Buckeyes roll in opener
Brandon Saine exploded on Marshall for 103 yards and two touchdowns in the Buckeyes’ impressive 45-7 opening-night victory. Saine ran it only nine times (eight in the first half), averaged 12.9 yards per carry and sat nearly the entire second half—which alone shows how important Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel views him to Ohio State’s offense.
Pryor played into the fourth quarter, but one second-half run was enough for Tressel to park the back and save him for Miami next week.
Pryor didn’t turn the ball over while throwing for 247 yards and three touchdowns and the Buckeyes forced three turnovers against a Marshall team that only scored on special teams. The Thundering Herd appeared overmatched and, at times, intimidated.
Return man Andre Booker fumbled the game’s opening kickoff when he was drilled by freshman linebacker Dorian Bell, setting up Ohio State’s first easy touchdown on a Pryor pass to DeVier Posey for a quick 7-0 lead.
Marshall’s corners left huge cushions against OSU receivers when matched in single coverage, allowing Pryor to play pitch and catch. The Herd’s offense, with its best chance at points in the third quarter, fumbled the ball away when Chimdi Chekwa stripped Martin Ward on Ohio State’s 7-yard line.
But the night’s surprising star was Saine, who rushed for 739 yards and four touchdowns last year while stuck in a timeshare with Dan Herron. Now that Saine is healthy, Herron is slowly being evicted.
Saine does not have quite the power of Beanie Wells, but he has speed similar to Ted Ginn. That was evident on his 45-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, when he burst through the line in three strides and was gone. No one wearing Marshall green and white had a chance to catch him short of the end zone on a night littered with big plays.
Ohio State’s offense struck for four plays of at least 25 yards—Saine had a 40-yard run in addition to the long touchdown and Pryor had completions to Dane Sanzenbacher for 28 and 65 yards.
That doesn’t include Brian Rolle’s 30-yard interception return for a touchdown, which put the Buckeyes ahead 35-7 at the half on a night they were never threatened.
The Buckeyes totaled 526 yards (277 rushing) to 198 yards for Marshall in their biggest season-opening win over a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent (Division I-A) since pounding Rice 70-7 in 1996. (The Buckeyes beat Youngstown State in 2008, 43-0).