The Bobcats, fresh off a home loss to Division I-AA Northern Iowa, gave Ohio State trouble with their triple-option offense. Ohio's defense also handled the Buckeyes for most of the first half. In fact, midway though the second quarter the Bobcats were holding a 10-3 lead.
Then Ohio State responded with a dominant second half en route to a 40-16 victory.
"This game will make an old man out of you," Cooper told reporters after the game.
Things started well enough for the Buckeyes. Ohio State took the opening kick and drove 59 yards on 11 plays, but the Bobcats forced the Buckeyes to settle for a 31-yard field goal by Dan Stultz. Ohio responded with a 44-yard field goal by Kevin Kerr to tie the game, and the Bobcats eventually took the lead on a 3-year touchdown run by Chad Brinker with 4:26 left before halftime.
"I couldn't believe the plays they were making," said OSU linebacker Na'il Diggs of the Bobcats' first-half offensive output.
Ohio State went into halftime tied at 10 thanks to a 66-yard, 10-play drive capped by a 15-yard touchdown reception by Ken-Yon Rambo from quarterback Steve Bellisari.
Said Rambo: "(The touchdown) was very important because if we had gone in 10-3, I don't know how people would have reacted in the second half."
Fortunately for Rambo and the rest of the Buckeyes, Ohio State reacted well to its first-half adversity in the second half. The Buckeyes outscored Ohio 24-0 in the third quarter. Tailback Michael Wiley scored two touchdowns, from 1 and 15 yards out. Rambo added a 68-yard scoring reception, and Stultz added a 31-yard field goal with 2:11 left in the quarter.
Both teams added touchdown runs in the fourth quarter, with Derek Combs scoring on a 15-yard scamper for OSU.
Despite the lopsided final score, Cooper was still not happy about his team's performance.
"I learned you better be prepared, you better go out there and play with a little enthusiasm," Cooper said. "We don't fear anybody, but you better have great respect for everyone you play.
"We need to play with more enthusiasm, but that's not an excuse. I mean, you've got to go out there and play well regardless of who you play."
Added Bellisari, who made his first career start a week after rallying OSU past UCLA: "We definitely didn't come out with the same excitement we had last week. I think it was a good learning lesson. We're going to have to come out every game and play hard. You can't take anyone for granted. There are a lot of great athletes out there and you have to be ready for them."