NORMAN, Okla. — Well, that was unexpected.
Ohio State treated Oklahoma the same way it treated Bowling Green and Tulsa, routing the No. 14 Sooners by a 45-24 margin. It probably should have been worse, but a Joe Mixon fumble on a 97-yard kickoff return went uncalled and gifted the Sooners seven points on a night when they sure needed them.
— Sean Merriman (@BTNSean) September 18, 2016
What we learned
1. Noah Brown is good at football
What more is there to say about a guy who caught four touchdowns and pulled in one of the most amazing catches in recent memory? The sophomore wide receiver from New Jersey was the talk of Ohio State before breaking his leg in fall camp in 2015 and showed why tonight. He was superior from the start and was unguardable in the red zone tonight.
— The Buckeye Nut (@TheBuckeyeNut) September 18, 2016
It’s not hard to imagine what Ohio State could’ve done last season with a player of his talents.
2. It’s still not wise to throw on Ohio State
Ohio State added to its interception total, picking off two more passes and running back one of those for a touchdown. Against Heisman candidate Baker Mayfield, the Buckeyes wreaked havoc all night. Marshon Lattimore also had another spectacular would-be interception that was overturned on review.
3. Youth isn’t a factor
There were questions about how Ohio State would perform in a hostile environment, but those were answered pretty sufficiently. None of the 16 new starters looked uncomfortable in a stadium that managed to get pretty loud in the first half when the result was still in question.
4. Be careful what you say
Oklahoma backup quarterback Austin Kendall went on TV and described Ohio State’s defense as “basic,” predicting that Mayfield would have a field day against the Buckeyes. To say that perked up the ears of the Ohio State defense would be an understatement.
— Marshon Lattimore (@shonrp2) September 15, 2016
The Buckeyes’ basic defense caused problems for Mayfield all night and likely ensured a long night for Kendall both in the locker room and on the internet.
5. Cam Johnston is a weapon
The Australian punter put on a clinic against the Sooners, beginning with a 68-yard punt and ending with a fourth quarter punt that trickled all the way down to the 1-yard line. Oklahoma was constantly operating deep in its own territory because of Johnston’s ability. He’s been very good in each of his three previous years at Ohio State, as well, but has performed on another level this season.
Jerome Baker’s interception returned for a touchdown on Oklahoma’s second series of the game woke up a defense that got largely outplayed on its first drive before holding the Sooners to a missed field goal attempt. Ohio State went up 14-0 and never looked back.
How good is Ohio State? Tonight showed the Buckeyes belong as one of the best teams in the country and have the talent to compete with anyone at any place.
What’s next? It will be key for Ohio State to make sure it follows up this performance without any letdown games. The spotlight only gets brighter from here.
Thirty-five. It was going to be crucial for Ohio State to get off to a good start on the road, and the Buckeyes went out and scored 35 points in the first half to enter halftime with an 18-point lead. It was the most first-half points scored by a visiting Oklahoma opponent in the 91-year history of Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.
What it means
Ohio State is good, and there’s not really any doubt about it anymore.