Barrett throws five TDs as No. 10 Ohio State routs UNLV
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State slung the ball all over the lot and UNLV simply had no answer Saturday.
J.T. Barrett and Dwayne Haskins combined for seven touchdown passes as the Buckeyes finished with a school-record 474 yards passing in a 54-21 victory over the Rebels in a nonconference mismatch in Ohio Stadium.
No. 10 Ohio State (3-1) opened a 38-0 lead midway through the second quarter and began to substitute liberally the rest of the way on a warm afternoon in its final game before the Big Ten season begins in earnest next week.
Barrett threw for five touchdowns in just over 21 minutes and the only question from that point was whether the Buckeyes would cover the 40-point spread. They fell one TD short.
In less than a half, Barrett completed 12 of 17 passes for 209 yards before giving way to Haskins. Barrett, a senior who has been criticized by fans at times for his lack of accuracy, moved past Bobby Hoying and into second place in Ohio State career passing yards.
Did Barrett silence some of his critics with that performance?
“I started the press conference thanking our fan base for being there,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said, “but I’m not going to take a poll and ask them. Not being disrespectful to our fans, but quarterback’s a tough position and he’s continuing to work on it.”
Haskins, the team’s No. 2 quarterback, was impressive in his own right, adding two touchdown passes. The redshirt freshman connected on 15 of 23 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns.
His only mistake was throwing an interception that was returned 65 yards for a touchdown by UNLV’s Javin White with 13:00 remaining in the game.
“I think Dwayne played pretty good,” Meyer said. “But that’s inexcusable (on the pick-six). Throw it right to the guy. Obviously, it’s a young player, a freshman. And they’ve got to go through that.”
As for the rest of the offense, Ohio State set a school record with seven different receivers catching a touchdown pass. Thirteen players caught at least one pass and nine had two or more receptions.
The Buckeyes finished with 664 total yards and limited the Rebels (1-2) to 264 yards, with only 88 through the air.
Asked his thoughts on the Ohio State offense, Meyer said, “Probably the same thoughts as everybody else. Let’s go do it against a team that’s equally matched.”
Freshman running back J.K. Dobbins, averaging 149.3 rushing yards in Ohio State’s first three games, ran for 95 yards on 14 carries before taking the second half off.
UNLV running back Lexington Thomas rushed for two touchdowns in the second half, one of those a 55-yard breakaway. He gained 84 yards on 12 carries.
Rebels freshman quarterback Armani Rogers completed 11 of 19 passes for 88 yards with two interceptions. He was sacked four times.
“Proud of my guys,” UNLV coach Tony Sanchez said. “I tell you what, they never stopped fighting. They hung in there and kept playing hard against a high-caliber football team. You make a mistake against a team like Ohio State and they are going to make you pay, and they did that a lot of that early on.”
Ohio State raced to a 38-0 lead in the first 21 minutes of the game and led 44-7 at halftime.
Before the first half ended, six different receivers caught touchdown passes for the Buckeyes.
On Ohio State’s second play of the game, Parris Campbell turned a short pass from Barrett into a 69-yard touchdown to set the tone.
Later in the first quarter, Barrett hooked up with Johnnie Dixon for a 16-yard scoring strike to make it 14-0.
The Buckeyes added a defensive score with 1:02 left in the first quarter when defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones tackled Thomas in the end zone for a safety.
Campbell returned the ensuing kickoff 82 yards to set up a 3-yard touchdown pass from Barrett to Binjamin Victor to start the second quarter.
On UNLV’s next possession, Ohio State cornerback Damon Arnette intercepted a Rogers pass and returned it 42 yards to the UNLV 7-yard line. Barrett put the ball in end zone again with a 4-yard pass to Terry McLaurin for a 30-0 lead.
Barrett added his fifth touchdown pass of the half after an interception by Ohio State safety Damon Webb. An 11-yard hookup with K.J. Hill capped an 11-play, 59-yard drive.
UNLV ended the shutout with a 2-yard touchdown run by Thomas with 3:32 left before halftime.
Ohio State closed out the first-half scoring with Haskins coming into the game and throwing a 28-yard touchdown strike to C.J. Saunders, who finished with a team-best six receptions for 102 yards.
Haskins added a 38-yard touchdown pass to Rashod Berry in the second half.
NOTES: Ohio State backup QB Joe Burrow was cleared this week to play after suffering a broken hand in preseason practice. He entered the game in the fourth quarter and was 4-of-4 passing for 37 yards. ... Ohio State RB Mike Weber, slowed all season by a hamstring injury, sat out the game. ... UNLV is 5-39 against ranked teams. Its last win over a ranked opponent was in 2008 against Arizona State. ... Ohio State and UNLV met for the first time. Ohio State coach Urban Meyer is 3-0 vs. the Rebels, winning twice while he was at Utah. ... Ohio State’s 13 tackles for loss were the most since it had 13 against Michigan in 2008. DE Nick Bosa led a career-best three tackles for loss.