There's a reason they call it "the" Ohio State University: when it's against in-state opponents, the Buckeyes always back it up.
Ohio State's offense carved up Cincinnati, logging 700 yards and 45 first downs—the latter a school record, which is saying something—en route to an iron-fisted 50-28 victory. It's OSU's—pardon us, tOSU's—40th straight victory against an in-state opponent, so Oberlin's 1921 victory over the Buckeyes still lives on in history.
J.T. Barrett had arguably his best game as a Buckeye as he gets more accustomed to the Brad Herman offense, throwing for 324 yards and four scores while rushing for 79 more. Sophomore tailback Ezekiel Elliott cemented his status as the feature back in Columbus by logging 188 of the Buckeyes' 376 rushing yards.
Really, the only Buckeye who didn't have a big night was punter Cameron Johnson, who was used all of once. And even then, his 42-yard punt was downed at the Cincinnati 3-yard line.
Three things we learned
1. Don't hand the Big Ten East to Michigan State just yet. When Virginia Tech waltzed into Columbus and took home a 35-21 victory in Week 2, Ohio State—especially J.T. Barrett and his offensive line—looked unprepared to contend for a special season.
A few weeks later, they look a little ready.
This was a dominant performance by the front five, which let the Buckeyes do essentially whatever they wanted without much difficulty. The 45 first downs were testament to that (the previous school record was 39), and at one point, Ohio State had 720 yards from scrimmage—also a school record. It took a snap over backup Cardale Jones' head to push the Buckeyes back out of record territory, but the statement remained the same.
Ohio State won't get 700 yards a game in the Big Ten, obviously. But it's not like Cincinnati was some rinky-dinker FCS school, either. The levels of talent were close enough that Big Ten defenses—including that fearsome unit in East Lansing—should be extremely worried about the prospect of facing the Buckeyes.
2. Ohio State still has work to do. It's worth noting that this was still a competitive game into the third quarter, with Cincy QB Gunner Kiel drawing the Bearcats to within 33-28 with his fourth touchdown of the game. And yes, the 400+ yards allowed by the Buckeyes-primarily through the air-is cause for some concern.
The sad fact, though, is there are precious few offenses in the Big Ten that'll challenge Ohio State the rest of the way—and even fewer good quarterbacks. Christian Hackenberg at Penn State has the arm to do some damage, but Northwestern (Northwestern!) just shut the Nittany Lions down earlier Saturday, and the Buckeye front four should feast in October and November. So yeah, a rough night for the secondary—it just might not matter.
3. Hey, Gunner Kiel! Kiel—a former No. 1 quarterback prospect who took an unusually circuitous route to Cincinnati—welcomed himself back to college football's consciousness with a six-touchdown incineration of Toledo two weeks ago, and his 346-yard, four-TD performance against the Buckeyes proved he'll be a legitimate force in the American (as will, one would suspect, the Bearcats).
And look: there's no Ohio State in the AAC (for one, that would make Jim Delany furious). Cincinnati's probably not going to get fifty-blasted again. This is still a team that can contend for double-digit wins, and you can be assured very few teams will want to see the Bearcats in a bowl game.