USA TODAY Sports/Greg Bartram

Ohio State earns the shutout of Hawaii, but the offense wasn't necessarily at its best in the 38-0 win

Ohio State used a staunch defense to pull away from Hawaii on Saturday in Ohio Stadium. Here's our thoughts on how each Buckeye unit did in the team's home opener.


Ohio State rush offense: Ezekiel Elliott cleared 100 yards for the seventh consecutive game and found the end zone three times, but it remained an off day for the rush offense. Sure, Braxton Miller added 57 yards on the ground and Bri’onte Dunn punched in a touchdown on his lone carry, but the offensive line struggled to create running lanes against Hawaii’s 3-4 front. The Buckeyes only managed 3.7 yards per carry, a down game for the usually dominant unit, and I put more of that blame on the offensive line than on the Ohio State rushers. -- Blake Williams

Ohio State pass offense: After starting out 6 for 9, Cardale Jones struggled to make plays (and even catch the snap) as the Buckeyes finished with just 181 passing yards and no touchdowns for the first time since 2013. Jones' struggles led to J.T. Barrett entering the game in the second quarter, but Barrett was arguably worse as he completed just 8 of 15 passes for 70 yards missing multiple open throws, mostly in the first half. Jones came back in to start the second half but continued to underwhelm, as the Buckeyes leaned on star running back Ezekiel Elliott to lead them to victory. The offensive line didn't help the cause as the Rainbow Warriors got consistent pressure and sacked Jones twice. Neither quarterback distanced themselves from the other and I (along with everyone) fully expect the rotation to continue. -- James Grega

Ohio State rush defense: Aside from a few shreds of daylight, Hawaii running back Paul Harris was bottled up for much of the game against Ohio State’s front seven. Harris managed just 46 yards on 14 carries, but neither he nor Melvin Davis (9 carries, 35 yards) lost real estate on a single attempt. The Buckeyes also lost contain on quarterback Max Wittek on a 17-yard scramble, but that can hardly be attributed to poor rush defense. In general Ohio State’s defensive line got enough penetration to allow the linebackers to clean up for most of the game. -- Tim Moody

Ohio State pass defense: Hawaii quarterback Max Wittek was not very good, but the Ohio State secondary deserves a solid amount of credit for forcing him into his unimpressive stat line: 7 of 24 for 67 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. His replacement didn’t do much better, completing 1 of 2 passes for 18 yards and also taking a sack. It was assumed that because of Wittek’s impressive pedigree (he was a four-star quarterback and transferred from USC) that he might give the Buckeyes some trouble, but that was not the case thanks to a complete performance from the OSU secondary on a day when so many other position groups faltered.  -- Ryan Ginn

Ohio State special teams: The name you see the most on the box score is that of Jack Willoughby, and the Duke transfer had a better game, making all five of his extra point attemtps and pounding through his lone field-goal try, a 20-yarder that might have been attempted more to help his confidence than anything else. He did kick two kickoffs out of bounds, which is less than ideal, but that'll happen with OSU's directional kicking and allowing a team to start at the 35 is better than giving up a touchdown. Cameron Johnston was more like himself -- he had a 43.6-yard average and a 57-yard boot, plus he and Terry McLaurin combined to down one at the 2 -- while Jalin Marshall popped a 32-yard return in his, well, return. So it was an improvement from the struggles of day one.


Ryan Ginn: The offensive line might be a work in progress yet again despite retaining almost its entire cast from 2014. The Slobs took some time to develop in 2014, and that might be the case again in 2015 after a nine-month offseason. With the exception of right guard Pat Elflein, the interior linemen haven’t been as good as they need to be right now. Whether that’s a function of Ed Warinner’s role as an offensive coordinator or the rust that comes with not playing for three-fourths of a year, Ohio State will have to figure out how to get those five guys back on track.

Blake Williams: The Buckeyes are not invincible. OK, I knew that already, but I did not expect the Ohio State offense to look so vulnerable against an inferior opponent. I’m sure the four days rest had an impact, even if Urban Meyer said that it was no excuse, but the complete lack of rhythm the offense exhibited for much of the day was surprising. The Buckeyes are so talented that it can be easy to forget that anybody can show cracks in the armor and the Ohio State offense reminded me of that today.

Jeff Svoboda: Well, Ohio State probably shouldn't schedule any more games with just four days of rest. The Buckeyes looked out of sync from the very beginning, and you'd have to think the short turnaround -- which left sore bodies and a contributed to a lack of prep time -- played a part. Otherwise, the results were obvious. The passing game, with its changing quarterbacks, new bodies and lack of solid line play, needs work and the run game was medicore its 3.7-yard average. Defensively, the Buckeyes were awesome, harrassing Max Wittek all day and blanketing receivers like a vintage unit. It wasn't a bad day, but there will be better ones ahead.

Tim Moody: The offensive line is the biggest surprise this season, and that’s not a good thing. “The Slobs” up front struggled mightily in pass protection, and the fumbled snaps by Cardale Jones might just be a two-way street when it comes to blame. Sure, the Buckeyes still only gave up two sacks and ran for 182 yards and four scores, but Jones and J.T. Barrett would have had a more pleasant feeling postgame had they seen more space in front of them rather than throwback-uniform-clad Rainbow Warriors. The line must improve, because Hawaii certainly isn’t the best team it will have to try to block this year. 

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