COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Kyle McCord threw for three touchdowns and 318 yards and No. 6 Ohio State used a 35-point second quarter to rout Western Kentucky 63-10 on Saturday.
McCord’s 75-yard TD pass to Marvin Harrison Jr. on the first play from scrimmage after Western Kentucky had pulled to within four points gave the Buckeyes (3-0) a 21-10 lead and Chip Trayanum ran for a 40-yard score on the first play of their next series to make it 28-10.
The last time OSU scored five TDs in a quarter was Sept. 21, 2013, vs. Florida A&M.
It was a much-needed performance for the Buckeyes heading into their showdown at No. 9 Notre Dame on Saturday.
“Anytime you can get the offense and the defense going like that it’s a huge confidence boost,” McCord said. “I think the biggest thing now is you’re using it but understanding it’s a different team we’re going against next week. They’ve got a lot of really good players, are well-coached. It’s going to be an away game and a tough environment.”
TreVeyon Henderson ran for 88 yards and his touchdowns of 21 and 10 yards put the Buckeyes ahead 14-3 nearly five minutes into the second quarter against the Hilltoppers (2-1), but Austin Reed tossed a 2-yard TD to Malachi Corley to pull to within 14-10 before the Ohio State onslaught.
“We came here to try to win, we played on the edge, we did all we could do to try to go out there and give ourselves a chance, and good football teams don’t allow you to do that,” Western Kentucky coach Tyson Helton said.
Harrison had four of his five catches and 118 of his 126 yards in the first half.
The Buckeyes’ secondary got their first test of the season going against Reed, the FBS active career leader in passing yards per game (333.4) and total yards per game (350.0).
Reed, who threw for 589 yards and six TDs in his first two games, was 21 for 37 for 207 yards with the TD and an interception before being pulled in the fourth quarter.
Defending against him was a precursor to facing Notre Dame’s Sam Hartman, the FBS active career leader in touchdown passes (123).
“We wanted to build momentum into next week and everything was turned up in a big way so we need to get back to work,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. “Notre Dame starts now. Usually, we start on Sunday. We’re starting to prepare tonight.”
Day officially named McCord the starter over Devin Brown on Tuesday after the two shared snaps in the first two games.
“I think it’s definitely nice getting the official nod from him but at the same time, the more experience I can get, the more opportunity, the more reps, the better,” McCord said.
He was 13 for 15 for 271 yards, three touchdowns and a lost fumble in the first half.
Brown took over with 1:00 left in the third quarter and threw a 28-yard -yard touchdown to Carnell Tate for a 56-10 score.
By that point the Buckeyes were thinking ahead.
“We weren’t looking past Western Kentucky by any means, but we know this one (Notre Dame) is the big one,” Ohio State receiver Emeka Egbuka said. “So, we’re gonna celebrate this one, but we’re all laser focused on the next one and we’ll be ready to play the game.
“We love matchup games. That’s why you come to Ohio State, to play Notre Dame in South Bend.”
The Buckeyes likely won’t drop as they did in the previous two polls but the big game awaits.
Western Kentucky: Plays at Troy on Saturday afternoon.
Ohio State: Faces No. 9 Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, in a Saturday night prime time game.