COLUMBUS — The goals for the Buckeyes on Saturday afternoon were to get a win, using the game to fine-tune some things as they head into the heart of their Big Ten schedule, and not suffer any major injuries.
The Buckeyes finished with checks across their to-do list, although several players did suffer some minor nicks and cuts during the 48-3 victory.
Chris “Beanie” Wells, who was already nursing an ankle injury, rushed only four times for 17 yards and a touchdown, free safety Anderson Russell had to be helped off the field during the second quarter and linebacker James Laurinaitis suffered a hip-pointer in the first half and didn’t play the final two quarters.
“I think Anderson kind of rolled the same ankle that he’d been nursing,” Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel said. “(Wells) is having to deal with some pain, but he’s really passionate about helping this football team and Beanie’s the kind of guy who’s going to work through that pain because he knows what’s important.
“Having him in there toting it a whole bunch today probably wasn’t going to be necessary.”
Laurinaitis calmed the nerves of Buckeye nation.
“It’s nothing serious,” the sophomore All-American said. “I just got kicked in the hip and was getting stiff. At one point, Coach (Luke) Fickell talked with the trainers and made the decision to keep me out.”
Tressel emptied his bench during the second half, and the second and third strings got some work in. The move was beneficial to rookie running back Brandon Saine, who used the two quarters to lead the team in receiving (nine catches for 69 yards) and rushing (five carries for 76 yards).
The performance was encouraging because Saine was also nursing a sore knee.
“It’s not an issue at all for me,” he said. “I’m not thinking about it and it doesn’t hurt. I just have to perform at the level I’m used to and everything else will take care of itself.”
The Kent State roster boasted a trio of players from area high schools.
Freshman tight end Kyle Reese from Olmsted Falls and freshman wide receiver Anthony Capasso, a Columbia Station resident who played for St. Edward, didn’t get to play in Saturday’s game against Ohio State. But redshirt sophomore quarterback Jon Brown from Westlake got back on the football field for the first time since 2005, his freshman season.
Brown, who redshirted last season, played in seven games and started one during his freshman season. He lettered for the Golden Flashes after completing 60 of 90 passes for 474 yards and two touchdowns. He posted a .619 completion percentage and a 101.46 quarterback rating.
Brown came in with 6:08 to play in the fourth quarter, promptly handing the ball to running back Christien Haywood three times for 9 yards. Brown got the call on fourth down and plunged for 2 yards and a first down. After two runs for losses, Brown completed his one pass for 7 yards and Kent State ruined Ohio State’s shutout with a Nate Reed 34-yard field goal.
Buckeyes vs. Ohio state
Ohio State improved to 174-48-15 against the state of Ohio with the win.
This season was the first time the Buckeyes faced three opponents from their home state since 1926, when they defeated Wittenberg 40-0, Ohio Wesleyan 47-0 and Wilmington 13-7. The Buckeyes also defeated Youngstown State and Akron earlier this season.
“This is what college football is all about — the environment,” Kent State nose tackle Colin Ferrell said. “I don’t know how many thousands were here but it is every kid’s dream to play college football in an environment like this.”
The Buckeyes haven’t lost to an Ohio team since a 7-6 defeat to Oberlin College in 1921.
The No. 3 Buckeyes are the highest-ranked team the Golden Flashes have every played — No. 8 Ohio State in 2002 was their previous high. Kent State is now 0-20 all-time against ranked opponents.
• Kent State is 0-2 against Ohio State — including the 51-17 defeat in 2002 — and
0-9 against the Big Ten.
• Saturday’s game marked the first time this season Kent State didn’t score first or lead at the half.
• The Golden Flashes rushed for 161 yards — the best of any Ohio State opponent this year. Unfortunately, it was the first time this season Kent State failed to top the 200-yard mark.
Ohio State improved to 377-104-20 in Ohio Stadium, winning their last 16 in The Horseshoe. The Buckeyes’ all-time record in Columbus is 520-151-35.
• Ohio State is 409-124-14 as a top-25 team.
• The Buckeyes have scored at least one touchdown in 133 consecutive games.
• A crowd of 105,051 attended Saturday’s game, marking the 38th straight time Ohio State has topped the 100,00 mark at home.
• Former Buckeye linebacker Ike Kelley (1963-65) served as honorary captain.
Brian Hartline, OSU wide receiver
Hartline caught a 25-yard pass on third-and-7 on the opening drive, then scored on a 14-yard pass from Todd Boeckman. He made it 14-0 by returning a punt 90 yards for a touchdown — a school record. Hartline, the Buckeyes’ under-the-radar No. 2 wide receiver, finished with three catches for 47 yards, ran once on a reverse for 7 yards and had three punt returns for 95 yards — leading the team with 149 all-purpose yards.
“Hart came around the corner and he was just gone,” Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said of Hartline’s punt return. “The kid can run. That was huge — talk about a 90-yard field position swing.”
Doug Martin, Kent State coach
The Golden Flashes were finding early offensive success — albeit not on the scoreboard — yet Martin inexplicably started substituting for the team’s top performers. Junior quarterback Julian Edelman was pulled for redshirt sophomore Anthony Magazu — who threw an interception that was returned 70 yards by Donald Washington for a touchdown — and running back Eugene Jarvis — who picked up 52 yards on eight carries in the first quarter — saw his carries diminish as both freshman Andre Flowers and sophomore Christian Haywood were used steadily during the second quarter while the Buckeyes built their lead.
“I think they came in with the thought of making sure they left healthy because they’ve got a big conference race coming up,” said Tressel when asked why he thought Jarvis was pulled from the game.
THE TURNING POINT
Hold that drive
After Ohio State scored on the game’s opening drive to make it 7-0, Kent State looked as if it would answer as Edelman orchestrated an opening drive that was steamrolling the Buckeyes defense. The Golden Flashes picked up three first downs to the Ohio State 25-yard line, then an incomplete pass was followed by a Travis McGraw holding penalty that took Kent State out of field goal range. Edelman was sacked on
third-and-17, ending the Flashes’ best scoring chance all day.
“We made some mistakes we can’t make playing the No. 3 team in the country,” Kent State nose tackle Colin Ferrell said.
Contact Shaun Bennett at 329-7137 or email@example.com.