302 yards.

2:21 Three and out for BG. So much for that comeback.

2:26 Dump to Marcus Baugh in flats. Leaps over the first defender to show his athleticism. I think he’s trying to show people that he can play H-back too if they want.

2:27 Speed option to Samuel for the touchdown from 12 yards out. Not difficult at all today. Three touchdowns for Samuel. He now has 12 rushes for 79 yards and eight catches for 168 yards. 20 touches. More than I expected, but then we’ve never seen Ohio State have an H-back like this.

2:32 Here comes another pick. Yep, Malik Hooker just ran a half-marathon and stole the ball away from Bowling Green. This guy is even more amazing  than his teammates tried telling us. I saw that pick coming for a good 20 yards.

2:35 Corner route to Dontre Wilson for the touchdown. That’s six touchdown passes and 349 yards passing for Barrett. He tied his own school record for touchdown passes in a game and set a new school record with his seventh touchdown accounted for. All because Bowling Green has never seen a corner route from the slot before. Buckeyes lead it 56-10.

2:40 Jerome Baker on the tackle for loss. Backups are all in. Now Nick Bosa gets a tackle on second down. Third down is yet another drop by BG. They’ll punt.

2:43 Joe Burrow and Demario McCall are in. Looks like there will be no redshirt for McCall.

2:45 The Buckeyes go three and out for the first time today. I wasn’t aware such a thing was possible.

2:48 Bowling Green goes three and out. The punt dies at the 25-yard line. So who is going to get a 75-yard score here? Austin Mack?

2:53 We have reached the end of the quarter. It feels like three quarters would be plenty today.

2:57 Swing pass to McCall and he zips on in for 36 yards and a touchdown. For about the ninth time today, I’m typing, “That was easy.” McCall is a very interesting player. He is quick and has some impressive vision. And now he’s just another option for an offense that is full of them. Buckeyes lead it 63-10.  

3:02 Nick Bosa registers his first sack. No shrug? He’s celebrating. He’s being congratulated. No shrug still. There it is. There’s the shrug. He had to be goaded into it I think. If he didn’t shrug he may have been booed by the crowd.

3:08 McCall with a 14-yard carry to give OSU a school record total offense day. They’re at 731 and counting now. And now that number continues to go up, as does the scoreboard. McCall takes it in from 16 yards out. Buckeyes lead it 70-10.

3:12 After a big play, players shouldn't yell "Let's go!" They should yell, "Let's continue!" You're already going. You just made a big play. Just keep going.

3:13 Okay, it’s probably safe to head down to the field now. I’m sure nothing else of note will happen.

3:22 So I was wrong. Rodjay Burns just grabbed a tipped pass and went 75 yards for a pick six. If you ask me, every game should begin and end with a pick six. OSU leads it 77-10 and really this should be enough.

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