No. 2 Ohio State dom­i­nat­ing in way not seen since 1940s

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - SPORTS - AP Sports Writer

By An­drew Selig­man

James Lau­ri­naitis and the Big Ten net­work crew were meet­ing with Ne­braska coach Scott Frost prior to the Corn­huskers’ game against In­di­ana late last month when the con­ver­sa­tion turned to No. 2 Ohio State.

The Buck­eyes (9-0, 6-0) are dom­i­nat­ing in a way col­lege foot­ball hasn’t seen since Franklin D. Roo­sevelt was pres­i­dent. And when Lau­ri­naitis meets with Big Ten coaches, they tend to steer the con­ver­sa­tion to­ward his alma mater, where he was a star line­backer.

“(Frost) goes, ‘I’ve been around a lot of teams. I’ve been on the field (coach­ing against) the 2014 team, and I just feel like this is the most com­plete, dom­i­nant col­lege foot­ball team I’ve seen with my own eyes,’” Lau­ri­naitis said. “And you’re like, ‘Oh, OK.’

Dom­i­nant might be an un­der­state­ment.

Ohio State leads the na­tion in scor­ing at 51 points per game and is giv­ing up the fewest in the coun­try at 8.6. The last team to av­er­age at least 50 and al­low fewer than 10 was Army in 1944, ac­cord­ing to Spor­tradar.com. The cadets put up four shutouts in their 9-0, na­tional cham­pi­onship sea­son and didn’t al­low more than 7 points in any game.

The Buck­eyes have scored the most touch­downs (62) in the coun­try and al­lowed the fewest (eight). They have more first downs (255) than all but four teams and the fewest yards al­lowed per game (214.8). Ohio State has scored over 40 in all but two games, hit the 50-point mark four times and reached 70 twice. That in­cludes 73-14 romp over Mary­land last week and a 76-5 blowout against Miami (Ohio) in Septem­ber.

“Our team hasn’t re­ally been in the fourth quarter of a dog­fight yet,” said Ryan Day, in his first sea­son af­ter re­plac­ing Ur­ban Meyer.

The Buck­eyes are look­ing at an­other po­ten­tial blowout when they visit Rut­gers (2-7, 0-6) on Satur­day. The sched­ule then takes a tougher turn with a home game against No. 9 Penn State and a trip to No. 14 Michi­gan. But Ohio State will get sack ma­chine

Chase Young back when they take on the Nit­tany Lions.

A pre­sea­son All-Amer­i­can and the na­tion’s leader with 13 1/2 sacks, Young was held out against Mary­land be­cause of con­cerns he vi­o­lated NCAA rules by tak­ing a loan last year from some­one he de­scribes as a “fam­ily friend” for liv­ing ex­penses. He won’t play against Rut­gers, which is none­the­less a 521/2-point un­der­dog.

As for the lack of close games? Well, it’s also a prob­lem North­west­ern coach Pat Fitzger­ald would love to have. A year af­ter los­ing to Ohio State in the Big Ten cham­pi­onship game, the Wild­cats (18, 0-7) have dropped seven straight, in­clud­ing a 52-3 beat­down by the Buck­eyes.

Ohio State’s tightest games were de­cided by 24 points — 45-21 over Florida At­lantic in the opener and 34-10 against Michi­gan State last month.

“James Lau­ri­naitis did our game last week (against Pur­due) for BTN,” Fitzger­ald said. “I told him the last time I thought I saw an Ohio State team like this one they have now was the teams that he played on.”

That 2006 team un­der Jim Tres­sel scored 35 points or more nine times and won its first 12 games be­fore get­ting blown out by Florida in the BCS ti­tle game. But even that Buck­eyes team got tested along the way.

JAY LAPRETE - THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Ohio State run­ning back J.K. Dob­bins, left, breaks through the line of scrim­mage to score a touch­down against Mary­land dur­ing the first half of an NCAA col­lege foot­ball game Satur­day, Nov. 9, 2019, in Colum­bus, Ohio.

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