COLUMBUS, Ohio — It was worse than advertised, and it was expected to be pretty bad.
The best news about Saturday’s Ohio State-Florida A&M game is that it’s over and both sides can return to their respective football galaxies. There’s really nothing good about a 76-0 game, including that it could have been worse.
The good news and wins keep coming for No. 3 Ohio State, and now the 4-0 Buckeyes look forward to what might be a couple of actual challenges. Florida A&M did not provide one in a game interesting only because running back Carlos Hyde returned from suspension and quarterback Braxton Miller still has not returned from his knee injury. Super sub Kenny Guiton threw a school-record six touchdown passes, all in the first half, to five different players.
It’s all systems go from here — head coach Urban Meyer said expects Miller to be ready — as an Ohio State team that believes it can be good enough to play with the nation’s best moves past a laughable non-conference schedule and onto bigger and better opponents and trophies they were not eligible to play for a season ago.
“The expectation level on offense is real high,” Meyer said. “We have some weapons. I kind of like where we are.”
The FCS Rattlers provided little opposition on Saturday. Ohio State had 48 points and 17 first downs before Florida A&M got one first down.
Florida A&M punted three times in the first five minutes. The third was blocked. Even when Guiton threw an interception on Ohio State’s first drive, Florida A&M’s Patrick Aiken inexplicably tried to run it out of the end zone and fumbled. Ohio State got it and scored on the next play. The Buckeyes first three scoring drives covered one play, one play and two plays.
It was 34-0 after one quarter and 55-0 at halftime. Ohio State went for two after its second touchdown apparently confident that failing to convert would not come back to haunt it later in the game.
Florida A&M got $900,000 for playing the game. So, everybody goes home kind of happy.
With its first shutout of the Meyer Era, Ohio State rides a 16-game win streak into hosting Wisconsin in the Big Ten opener next week. Unbeaten Northwestern, which doesn’t play next week, hosts Ohio State on the following Saturday.
“I think we’ll be pretty close to full strength next week,” Meyer said. “You come to Ohio State to compete for the Big 10 championship and that…actually started in a meeting just a minute ago.
“We have to get the Buckeyes ready to go.”
Meyer said he wanted to play Miller against Florida A&M but decided to hold him until Miller can be as mobile as he wants and needs to be. He said the Buckeyes go forward with Miller as their starting quarterback.
Hyde caught a short touchdown pass and ran five times for 41 yards on Saturday. He’ll likely play a bigger role going forward but probably won’t take the starting job from Jordan Hall, who ran for two more touchdowns and has eight on the season. Ohio State spread the wealth throughout the game with eight players officially recording rushing yards and 10 recording at least one catch.
“Are we prepared (Big Ten play)? I like to think we are,” Meyer said. “We’ll get that answered for sure next week.”