COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Not a pretty day for No. 1 Ohio State. Mistakes here and there, but it didn’t matter much as the Buckeyes started slow, then put up a flurry of points late and beat Hawaii 38-0 on Saturday.
Ezekiel Elliott scored three touchdowns on short runs, two in the first half and one in the second, and it was more than enough against the Rainbow Warriors (1-1), who came into the game as six-touchdown underdogs.
“We did not execute well,” Ohio State Urban Meyer said.
Cardale Jones started again at quarterback for the Buckeyes (2-0). He was 6 of 9 for 82 yards in the first half and finished with 100 yards passing. He also fumbled twice in the backfield, but recovered each one. The offensive line was called for three penalties and a 46-yard field goal attempt was botched when holder Cameron Johnston mishandled the snap.
“It wasn’t a performance that I wanted,” Jones said.
Elliott scored on runs of 1- and 3-yard runs in the first half, and added a 1-yard touchdown with about nine minutes left for a 24-0 lead. He finished with 101 yards on 27 carries.
The Buckeyes added two more touchdowns after that when safety Vonn Bell scooped up a fumble and ran 14 yards less than two minutes later and Bri’onte Dunn added another score.
J.T. Barrett replaced Jones for the final three series of the second quarter, but Jones returned to start the third.
Barrett completed 8 of 15 passes for 70 yards plus one carry for seven yards.
Meyer admitted he is struggling to figure out how to best use two talented quarterbacks.
“I’m evaluating how we’re doing that and what’s the best opportunity to go down the field and score,” he said.
Hawaii quarterback Max Wittek threw for 67 and had two interceptions. Rainbow Warriors running back Paul Harris, a Columbus native, ran for 46 yards on 14 carries.
“They played their tails off,” Meyer said of Hawaii.
The Hawaii defense was stingy and disruptive in the first half and sacked Jones twice in a row in the second quarter.
Still, coach Norm Chow was not pleased with the overall performance.
“We made enough mistakes to last a season,” Chow said. “You can’t do that against good football teams.”
Ohio State led 14-0 at the half on Elliott touchdowns and the crowd of 107,145 was a bit uneasy about the way the Buckeyes were playing.
Buckeyes All-American defensive end Joey Bosa and receivers Jalin Marshall, Corey Smith and Dontre Wilson all returned from suspensions to bolster the roster.
Marshall’s first catch, a 12-yarder, came during the Buckeyes’ second possession that led to a score. Elliot scored for a yard out with 3:25 left in the first quarter.
Ohio State had a quick turnaround following a 42-24 win Monday at Virginia Tech. Hawaii, sporting retro all-white uniforms with rainbow stripes on the shoulder pads and sides of the pants, defeated Colorado 28-20 on Sept. 3.
“With just a couple of days to prepare we weren’t ready to play,” Elliott said.