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Ten Things We Learned from Ohio State's 77-10 Win Over Bowling Green
By Tony Gerdeman

COLUMBUS — Ohio State took it to Bowling Green for a full 50 or so minutes on Saturday, which was more than enough to get the outcome that Urban Meyer wanted. In fact, the outcome was probably more than he wanted.

The best thing about the afternoon wasn't the score, it was how much playing time everyone received. Thirty players played for the first time as Buckeyes, and plenty others saw more snaps in this one game than they ever saw before.

This season was always going to be about new stars stepping forward. Yesterday, however, everybody was standing up and declaring that they were Spartacus, and I'm not sure any of them were lying.

We learned quite a bit about this 2016 team, but for the sake of brevity, we're just going to limit this piece to its customary 10 things.

1. The Buckeyes didn’t want to show much on defense.

The Ohio State defense didn't blitz too much in this game, choosing instead to see how their base defense and nickel defense matched up. They didn't appear to get too complicated with anything they were doing. Part of it was not wanting to show anything they didn't have to, but the other part was just wanting to see what they could do by staying simple. Consider it a stress test. Like when they flush every toilet at the same time in a new ballpark. Clearly, the Buckeyes passed the test. They held the Falcons to 69 yards rushing and 175 yards passing and just 3.4 yards per play.

Bowling Green's offense should put up a bunch of points this year, but they only managed three points against a defense that had more questions coming into this game than a Wonderlic test. Obviously, we have to stay grounded and continue to remind ourselves that this was just Bowling Green, but 'just Bowling Green' has been pretty good in the past. So what happens when the Buckeyes get a little more complicated on defense? How good could they be then?

2. Curtis Samuel is the H-back Urban Meyer has always wanted.

Okay, so Urban Meyer has already had the H-back he's always wanted in Percy Harvin, but oh man, Curtis Samuel is a problem. When Samuel was matched up with a safety, the Buckeyes weren't just stealing candy from a baby, they were taking his blanket and bottle too.

I don't expect him to get 22 touches every game, but if a defense can't stop him, then he can't get the ball enough. Remember the season opener in 2002 when Maurice Clarett went wild on Texas Tech and could have had six touchdowns in that game but Jim Tressel held him back a bit? Meyer did that he with Samuel. He had 261 yards of total offense and could have had 400 yards if it was important to them.

Samuel is as comfortable running the ball as he is running routes, and that makes any defender assigned to him extremely uncomfortable. Saying that he creates matchup problems is like saying that living on an active volcano is a problem. No, it's not a "problem", it's a matter of time.

3. J.T. Barrett isn’t perfect yet.

What a way to start the season, right? No, I'm not talking about tying his own record of six touchdown passes, or setting the the Ohio State record with seven touchdowns responsible for, I'm talking about that pick six to start the game. Any thought that Barrett was a finished product went out the window with that stare down throw to Brandon Harris. But even as an unfinished product, he's pretty darn good.

4. The offensive line is pretty stout inside and out.

The Buckeyes were faced with numerous third-and-short plays and almost every time they needed those yards they would bring Mike Weber in and they'd get more than enough yards to move the chains. And it's not like there was any mystery as to what the Buckeyes were going to do. While Pat Elflein and Billy Price were expected to be very good, Michael Jordan was no weak link.

The outside guys were good too, so let's not forget about them. The Buckeyes were equally effective running between the tackles as they were outside of them. OSU's speed helps in that regard, as does the option that they employ. Overall, any time you can run for 359 yards and average 6.5 yards per carry you're doing pretty good. Ohio State's only play for a loss on the day was on a fumbled snap by backup quarterback Joe Burrow. In other words, the offensive line won the day.

5. Marshon Lattimore is active and aggressive.

Throughout camp we heard that Denzel Ward is the guy with the catch up speed and Marshon Lattimore was the guy who was always just locked in with his receiver. We saw that from Lattimore on Saturday. He's an aggressive defender who can sometimes get a little too handsy, just like Eli Apple last year. No Falcon with more than one catch averaged over nine yards per reception on Saturday. That means as soon as they caught the ball, they were tackled. You can't have that if you don't have cornerbacks who are locked in, and Lattimore was that guy against BGSU.

Read more on Page 2

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