It was an impressive performance from Ohio State's offense in the 27-6 win over Cincinnati.
The Buckeyes rolled up 462 yards of total offense (220 rushing, 242 passing) and were able to move the ball most of the day against the Bearcats' defense.
In fact, probably the only thing OSU's offense did not do well was hold onto the ball. The Buckeyes turned the ball over three times (two interceptions, one fumble) and it could have been more as OSU had four fumbles in all, but recovered three of them.
"Obviously there were mistakes made," tailback Lydell Ross said. "This is the first game and we have to get better. We have to learn from those mistakes and get better day by day."
Ross carried 17 times for 142 yards and a touchdown. He jumpstarted the Buckeyes' offense with a 68-yard run early in the second quarter with the Bearcats leading 3-0. Ohio State ended up kicking a field goal to tie things up and the offense rolled from that point on.
"I was thinking end zone all the way," Ross said of his long run. "Unfortunately I didn't make it, but that's one of the mistakes that I have to correct. Maybe next time I'll have to think about giving them a shoulder, or giving them a stiff or something."
Ross went off right tackle, but said the play wasn't necessarily designed that way."
"On those plays, there are options," he said. "If you see that edge guy pinching in like that, take it outside. If there's a hole, take the hole. I just saw the opening to the outside and took it."
Head coach Jim Tressel's offensive goals are always 200 rushing yards and 250 passing. Usually, that is a goal that the Bucks fail to reach, but they were impressive today and almost pulled it off.
"I think we could do better, but we did some good things out there," Ross said. "Overall, it's a good opener. We moved the ball pretty well. We were able to run it and throw it and that balance is key. We need to have all aspects of our offense clicking and that's what happened today."
Ross tipped his cap to OSU's offensive line. It was breaking in three new starters, but fared well.
"They progressed really well," Ross said. "They opened up some nice holes for me. Not just myself, but all the backs. The O-line played well."
Ross set specific personal goals coming into the season and he is well on his way to achieving them.
"A thousand-plus yards at the end of the season and 100-plus each game," he said. "This is a good way to get started. My offensive line did a good job blocking for me and gave me the opportunity to get that 100 yards."
* Wide receiver Santonio Holmes finished the day with four receptions for a game-high 91 yards and one touchdown. A lot is expected of him this year and he started the season off on the right foot.
"It was a great day," Holmes said. "We had a lot of fun. All the guys got after it. It was hot. I think their defense came to play, but we just had to show 'em up."
Holmes only caught one ball in the first half, but was not frustrated that his number wasn't being called more.
"Not at all, it's a team game," he said. "You get out there, you block, you catch balls, you do everything you can to help the team. That's exactly what our coaches asked me to do and I went out and did it. I didn't complain at all about not catching enough balls. They just told me to be patient and the time would come."
Holmes' touchdown covered 17 yards and came on a well-thrown ball from Troy Smith on a fade route.
"We've worked on that a whole lot. A whole lot," Holmes said. "He just told me to be ready if we go in that situation. He was like, ‘Hey, heads up. Keep your eyes open because the ball might come.' Troy made a perfect pass and I made a good catch and got us in the end zone."
In a pleasant surprise, the Buckeyes used a lot of four and five receiver sets out of the shotgun against Cincinnati. Although the spread was not used much last season, Holmes was not surprised to see it so much today.
"Not at all," he said. "Our coaches told us coming into the game that everything is pretty much wide open for this week and that's exactly what they did. They mixed things up and we were pretty effective no matter what we were doing."
Overall, it was a very good day for the receiving corps and as the leader of the group, Holmes takes pride in that.
"The coaches are giving us opportunities to get out there and play football and shine. All the receivers are getting a chance to step up. We have some hungry guys and this success comes as no surprise."
* Left guard Doug Datish got his first start and played well. He knows there is room for improvement, but it was an encouraging first step.
"Yeah, it was awesome to get that first start," Datish said. "I think I played pretty well. There's obviously a lot I can get better at, but I'm satisfied with the way things went today."
The offense seemed to be clicking on all cylinders at times against Cincinnati. There were a lot of question marks coming into the season, but Datish has felt for quite some time that the offense would be good.
"You know, it started in spring and all through camp I thought we were coming together pretty well," he said. "I had big expectations coming into the season offensively and today, I think about the third series we really starting coming together. We started to play good football and moved the ball pretty well."
Datish was fired up after Ross' 68-yard jaunt. He thinks that run might have been the biggest play of the game.
"That was awesome," he said. "It got the running game going and opened up the passing game for us too."
"Yeah, I'm real excited about that," Datish said. "If I have to rotate, I'll rotate, I'll do whatever I have to do, but it was nice not getting taken out there."
Datish isn't sure if the Buckeyes were planning to rotate Kne and Downing, or if it just worked out that way.
"I have no idea," he said. "They don't talk to us about who is going to rotate and who's not. We just kind of do what (offensive line coach Jim Bollman) says."
Datish is also the backup center and got a few snaps there just to have some insurance for the future.
"Yeah, I took two snaps at center, which was kind of surprising," he said. "I don't know if they did that so I'll be ready if Nick (Mangold) gets hurt or something, but it was kind of surprising."
Datish is not one to exaggerate. It would have been easy to give the offensive line a glowing review, but he gave this assessment: "I think we were rolling a little bit on the run and I think on the pass the pocket was pretty set most of the game, so I think we did OK."
"I feel good about the way I played," Childress said. "It's a process where I just want to keep working hard and not be satisfied because I had a pretty good game. I just want to keep getting better and better each game and just keep watching film and learning."
Childress was used quite a bit in the slot against UC. He has a knack for catching the short pass and making linebackers miss.
"I always feel them, but I don't really try to change anything," he said. "I just try and think about what I am going to do with the ball after I catch it. Make sure I catch it, then make people miss. I know from practicing against great players like A.J. (Hawk) and Bobby (Carpenter) what I have to do to get out of it."
It's been a tough first four years at OSU for Childress. He came to Columbus as the reigning Mr. Football, but didn't get much playing time until the end of the 2003 season. Now entering his fifth year, it's his time to step up.
"My goal coming into this year was just to be the best wide receiver I can be, to be honest with you," he said. "I didn't really set yardage goals, I just want to play hard every game and leave it up to God and whatever happens, happens."
Childress enjoyed seeing OSU use so many four and five wide sets against Cincinnati. The Buckeyes are known as a smash-mouth running team, but the spread attack kept the Bearcats on their heels.
"Sometimes you've got to change it up," Childress said. "You can't just keep doing the same things over and over. So, Coach Tress just wanted to mix it up a little bit and that was going pretty good. I don't think (Cincinnati) was expecting to see four, five wides out of us."
Childress thinks the Bucks have a deep and talented corps of receivers.
"I feel we have a really good group of receivers," he said. "We have experience, we're deep and all of us bring something different to the table. I know some people were doubting us because we lost some really good players from last year, but I feel good about this group of receivers. Hopefully we can keep this going into next week against Marshall."
As for OSU's quarterbacks, it was a good first day. Zwick was 14 of 26 for 213 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Smith finished 2 of 3 for 29 yards and one score.
"I think our quarterbacks played real well and those guys are only going to get better," Childress said.