Ohio State vs. Oklahoma: 3 first-half observations

COLUMBUS, OHIO - The second-ranked Ohio State football team is tied with No. 5 Oklahoma 3-3 at halftime of their Saturday night primetime matchup.

While you can follow WKYC's live coverage of the game here, below are three first-half observations from Ohio Stadium.

Passing problems persist

After struggling in the first half of their Week 1 win over Indiana, the Buckeyes' problems in the passing game have persisted thus far on Saturday. J.T. Barrett has completed just 5 of 11 pass attempts for 25 yards against Oklahoma thus far.

In particular, Ohio State's wide receivers struggled in the first-half against the Sooners, with Terry McLaurin missing what appeared to be a surefire touchdown. The other Buckeyes wideouts, for their part, struggled to even get open, continuing an alarming trend from not just last week, but the 2016 season for Ohio State.

If the Buckeyes are going to beat a top-five opponent like the Sooners, they're going to need to get more out of their receivers. A week ago, Ohio State's wideouts overcame their sluggish first-half and closed the game strong. Now it's time to see if they can do it again.

Defense getting it done

Despite Ohio State's offensive struggles, the Buckeyes' defense is holding its own.

Through the first half, Ohio State limited Oklahoma to just 3 points and 64 rushings yards. While Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield has kept the unit on its toes with short passes, the Buckeyes may have bent, but have yet to break -- even with their own offense giving them little rest.

Assuming the OSU offense comes alive -- and that might be a big if -- the Buckeyes' defense seems to have found a winning recipe in containing Oklahoma's high-powered offense.

Andrews' absence looms

Also boding well for the Buckeyes thus far is the absence of Sooners tight end Mark Andrews, who left the first half of the game due to a knee injury after catching 2 balls for 23 yards.

Without Andrews in the lineup, Mayfield's options will be limited in the second-half. And in a game where one play could make all the difference, Oklahoma is now without one of its top playmakers.

 

© 2017 WKYC-TV


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