"That was pathetic. It was a pathetic performance," wide receiver Brian Hartline said after the host Buckeyes rallied in the fourth quarter for a 26-14 win over plucky Ohio, a 33 1/2 -point underdog. "OU should've won the game."
Maybe Ohio State (2-0) had next week's opponent - No. 1 Southern California - on its mind. Or maybe it was the loss of injured running back Chris "Beanie" Wells.
"It kind of looked like [what it] might look like between your opener and your big national stage game," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said. "Which is disappointing."
Lightly regarded even in its own Mid-American Conference, Ohio put a huge scare into the Buckeyes before they righted things by scoring the final 20 points. With 14 minutes left in the game, the Bobcats led 14-12.
With Wells watching from the sideline with a foot injury, the Buckeyes struggled to move the ball until Brandon Saine's plunge on the third play of the final quarter finally put them on top. Ray Small added some breathing room with a 69-yard punt return.
This was not the tuneup the Buckeyes needed before meeting the top-ranked Trojans.
Ohio (0-2) had five turnovers to help the Buckeyes escape.
No. 6 Missouri 52, Southeast Missouri 3: : Chase Daniel threw three touchdown passes in the first half and Derrick Washington scored three times, helping the host Tigers (2-0) romp over the Redhawks (1-1).
No. 9 Auburn 27, Southern Mississippi 13: : Chris Todd completed 21 of 31 passes for 248 yards in his first start and gave the passing game for the Tigers (2-0) a needed lift in a home victory over the Golden Eagles (1-1). The junior-college transfer might have ended Auburn's quarterback question by effectively running the new spread offense.
No. 11 Wisconsin 51, Marshall 14: : Allan Evridge threw for 308 yards and a touchdown and the Badgers (2-0) reeled off 51 straight points to turn a potential upset into a walkover against the visiting Thundering Herd (1-1).
No. 12 Texas Tech 35, Nevada 19: : Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree connected for an 82-yard touchdown pass and Eric Morris returned a punt 86 yards for a score to lead the visiting Red Raiders (2-0) over the Wolf Pack (1-1).
No. 13 Alabama 20, Tulane 6: : Javier Arenas returned a punt 87 yards for a touchdown and the host Crimson Tide (2-0) held on for a shaky win over the Green Wave (0-1), forced out of New Orleans a week ago by the threat of Hurricane Gustav.
No. 15 BYU 28, Washington 27: : Jan Jorgensen busted through the line and blocked Ryan Perkins' 35-yard extra-point attempt with two seconds left in regulation, and the visiting Cougars (2-0) held on for a victory over the Huskies (0-2). Jake Locker drove Washington 76 yards in 17 plays, capped by his 2-yard plunge to trim the Huskies' deficit to one. But Locker was called for unsportsmanlike conduct after the touchdown.
No. 17 South Florida 31, Central Florida 24 (OT): : Matt Grothe threw for 346 yards and three touchdowns, including a 25-yarder to Taurus Johnson in overtime, and the Bulls (2-0) outlasted the host Knights (1-1).
No. 18 Oregon 66, Utah State 24: : Quarterback Justin Roper returned from a concussion he suffered the previous week and helped the Ducks (2-0) to a school-record 688 yards in a rout of the visiting Aggies (0-2).
No. 24 Illinois 47, Eastern Illinois 21: : Juice Williams ran for 174 yards and two touchdowns to lead the host Illini (1-1) over the Panthers (0-2). Williams broke the Illinois quarterback rushing record of 145 yards he set in 2006.