Buckeyes make strong opening statement

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Bring on the U.

Ohio State began its season in dominating fashion, outclassing Marshall in a 45-7 victory Thursday night. The Buckeyes displayed tremendous balance on offense, received strong performances from quarterback Terrelle Pryor and his weapons, and the defense continued its opportunistic ways.

The Buckeyes' quest for a national title continues against the team it beat to win the crown in January 2003. Miami comes to town in nine days for a blockbuster matchup.

Marshall clearly has a long way to go on defense, but Ohio State's offense actually was fun to watch tonight. The Buckeyes mixed plays, formations personnel, and achieved perfect balance in the opening half with 16 rushes and 16 passes. Pryor looked very impressive for the most part, completing 17 of 25 passes for 247 yards and three touchdowns, two to close friend DeVier Posey. Pryor's completion percentage should have been even better if not for drops by Posey and Taurian Washington. Running backs Brandon Saine and Dan Herron both looked good, especially Saine, and receiver Dane Sanzenbacher established himself as the team's deep threat.

It'll be interesting to see if Jim Tressel opens things up this much against Miami. I hope he does.

Ohio State's defense was physical and continued to force turnovers, a hallmark of the unit from last season. Linebackers Brian Rolle and Ross Homan looked especially good.

It was a strange night on special teams, as Ohio State set the tone with a forced fumble on the opening kickoff but also had a field goal blocked and returned for a touchdown.

All in all, mission accomplished for the Scarlet and Gray. But a much tougher test awaits Sept. 11.