COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State’s stout defense hasn’t allowed a touchdown in two games against overmatched Bowling Green and Tulsa. Urban Meyer knows the first real test will come at No. 14 Oklahoma next week.
The Buckeyes intercepted four of Tulsa quarterback Dane Evans’ passes Saturday — including pick-sixes by safety Malik Hooker and cornerback Marshon Lattimore — in in a 48-3 victory.
“Our defense is playing so well right now,” Meyer said. “Obviously, the challenge will come next week against a very good team, and we’re going to jump on that one early and get ready to go.”
The offense, on the other hand, was a little slow to get going Saturday.
After piling up a school-record 776 yards last week against Bowling Green, Ohio State (2-0) didn’t score an offensive touchdown against until quarterback J.T. Barrett ran in from 11 yards with 9:42 left in the third quarter.
Tailback Mike Weber, Barrett and H-backs Curtis Samuel and Dontre Wilson added scoring runs later in the second half to put the game out of reach.
Wilson said Ohio State must come out gunning next week in Norman.
“It will be tough, it will be tough,” Wilson said. “That’s the plan not to start that way, and I don’t think we’ll start that way. We’ve got to establish the running game. Once the running game pops we can start doing better.”
Tulsa (1-1) managed only Redford Jones’ 37-yard field goal in the first quarter and was limited to 188 total yards on offense.
“We got some things going but just didn’t finish when we got in the red zone,” Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery said. “We just made too many crucial mistakes at bad times.”
Barrett was a pedestrian 14 for 22 for 149 yards and no touchdowns after throwing for six last week.
Weber gained 92 yards on 17 carries and scored his first touchdown as a Buckeye.
Lightning in the area extended halftime to about 70 minutes and driving rain fell throughout the second half, chasing away many of the 104,410 fans.
TULSA: The Golden Hurricane played tough against Barrett and the Ohio State offense in the first half, but Tulsa’s offense made too many mistakes to stay in the game.
“Right before the half, the picks were a tough pill to swallow,” Montgomery said.
OHIO STATE: Ohio State again flexed its defensive muscle and showed its secondary could be among the best in the country. The Buckeyes managed just 158 yards of offense in the first half against a four-touchdown underdog, but the harder the rain fell in the second half, the more they scored. They finished with 417 yards.
Samuel again put together a solid game, catching five passes for 62 yards and rushing for 78 yards on 8 carries….The Ohio State defense limited Tulsa to 77 rushing yards on 36 carries for a 2.1 yards-per-carry average….Hooker’s second-quarter interception was his third of the season. He returned it 26 yards for a touchdown, marking the second-consecutive game an Ohio State defensive back has a pick-six. Later in the second quarter, Lattimore returned an interception 40 yards for a score….Ohio State defensive end Sam Hubbard tallied a career-high six tackles. Linebacker Raekwon McMillan led the Buckeyes with nine.
Barrett said Ohio State was confounded by the Tulsa defense in the first half, but halftime adjustments kick-started the attack in the rainy second half.
“That was a hard thing in the first half,” he said. “They threw the kitchen sink at us. It was a really good defense. With that being said, trying to adjust to that on the sideline was kind of rough in the first half. Once we got to halftime we made better adjustments.”
He said the driving rain wasn’t a factor.
No. 4 Ohio State walloped a weaker opponent as expected. No. 2 Clemson struggled with an underdog so could possibly lose some votes.
TULSA: A home game against FCS team North Carolina A&T next week.
OHIO STATE: The real season starts as the Buckeyes travel to Oklahoma to take on the Sooners. Oklahoma slipped to No. 14 in the polls after an opening loss to Houston.
Follow Mitch Stacy at http://twitter.com/mitchstacy
For some of his other recent stories: http://bigstory.ap.org/content/mitch-stacy
AP college football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org