Buckeye Breakdown: Kent State

What can be learned from the 66-0 win against Kent State? BuckeyeSports.com has the answer in this week's Buckeye Breakdown.

Ohio State run offense: While much of the emphasis was on improving the passing game, Ohio State's running game certainly got well against the Golden Flashes. Curtis Samuel turned in the first 100-yard day of his career, including a bunch of yards while the Buckeyes were grinding away the second half, and Ezekiel Elliott showed what he can do when he gets in the open field. The Buckeyes were able to get to the perimeter more this week against KSU than a week ago against Virginia Tech, and the line have a fair amount of success moving people up front even as the lineup changed almost from series to series. There are two potential red flags, though: A) It was Kent State, and B) where were the big plays? The longest run was only 26 yards. -- Marcus Hartman

Ohio State pass offense: With no one in J.T. Barrett’s face and an abundance of open receivers, the pass offense looked expectedly sharp for the Buckeyes against Kent State. OSU quarterbacks spread the ball to 11 different receivers and finished 23 of 30 for 312 yards and six touchdowns. J.T. Barrett's lone interception bounced off of a tightly covered Michael Thomas, so it’s hard to get too hung up on. Barrett found receivers on nearly every route in the playbook. Devin Smith caught a bomb, Michael Thomas took a short route to the house, Jalin Marshall took a shovel pass the distance … the list goes on. Against the Golden Flashes an efficient, diverse performance was expected out of the Buckeyes pass offense, but it was still nice to see. -- Blake Williams

Ohio State run defense: The Buckeyes did what they are supposed to do in this area, holding Kent State to 23 rushes and 47 net yards, an average of 2.0 yards per try. Take out one 20-yard run by Nick Holley and the total was 27 yards on 22 carries. The Golden Flashes don't try to run often, but when they do, they try to go wide and crease the defense, but except for that one play, the Buckeyes were on the ball here. The entire linebacking crew deserves credit, as Raekwon McMillan, Joshua Perry, Darron Lee, Curtis Grant and others played key roles in making sure the Flashes weren't able to get anything going.

Ohio State pass defense: Even accounting for the caliber of opponent, it’s hard to imagine the Ohio State secondary doing a better job of feasting on opposing quarterbacks than it did against Kent State. The hapless Golden Flashes passed for a grand total of 79 yards, and starting quarterback Colin Reardon threw three interceptions. Together, he and backup Nathan Strock completed less than 45 percent of their passes. One thing to take into account about the success of the secondary is that it allowed co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Chris Ash to see what kind of depth he has. Freshman safety Erick Smith earned the first defensive snaps of his career and rewarded Ash with an interception, and freshman cornerback Damon Webb also saw playing time. An asterisk can be attached to both of Ohio State’s top passing defense performances this season – Navy didn’t throw the ball and Kent State isn’t good – but the Buckeyes still did their job in both instances. Today, they did it well enough to allow fans a glimpse at the future. -- Ryan Ginn

What We Learned…

Ryan Ginn: Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer wasn’t joking about wanting true freshmen ready to come in and make an impact. It wasn’t a day that was chock full of highlights for the young guys, although there were some – Raekwon McMillan’s two sacks, Erick Smith’s interception and Curtis Samuel’s two scores, for example. At the same time, guys like Damon Webb, Johnnie Dixon, Jalyn Holmes, Jamarco Jones, Noah Brown and Marcelys Jones didn’t exactly look lost out there. Were the Buckeyes playing Michigan State today, the participation report wouldn’t be as full. But now that those players have seen the field, it opens the door for them to contribute toward the back end of the season as they gain experience.

Jeff Svoboda: That the offense can look like what we expected. Before the season, this was supposed to be a unit that thrived as J.T. Barrett spread the ball around to a plethora of talented options. That didn't really happen in the few weeks, save the last quarter against Navy, but the Buckeyes were what they were supposed to be against the Golden Flashes. Nine different players ran the ball and 11 caught it, numbers that had to make offensive coordinator Tom Herman happy. Sure, it was Kent State, but the Buckeyes needed a game like this to show what they can be -- and perhaps take some pressure off against the varsity teams coming up on the schedule.

Blake Williams: Nothing. The Buckeyes were impressive in the 66-0 route, but it’s hard to take anything away from beating a bottom-rung MAC team who lost to South Alabama last week. It would be nice to say the offensive line is fixed, the running game will keep chugging along and the defense won’t have any miscues the rest of the season, but that’s probably not the case. Or at least I don’t think so, but again, who can say for sure? Saturday did serve as a good confidence boost for a young team and gives the Buckeyes some momentum heading into the open week, but essentially the game went exactly as it was supposed to and because of that, not much can be learned.

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