Saturday’s Big Ten: Ohio State cruises by UNLV

Associated Press

Columbus, Ohio — For all the criticism he has endured, J.T. Barrett keeps making his mark on the Ohio State record books.

The Ohio State quarterback threw touchdown passes to five different receivers in the first half before giving way to the mop-crew on the way to a 54-21 rout of Nevada-Las Vegas on Saturday. His 209 yards moved him into second place behind Art Schlichter for all-time passing yards at Ohio State with 7,348. He needs another 200 to pass Schlichter, the Buckeyes QB from 1978 to 1981.

But the level of competition — Army last week and UNLV this week — makes it hard to tell if Ohio State (3-1, 1-0 Big Ten) has improved significantly since losing to Oklahoma two weeks ago. It felt good, but how much good did it do? The Buckeyes won’t be greatly tested again until they play No. 4 Penn State at home on Oct. 28.

“Let’s go do that against a team that’s equally matched,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. “That’s my challenge every day.”

Barrett was barely slowed by an outgunned UNLV defense, completing 12 of 17 passes for 209 yards before handing the game over to backup Dwayne Haskins near the end of the first half. Together they threw for a school record 474 yards.

Barrett threw scoring passes to Parris Campbell, Johnnie Dixon, Binjimen Victor, Terry McLaurin and K.J. Hill. True freshman running back J.K. Dobbins added to his growing resume by rushing for 95 yards on 14 carries before taking a seat just before halftime.

“J.T is on another level of confidence with us right now,” Campbell said. “He tells us (that) every day.”

A sixth and seventh receiver — C.J. Saunders and Rashod Berry — caught TD passes from Haskins, marking the first time in history Ohio State had more than five different receivers catch scoring passes in a game.

“This is the type of team you come here to play at Ohio State — you make a mistake, they’re going to make you pay for it,” UNLV coach Tony Sanchez said. “And they made us pay for a bunch of them early on in the game.”

Central Florida 38, (at) Maryland 10: Taj McGowan scored two touchdowns, quarterback McKenzie Milton ran for 94 yards and Central Florida capitalized on an early injury to Maryland quarterback Kasim Hill.

Coming off a three-week layoff because of Hurricane Irma, the Knights (2-0) used a 21-point run over the second and third quarters to take control against a team trying to adjust to its third different quarterback in three games.

Maryland (2-1) lost starter Tyrrell Pigrome in its season-opening win over Texas before turning to Hill, a true freshman with seemingly enough poise and talent to sufficiently fill the void. Hill finished off the Longhorns and helped beat Towson 63-17 before leaving this game in the first quarter with an apparent leg injury.

He was replaced by sophomore Max Bortenschlager, who went 15 for 26 for 132 yards and two interceptions, one of which was returned for a 57-yard touchdown by Mike Hughes with 5:11 left.

Nebraska 27, (at) Rutgers 17: Tanner Lee led Nebraska on a 97-yard scoring drive for the go-ahead touchdown after Rutgers returned an interception for a touchdown, and the Cornhuskers shook off the Scarlet Knights.

Devine Ozigbo ran for 101 yards for the Huskers (2-2, 1-0 Big Ten) two days after athletic director Shawn Eichorst was fired. Rutgers (1-3, 0-1) lost its 15th straight Big Ten game.

Kiy Hester intercepted Lee and returned it 33 yards for a touchdown and a 17-14 Rutgers lead early in the third quarter.

Lee — who has thrown a nation-high nine interceptions, got booed when he returned for the next series, and the Huskers went three-and-out.

The Tulane transfer then directed a 17-play drive he finished with an 8-yard pass to De’Mornay Pierson-El for a 21-17 lead. Drew Brown kicked field goals of 32 and 27 yards in the fourth quarter to make it a 10-point game.

The Knights came to Lincoln having not led in a Big Ten game in 13 quarters since last November. They had leads of 7-0 and 10-7 in the first half before Pierson-El ran back a punt 63 yards to set up Mikale Wilson’s 4-yard touchdown run that put the Huskers up 14-10 at half.

(At) Indiana 52, Georgia Southern 17: Morgan Ellison, a freshman making his first college start, ran for 186 yards on 25 carries. He’s IU’s 11th true freshman to rush for more than 100 yards in a game. It’s the fourth-best total by a Hoosier freshman. Anthony Thompson has the record with 207.

Ellison entered the game with 71 yards on 19 carries.

The Hoosiers’ Mike Majette had started the first two games at tailback.