Ohio State opens season with record-setting day

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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The Buckeyes run out of the tunnel at Ohio Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews


Tulsa at Ohio State, 3:30 p.m., ABC, 1410

Mike Weber wasted no time. He needed one carry to prove he could possibly be the next Ezekiel Elliott, Carlos Hyde or Eddie George.

On his first rush for the Ohio State Buckeyes, the redshirt freshman Weber lowered his shoulder, bowled over Bowling Green cornerback Marcus Milton, who had a 10-pound disadvantage, and gained 18 yards. It would be Weber’s longest run of the day in a 77-10 victory at Ohio Stadium. He averaged 7.2 yards per carry and looked on the verge of a breakaway run half the time he touched the ball.

“I was nervous all week,” Weber said. “I was wondering how I was going to do. I was wondering how it was going to turn out. After that first quarter, everything went away, and I was just playing ball again.”

Weber led the Buckeyes with 136 yards on 19 carries. All but one run went for three yards or more. He was never stopped for no gain or lost yards.

Ohio State’s offense picked up right where it left off last season when it beat Michigan 42-13 on the road and then Notre Dame 44-28 in the Fiesta Bowl. This was not the offense that struggled to beat Northern Illinois 20-13 in the third game last season or the unit that looked lost on a cold, wet night in November when Michigan State beat the Buckeyes 17-14 on a last-second field goal.

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The Buckeyes lost a number of great players to the NFL but played a bunch of new ones Saturday who could turn out to be just as good. The next test comes at 3:30 p.m. Saturday when they host Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane opened the season with a 45-10 victory at home against San Jose State.

Ohio State set a school record with 776 yards of total offense against the Falcons. It was Ohio State’s most productive offensive day since it compiled 713 yards against Mount Union in 1930.

“We sat down right after we played Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl,” Ohio State coach Ed Warinner said. “We talked about what we wanted to do to get this team playing on offense the way we want. We put that plan in place. Coach (Urban) Meyer was the leader of it. The coaching staff did a great job the whole offseason. The players did a great job. It culminated with a nice start today.”

Weber teamed with hybrid backs Curtis Samuel and Dontre Wilson. Samuel rushed 13 times for 84 yards and caught nine passes for 177 yards. Wilson rushed five times for 36 yards and caught three passes for 37 yards. Samuel and Wilson each caught two touchdown passes from Barrett. Samuel also rushed for a score.

“Those three guys really did it for us,” Barrett said. “They can a lot of things. Sometimes the ball wasn’t even intended for them, and they were able to find a way to get open.”

The offense plans to play at a fast tempo all season. It worked against Bowling Green. Barrett told the offensive line, “If we play fast, they’re more tired than you. It’s easier to block.”

At that point, it clicked with the line, Barrett said, and they realized, “the tempo stuff isn’t that bad.”

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