Kyle McCord threw all three of his touchdowns in the first half and No. 6 Ohio State exploded for 35 second-quarter points for a 63-10 win against Western Kentucky in Ohio Stadium on Saturday.
His 75-yard TD to Marvin Harrison Jr. gave the Buckeyes (3-0) a 21-10 lead and squashed any hopes of the Hilltoppers (2-1) securing an upset as the score would reach 42-10 at the half.
McCord was 19 for 23 for 318 yards and Harrison made five catches for 126 yards and a score.
Big Plays Key Start
Ohio State took a 7-0 lead on the first drive of the game with Henderson rushing around the left edge for a 31-yard score at the 11:32 mark to finish an eight-play drive of 75 yards in 3:20.
The Buckeyes won the toss and elected to receive. Xavier Johnson returned the kickoff 24 yards to the 25 and McCord opened with a 16-yard pass to Harrison. Two plays later, Emeka Egbuka took a swing pass and turned it into a 21-yard gain to the 33.
On fourth-and-5 from the 28, McCord went to Egbuka again for 7 yards and Henderson breached the end zone on the next play. McCord was 4 for 5 for 42 yards and Henderson ran for 32 yards on three rushes.
WKU’s first drive stalled at the Ohio State 48, 2 yards shy of moving the chains when Austin Reed’s fourth-down pass was incomplete.
Later on first down from the Hilltoppers’ 41, McCord was strip-sacked by Hosea Wheeler and Deante McCray recovered at the Western Kentucky 44.
Reed completed a third-down pass of 17 yards to Malachi Corley to the OSU 39 followed by an 11-yard reception for River Helms.
Western Kentucky’s possession fizzled on a costly unsportsmanlike conduct by former OSU receiver Blue Smith. Reed on fourth-and-2 from the 20 used a delayed keeper to reach the 16 but the penalty placed the ball on the 31 and Hilltoppers settled for a 43-yard field goal by Lucas Carneiro with 1:07 left in the quarter for a 7-3 score.
WKU used 11 plays and ran 4:32 off the clock.
Henderson extended the lead to 14-3 at 10:53 of the second quarter, buoyed by his 32-yard catch-and-run to the WKU 32. On the next play, Harrison took the pitch and ran 29 yards to the 3 but a hold on Egbuka moved the ball back to the 35.
On third-and-10, Harrison made a catch for 18 yards. Chip Trayanum rushed for 3 and Henderson carried for 4 before his jaunt into the end zone. The drive went 82 yards in 12 plays using 5:07.
Western Kentucky responded to make it 14-10, aided by a pass interference on Jordan Hicks to the WKU 42. Corley made a catch along the left sideline for 34 yards to the 24. Two plays later, Davion Ervin-Poindexter rushed for 18 yards to the 6 where his fumble forced by Lathan Ransom was recovered by teammate Wes Dorsey.
Needing 2 yards for a score on third down, Corley stepped back from the line, caught the ball and pushed his across the line with 8:10 left to complete the 75-yard, 7-play, 2:43 drive.
OSU needed 10 seconds to up the lead to 21-10 because on the first play McCord connected with Harrison for a 75-yard TD, career-longs for both.
McCord won the starting job out of the preseason camp over Devin Brown for the first game at Indiana and the second vs. Youngstown State but it wasn’t until Sept. 12 that coach Ryan Day named him the starter going forward.
After WKU failed on a fourth-down pass from its own 40, the Buckeyes needed just seven seconds, the time it took Trayanum to race over left tackle for the TD with 4:23 left for a 28-10 advantage.
On the Hilltoppers next possession, Smith made a catch for 21 yards to the WKU 48 but he was leveled by Hancock, fumbled and Davison Igbinosun recovered it there for the Buckeyes.
Henderson ran for 6, Cade Stover’s catch went for 20 to the 22 and Henderson rushed for 7 before Egbuka’s 15-yard reception made it 35-10 with 1:55 left in the half. The series was four plays in 1:25.
Western Kentucky gifted the Buckeyes field position again and they took advantage when Egbuka was open in the left corner for a 14-yard pass from McCord with eight seconds remaining to extend the lead to 42-10.
The Hilltoppers failed to convert a fourth-and-10 from the OSU 42 with 28 seconds left. McCord scrambled out of bounds for 4 then spotted Stover across the middle and he did the rest for a 40-yard gain to the 14 to set up the 35-point quarter.
The last time OSU scored five TDs in a quarter was Sept. 21, 2013, vs. Florida A&M.
McCord was 13 for 15 for 271 yards, three touchdowns and a lost fumble in the first half.
Second Half Happenings
The defense recorded a score to make it 49-10 at 4:38 of the third quarter when Denzel Burke forced a fumble by Ervin-Poindexter that tumbled into the WKU end zone and defensive tackle Tyleik Williams pounced on it.
After an interception by linebacker Steele Chambers at the WKU 45, Brown entered and guided the Buckeyes 55 yards in 3:23 and seven plays. Freshman Carnell Tate, who earlier had a 12-yard catch made it 56-10 with 12:37 to play with a 28-yard catch.
A 58-yard pick six by Jermaine Mathews off backup Bronson Barron with 5:26 to go was the final score.