A slow start by the Ohio State Buckeyes ultimately gave way to the expected blowout as the Buckeyes routed the Miami Redhawks, 76-5, on Saturday in Ohio Stadium.
Quarterback Justin Fields led the Buckeyes with six total touchdowns —four passing and two rushing — while accounting for 259 yards of total offense in just two quarters of play.
The Ohio State defense held Miami to just 106 yards of offense in the first half.
Coming into the game as nearly 40-point favorites, Ohio State got off to an inauspicious start. Following a Miami punt on the opening drive, Ohio State was pinned deep inside its own territory.
On second down, Fields dropped back deep into his own end zone and was stripped by Miami linebacker Myles Reid. The ball bounced out of the back of the end zone for a safety, giving the Redhawks an early 2-0 lead.
Following a punt on Ohio State’s next drive, Miami mounted a 14-play drive to the Ohio State 2-yard line. Backed up to their own goal line, the Buckeye defense stood strong, forcing a Miami field goal by kicker Sam Sloman to push the Redhawks’ lead to 5-0 with 7:25 left in the first quarter.
Ohio State (4-0) finally woke up on the ensuing drive, marching seven plays and 75 yards in just over two minutes. The drive was capped by a 26-yard touchdown run by J.K. Dobbins to give the Buckeyes a 7-5 lead with a little over five minutes remaining in the opening period.
From there, the flood gates opened for Ohio State. After the two teams traded punts on the next two drives, Fields found K.J. Hill for a 53-yard touchdown pass on the opening drive of the second quarter — Fields’ longest touchdown pass of his career — to up the Ohio State lead to 14-5. The drive ate all of 37 seconds of game clock.
Scoring fast would become a theme for the rest of the quarter. Jeff Okudah recored his first collegiate interception on the first play of the ensuing drive, and Ohio State turned the takeaway into more points just 29 seconds later on a Fields 7-yard touchdown run, giving the Buckeyes a 21-5 lead.
Ohio State added touchdowns on its next four drives to end the first half with six straight possessions ending in touchdowns and giving the Buckeyes a 49-5 lead heading into the locker room. The 42 second-quarter points were the most scored by a Buckeye offense in a single quarter since at least 1960.
Head coach Ryan Day made wholesale substitutions to begin the second half as all starters’ days were finished after the first half. But there was no letup from the reserves as the onslaught continued throughout the remainder of the game.
Backup quarterback Chris Chugunov found freshman Garrett Wilson for a 38-yard strike on a spectacular catch by Wilson to increase Ohio State’s lead to 56-5 with 9:00 remaining in the third quarter.
The touchdown pass was Chugunov’s first of his Ohio State career, and he would add another in the third quarter to freshman running back Marcus Crowley.
Not to be outdone, fellow backup quarterback Gunnar Hoak got in on the action with a 61-yard touchdown pass to Jameson Williams early in the fourth quarter to increase the Ohio State lead to 70-5.
A Crowley 2-yard run with 3:02 remaining in the game capped off the 71-point rout.
Ohio State finished the game with 601 yards of total offense while holding Miami to just 130 yards, including 24 yards in the second half. Defensive end Chase Young was his dominant self, leading the Silver Bullets with two sacks, each of which was of the strip-sack variety that led to turnovers.
Following the game, Day said he was very pleased with the way his team came to play against Miami, despite the slow start.
“I thought we had a really good week of practice,” Day said. “I thought the coaches did a really good job preparing them, and I’m really proud of the way they played. To come out like that after three weeks and a week of a lot of people telling us how great we were, to come out and dominate like that is pretty impressive.”
However, Day said the team will waste little time celebrating this win and will get started on preparing for Nebraska almost immediately.
“Job well done (today) but it’s, ‘what have you done for me lately,’ and we have to go into Lincoln (Nebraska) next week and get a big win,” Day said.
Ohio State will travel to Nebraska to take on the Cornhuskers next Saturday. Kickoff for the game is set for primetime at 7:30 p.m.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.