Buckeyes warm up for Badgers by scoring 76

Ohio State riding 16-game win streak
Buckeyes warm up for Badgers by scoring 76

There was nothing that overmatched Florida A&M could do Saturday to compete with fourth-ranked Ohio State.

The Buckeyes pummeled the Rattlers on the ground and through the air in Ohio Stadium, scoring 55 points in the first half and rolling to a 76-0 victory on Saturday in a non-conference mismatch with an FCS opponent that extended the nation’s longest winning streak to 16 games.

Quarterback Braxton Miller sat out his second straight game because of a sprained left knee, but the Buckeyes hardly needed him.

Backup Kenny Guiton filled in impressively again, completing 24-of-34 passes for 215 yards and setting a school record with six touchdown passes in the first half, before most of the starters took the rest of the day off.

“He’s an efficient player right now,” said coach Urban Meyer, who remained unbeaten at Ohio State in his second season. “He’s an incredible manager, (a) coach on the field.”

The beatdown was Ohio State’s largest margin of victory since an 85-7 win over Drake in 1935.

“A good effort by our guys,” Meyer said. “They came out and played well, came out and played fast, got a lot of people in the game.”

The Buckeyes (4-0) overwhelmed the rebuilding Rattlers (1-3) from the start.

Ohio State had more points in the first 15 minutes than Florida A&M produced in yards (27) and didn’t yield a first down until there were a little more than five minutes left in the second quarter.

Ohio State outgained Florida A&M, 326-54, in the first half and finished with a 603-80 advantage in total yards and a 20-2 margin in first downs.

So dominant were the Buckeyes that they ran 47 plays in the first half and had 21 first downs en route to a 55-0 lead at halftime.

“As a defense, we shut them out and that was our goal,” said Buckeyes cornerback Bradley Roby, who had an interception in the first half. “It’s always a good felling leaving the game with a goose egg.”

Running back Carlos Hyde made his season debut for Ohio State after a three-game suspension resulting from a summer incident at a Columbus nightclub.

Hyde picked up a first down on a fourth-and-one with his first carry in the opening quarter and then scored on a one-yard touchdown pass from Guiton. Hyde rushed for 41 yards on five carries before his day ended in the first half.

The game began with a bizarre sequence.

Florida State A&M’s Patrick Aiken intercepted Guiton’s pass in the end zone, elected to run it out from seven yards deep and fumbled the ball back to the Buckeyes at the two-yard line.

“I got caught up on the moment, actually,” Aiken said. “I should have just kneed the ball and we would have had the ball on the 20. It was a mental error. It took momentum away from us.”

On the next play, Jordan Hall ran three yards for a touchdown to give Ohio State a 7-0 lead. And the rout was on.

“We had an interception and a chance to start on our 20, but we fumbled the ball and they got the ball back,” Rattlers coach Earl Holmes said.

“It took the momentum away form us. We had a chance to take the momentum away from them.”

The Buckeyes’ first three scoring drives took four, six and 36 seconds.

The second touchdown came on an 11-yard pass from Guiton to tight end Jeff Heuerman after a long punt return by Philly Brown.

The third touchdown was an eight-yard pass from Guiton to wide receiver Evan Spencer after a blocked punt deep in Florida A&M territory.

From there, it was only a matter of how many points the Buckeyes could score in their final tuneup before beginning Big Ten play at home next Saturday night against No. 24 Wisconsin.

“We got some good work out there today,” Buckeyes cornerback Doran Grant said. “We looked at this as a game to help us prep for the upcoming Big Ten season.”

Ohio State freshman Ezekiel Elliott saw extensive time at running back, scoring on two touchdown runs in the third quarter and leading the Buckeyes in rushing with 162 yards on 14 carries.

Spencer caught two touchdown passes and Hall also finished with two rushing touchdowns.

Holmes had no problem with the Buckeyes continuing to score in the fourth quarter. Reserve quarterback Cardale Jones ended the bludgeoning with a 10-yard run with 1:15 left.

“We don’t want a pity party,” Holmes said.

NOTES: Ohio State has outscored its opponents, 122-14, in the first quarter in four games this season. … Florida A&M’s record against FBS teams fell to 1-22. Their only win was against the University of Miami in 1979. … Coach Earl Holmes of Florida International played for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns in the NFL, and was a teammate of Ohio State defensive line coach Mike Vrabel with the Steelers. … Ohio State was 10-for-10 in the red zone entering the game, with nine touchdowns and one field goal. … The Buckeyes’ 16-game winning streak is the fifth longest in school history. The record is 22 straight from 1967 to 1969.