Sept. 3, 2011
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Joe Bauserman and Jake Stoneburner connected on three touchdown passes and the Buckeyes offense rolled to 517 total yards as No. 18 Ohio State opened the Luke Fickell era in fine fashion with a 42-0 shutout of Akron in front of 105,001 sunburned fans at Ohio Stadium Saturday.
In his first career start, Bauserman looked sharp and confident, completing 12 of 16 passes for 163 yards, including the three TDs to Stoneburner, who became the first Buckeye tight end to find the end zone three times in a single game. Freshman quarterback Braxton Miller would add 132 yards in the second half on 8 of 12 passing, while on the ground, Ohio State rumbled to 224 total yards, highlighted by 93 from sophomore Carlos Hyde.
The Silver Bullet defense was equally impressive, holding the Zips to 90 total yards and forcing eight three-and-outs. The defensive line put constant pressure on Akron's quarterbacks, with five different players recording sacks and Ohio State totaling 10 tackles-for-loss. Senior linebacker Andrew Sweat led the Buckeye in tackles, collecting six total and two for loss.
Ohio State struck first at the 7:24 mark of the first quarter as Bauserman weaved his way through the Akron defense for a 15-yard touchdown run - the first of his career - and a 7-0 lead. The Buckeyes, who amassed 125 yards of offense in the opening stanza, threatened to extend the lead late in the quarter, but Akron's John Griggs forced a Rod Smith fumble that was recovered by Emmanue Lartey at the 4 yard line.
Bauserman upped the Buckeye lead to 14-0 at 5:45 in the second quarter with a 28-yard touchdown pass to junior tight end Jake Stoneburner, capping a bruising 13-play, 64-yard drive. After an Akron three-and-out, the offense once again moved the ball into Zips territory, but a missed field goal from sophomore Drew Basil kept the lead at 14-0 with 4:30 to play in the half.
Stoneburner and Bauserman combined for the second time late in the quarter, connecting for an 11-yard touchdown on third and 10 to give the Scarlet and Gray a 21-0 lead with just over a minute left in the second quarter. Senior linebacker Sweat set up the final seven points of the half with an acrobatic interception at the Akron 34 yard line.
Akron responded with a 10 play, 61-yard drive - crossing midfield for the first time in the game - but T.J. Marchese missed from 41 yards to close the first 30 minutes.
Sophomore wide receiver Corey Brown opened the second half with a 44-yard kickoff return to position the Buckeyes at their own 49. The offense cashed in on the excellent starting position with an eight play, 51-yard drive, capped by a 2-yard TD pass from Bauserman to Stoneburner.
Bauserman passed the torch to Miller midway through the third. Miller, who played briefly in the first half, engineered a six-play, 59-yard drive capped by a 9-yard TD pass to freshman wide receiver Devin Smith that pushed the lead to 35-0 with 14:26 left in the game.
Smith closed the scoring with a 2-yard touchdown run with 5:51 to play. Freshman wide receiver Evan Spencer used one hand to corral a 33-yard pass from Miller and put the Buckeyes in the red zone.
A Tunnel of Pride featuring former players, organized by OSU legend John Hicks, welcomed the Buckeyes onto the field prior to kickoff. As part of Alumni Band Day, the fanfare continued at halftime as The Ohio State Marching and Alumni Bands celebrated the 75th anniversary of Script Ohio by dotting-the- I on four full-sized Scripts for the first time in history. Leslie H. Wexner, chairman of The Ohio State University Board of Trustees, was an honorary "I-dotter" on the home side of the field.