COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer seemed sentimental as he returned to full coaching duties Saturday after sitting out a three-game suspension. He had hugs and handshakes for his players as they entered the locker room before their game against Tulane.
Those came after Ohio State fans welcomed back Meyer with two standing ovations when he spoke briefly at the traditional pre-game Skull Session, which is the Buckeyes’ version of a combined pep rally and band concert. A couple of fans wore supportive Urban Meyer t-shirts, one that read “Urban Legends Don’t Die.
While the return of Meyer was emotional for the No. 4 Buckeyes, starting quarterback Dwayne Haskins was workmanlike as he threw for 304 yards and five touchdowns – all in the first half — to spark the Buckeyes (4-0) to 42-6 triumph against the Green Wave.
His first-half scoring strikes were 14 yards to Parris Campbell, 17 yards to Terry McLaurin, 37 yards again to Campbell, 31 yards to Binjimen Victor and 14 yards to Austin Mack.
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With the Buckeyes in control, Tate Martell took over the quarterback duties in the second half.
Meyer, 52, was suspended for mishandling domestic abuse allegations against former assistant coach Zach Smith who was fired in July. Meyer allowed his actions to be dictated by the police investigation, and now admits he should have asked more questions.
Meyer said earlier this week that he “couldn’t take” watching the Buckeyes on television while he was suspended. “I only watched the good plays,” he said.
But there was no reason for Meyer to look away in the game against Tulane as three different receivers scored at least one touchdown. The Buckeyes were effective in both the running and passing game.
Perhaps lost in the Meyer saga has been the dominance of the Ohio team in the early going. The Buckeyes are averaging almost 53 points per game and have not scored fewer than 40 points. Haskins has thrown 16 TD passes in his first four starts as a collegiate quarterback.
For the past two weeks, Meyer has been allowed to be at practice. The only aspect of Ohio State’s game that seemed out of sync in Meyer’s return was on-field focus. They had to re-kick extra-points twice because of penalties. They were called for eight penalties for 69 yards in the first half.
The Buckeyes played the game without sack leader Nick Bosa who is out with a core muscle injury.
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