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Instant analysis: Ohio St. 50, Cincinnati 28

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- An entertaining matchup at Ohio Stadium featured some of everything, but not all that much defense. Ohio State was able to weather all the punches Cincinnati threw its way in a high-scoring affair on Saturday night, eventually pulling away for a 50-28 win to close out its nonconference schedule.

How the game was won: As long as the Buckeyes didn’t hurt themselves with penalties, dropped passes or a fumble, there wasn’t anything that could slow down their offense. Cincinnati didn’t see much resistance when it had the ball, either, but it really had no answer for an Ohio State spread attack that is starting to look exactly like Urban Meyer envisioned by blending a powerful rushing game with dangerous play-action passes.

Game ball goes to: J.T. Barrett. The redshirt freshman is developing quickly for the Buckeyes, and he’s doing a pretty impressive Braxton Miller impression in the process. With Ohio State’s defense struggling to offer much support, Barrett proved more than capable of winning a shootout by throwing for 330 yards and four touchdowns and complementing that with 79 rushing yards.

What it means: The fatal flaw that ruined Ohio State’s bid for a national title last season doesn’t appear to have been fixed quite yet. The Bearcats picked apart the Buckeyes through the air with Gunner Kiel making them pay for every defensive breakdown with 352 yards and four touchdowns. That’s a troubling sign for Meyer, who brought in co-defensive coordinator Chris Ash in the offseason solely to address that issue.

Playoff implications: The suspect secondary probably didn’t inspire much confidence around the country about Ohio State’s chances of climbing back in the race. But the Buckeyes survived a tough test from a motivated Cincinnati squad to at least keep hope alive if they can navigate the conference slate without a loss. For the Bearcats, any long-shot chance of crashing the party is gone.

What’s next: The Buckeyes wrapped up an interesting month outside of the Big Ten, a trying stretch that started during training camp with Miller’s injury, included the loss to Virginia Tech and then the indefinite suspension of defensive end Noah Spence. At least in the conference race, a new season starts next week with what should be a tough matchup at Maryland.