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The Ohio State defense bailed out an ineffective offense big time for a 48-3 win Saturday at Ohio Stadium in a game delayed 50 minutes at the half because of inclement weather.
Fourth-ranked OSU (2-0) got interception returns for touchdowns by Malik Hooker and Marshon Lattimore, the latter after a most curious play call by Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery at the end of the second quarter, and had a goal-line stuff en route to a 20-3 halftime lead against the stubborn Hurricane (1-1).
Ohio State had four interceptions and recovered two fumbles but didn’t not have an offensive TD until the third quarter after many of the soaked crowd of 104,410 in Ohio Stadium had headed to the exits.
Tulsa had 204 total yards. Quarterback Dane Evans was 15 for 32 for 127 yards and four interceptions.
The Buckeye finished with xx yards. Junior quarterback J.T Barrett ran for 55 yards and two second-half scores and was 14-22 for 149 passing yards. Freshman running back Mike Weber rushed for 92 yards on 17 carries with a TD and junior H back Curtis Samuel had a combined 140 yards (78 rushing, 62 receiving).
But don’t be fooled by the numbers. A week after rolling up a school-record 776 yards in a 77-10 win against Bowling Green, the Buckeyes could not get untracked for two quarters.
OSU had 159 yards in the first half and Barrett was 8 for 14 for 69 yards while Weber had 46 yards on eight hard carries. Senior kicker and former soccer player Tyler Durbin made field goals from 29 and 22 yards, the first two attempts of his career, to illustrate how the offense got bogged down in the red zone.
The game started under sunny skies with muggy conditions in the mid-80s and quickly went south for Tulsa on the opening drive when Evans was intercepted by Lattimore in the right flat at the Hurricane 16 on the first play.
But runs by Weber and Barrett produced only four yards and an incompletion set up the first Durbin FG with 13:23 left in the first quarter.
Tulsa drove to the OSU 46 but on a third-and-9 sophomore end Sam Hubbard sacked Kane for a 11-yard loss. On the Hurricane’s next possession it drove to the 1 of Ohio State but on fourth down James Flanders was stopped by linebackers senior Joe Burger and junior Raekwon McMillan for no gain.
After forcing an OSU punt, a good return put the Hurricane at the Ohio State 40 before McMillan tipped a pass on third down from the 20 and Redford Jones connected from 37 yards to tie the score at 3 with 3:22 left in the first.
Junior cornerback Gareon Conley frustrated the Hurricane on the last play of the quarter when he tackled receiver Justin Hobbs just shy of a first down at the Hurricane 44. The play was initially ruled a first down but after a review between quarters it was determined that Tulsa came up short.
The Buckeyes took the ensuing punt after a Dontre Wilson return at the OSU 36 and marched down to the 1 but on second down Samuel was called for a false start. Weber rushed for a yard. However, Barrett missed sophomore receiver Noah Brown in the end zone on third down and Durbin was called upon again.
OSU went up 13-3 with 3:02 to go in the second. Tulsa started from its own 17 and Hooker stepped in front of an Evans pass on the first play and ran untouched 16 yards for his third interception of the young season.
Tulsa later had a chance to run the clock out but instead tempted fate. OSU had one time out left but the Hurricane opted for a pass that fell incomplete on second down from its own 24. Throwing a wet ball into the wind, Evans then went for Nigel Carter on the left sideline only to see Lattimore turn it into a pick six with 29 seconds to go for his second interception of the game.
Ohio State established dominance after the long halftime interruption, going 72 yards in nine plays and chewing up 5:12 of the clock for a 27-3 lead at the 9:42 mark. Barrett, sprung out of the backfield by a Curtis Samuel block ran in from 11 yards.
Another long drive (84 yards, six plays) resulted in the first OSU TD for Weber, from the 1, with 47 seconds to go in the third. He had runs of 16 and nine yards and Barrett hit Samuel out of the backfield for gains of 22 and 27 to put the ball at the goal line.
Barrett’s 5-yard run with 11:15 remaining in the game made it 41-3 and senior H Dontre Wilson scored from the 5 with 5:58 left.