Gus Johnson began the broadcast on FOX by saying that a new era had arrived at Ohio State. In the first eight minutes of the game, everything seemed new — and revamped — from the Ohio State Buckeyes. Justin Fields was running and throwing touchdowns; the Buckeye defense was stifling FAU tight end Harrison Bryant; and on special teams, Demario McCall had a few instances where he was one or two blocks away from housing a return. When the final whistle blew inside Ohio Stadium, the Buckeyes stifled the Florida Atlantic Owls, 45-21.
Twenty-eight of OSU’s points came in the first quarter. Fields scored the opening touchdown on his own, keeping an option and rushing it 51 yards into the scarlet end zone on the north side of the stadium. The remaining three first-quarter scores came from the air. Fields found Jeremy Ruckert, Chris Olave and Binjimen Victor, seemingly scoring at will. The Buckeyes took the foot off the gas the rest of the way, but that’s what a 28-point first quarter affords you, especially when the defense holds FAU’s offense to negative 14 yards in the first half.
Fields ended his Columbus debut going 18-of-25 for 234 yards. He had four passing touchdowns, with Ruckert hauling in two of them. Olave had the best overall day for Zone 6; including his early TD, the sophomore reeled in four receptions for 68 yards.
On the ground, J.K. Dobbins began his trek for a third 1,000-yard season by gaining 91 yards against FAU. The Buckeyes’ top back carried the ball 21 times and tallied a TD in the fourth quarter. Dobbins ended the day as OSU’s leading rusher; Fields had the second best day on the ground, going for 61 yards on 12 carries.
Defensively, the first half was spectacular for the Scarlet and Gray. The Owl offense couldn’t get anything going and was held to six points. However, FAU was able to break into positive total yardage in the third quarter, before securing two second half touchdowns. Quarterback Chris Robison was sacked four times, with Chase Young being credited for 1.5 of those sacks.