Barrett’s 6 TD passes lead No. 22 Buckeyes, 66-0
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Down and disappointed, No. 22 Ohio State needed a lift.
A rout of an overmatched opponent couldn’t have come at a better time.
J.T. Barrett matched a school record with six touchdown passes — five in the first half — to lead the 22nd-ranked Buckeyes to a 66-0 victory over Kent State on Saturday.
“Where are we and do I like where we’re at?” head coach Urban Meyer repeated. “You still have a sick feeling in your stomach about last week. But we’re moving forward.”
Consider the Buckeyes officially over their 35-21 home loss to Virginia Tech a week earlier.
“We had a pretty good idea what they were going to do,” said Barrett, the redshirt freshman who stepped in when three-year starter Braxton Miller was lost for the year after shoulder surgery. “We worked on a game plan all week and it turned out pretty good for us.”
This one was over early, with the Buckeyes up 14-0 after the opening 5½ minutes, 21-0 after a quarter and 45-0 at the half.
“Some people say, ‘Oh, you shouldn’t play them,’” Meyer said of the mismatch. “I think you should play them. You can’t forecast when you make this scheduling that you’re going to have a new quarterback and a young offensive line. This is what the doctor ordered.”
The win was the 39th in a row over an in-state opponent for the Buckeyes (2-1), who haven’t lost since a 7-6 setback to Oberlin in 1921.
Kent State (0-3) got $850,000 to get pounded before a crowd of 104,404 at Ohio Stadium.
Now the Buckeyes, who plummeted 14 spots in the polls and weathered a lot of criticism after last week’s 35-21 loss at home to the Hokies, have a bye week before hosting Cincinnati on Sept. 27.
Curtis Samuel ran for 100 yards and two touchdowns and Rod Smith ran for one and also caught a TD pass for the Buckeyes, who totaled 628 yards of offense while limiting Kent State to 126.
It was the third meeting between the teams, with Ohio State winning by an average score of 55-7.
Paul Haynes, in his second season with the Golden Flashes, was an assistant at Ohio State for seven seasons. He wasn’t a bit surprised by the Buckeyes’ bounce-back.
“The expectations for them are so high that they lose one and the world falls apart,” he said. “They’re still a good team, they still have great athletes. At the end of the year, in November, they’ll probably be fighting for a championship.”
Barrett finished 23 of 30 for 312 yards with an interception. He became the first Ohio State quarterback to throw for more than 300 yards since Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith did against Michigan in 2006. His six TD passes tied the mark set a year ago by Kenny Guiton against Florida A&M.
The Golden Flashes hadn’t given up 60 points in a game since a 63-21 loss to Connecticut in 2002. The game represented Kent State’s most lopsided loss since a 56-0 defeat at Miami (Ohio) in 1998.
Colin Reardon completed 14 of 27 passes for 76 yards with three interceptions for Kent State, with Nathan Strock 1 of 7 for 3 yards.
“When we got down, we tried to keep everybody up,” said Golden Flashes safety Nate Holley. “But it’s a hard thing to do.”
Kent State wore No. 54 stickers on the side of their helmets in memory of teammate Jason Bitsko. The fourth-year junior was set to be the team’s starting center when he died unexpectedly in August.
Barrett’s scoring passes covered 14 and 63 yards to Michael Thomas, 8 yards to Rod Smith, 2 yards to Marcus Baugh, 50 yards to Devin Smith and 8 yards to Jalin Marshall.
“Time to move on,” Meyer said. “A bye week and then get ready (for Cincinnati).”
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