Welcome to the Luke Fickell era. With 8 missing players on Saturday, Ohio State was still able to shutout the Akron Zips 42-0 in front of 100,000 Buckeye fans in Ohio Stadium. NCAA suspension still remain for 4 players but 4 of the suspended players will get to play this coming weekend when OSU faces Toledo at home. Joe Bauserman showed what he could do when given the starting quarterback position with the team he has been a part for the last three seasons.
By Steve Patterson
Bauserman ran for a touchdown on the first drive of the game and threw for three more to tight end Jake Stoneburner who had a coming out party of his own. Akron has struggled of late and wasn’t able to move the ball at all against the blitzing Buckeyes on Saturday, yet it was still nice for fans of the trouble Buckeyes to see a new crop of stars emerge to dominate the lesser opponents on the schedule.
Andrew Sweat led the defense with an interception and 6 tackles, 2 for a loss. Dominic Clarke stepped up at the cornerback position with Travis Howard suspended and had two great pass breakups. The defensive line pressured the Zips and wouldn’t allow any kind of a running game for the majority of the game. A slimmer Jonathan Hankins looked great in the noise tackle spot.
Freshman that came up big included quarterback Braxton Miller who got a number of drives in the second half and looked impressive distributing the ball. Devin Smith showed why he had great reviews all fall camp at the wide receiver position, catching 3 passes for 52 yards and a score. And running back Rod Smith shared carries with Carlos Hyde, but still producing 74 yards and a score.
Ohio State hopes to keep the Toledo Rocket offense under similar duress on Saturday while producing on the offensive side of the ball themselves. If the Buckeyes can enter the Big Ten season 4-0 against a soft non-conference schedule, they will have put the NCAA violations behind them for the most part and be ready to make a run for another Big Ten title.