Offensive line, Decker take a step forward

COLUMBUS – The difference between Week 1 and Week 2 put a smile on Taylor Decker’s face.

As the only new starter on Ohio State’s offensive line, the Buckeyes’ starting right tackle probably got an undue share of the spotlight when that unit fell a little short of expectations in a 40-20 win over Buffalo in the season opener.

It didn’t help that Decker often found himself dealing with Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack, a probable NFL draft choice, much of the afternoon. But on Saturday in a 42-7 win over San Diego State, Decker settled in and the offensive line paved the way for a rushing game that averaged 6.6 yards a carry while permitting only one quarterback sack.

“Obviously, we didn’t perform as well as we wanted to last week. For me personally, it was my first start. Last week I think I got a little over-excited, my technique went a little bad. I was able to settle in a little (today),” Decker said.

“They (Ohio State’s coaches) try to get us up for every situation in practice but you’re not going to get that game atmosphere until game day. Just getting in and getting some experience, you start to feel more comfortable on that big-time stage.”

Left tackle Jack Mewhort, at the other end of the experience spectrum from Decker with 28 consecutive starts, also saw improvement from the offensive line.

“I feel like we played harder. I feel we’re definitely on the up slope. We’re not where we need to be but I think we have an idea now of where we’re going and what we need to do to get there,” Mewhort said. “We have a lot of potential. It’s our job to keep this offense going in the right direction.”

He also noticed a difference in Decker.

“I think it was important to make sure that he kept his confidence up. No. 46 for Buffalo (Mack) is one of the toughest pass rushers I’ve faced. It was a rough draw for a first-time starter but he handled adversity well. He came in and went to work this week. He came out today and had a better performance,” he said. “If we have a tough game, you have to keep grinding.”

Next up for Ohio State (2-0) is a trip to California (1-1) Saturday night. The Golden Bears are led by true freshman quarterback Jared Goff, who threw for 485 yards and two touchdowns in a 37-30 win over Portland State on Saturday after having 445 yards and two TD passes in a 44-30 loss to Northwestern.Goff has thrown 114 passes in California’s two games. New coach Sonny Dykes came to Berkeley from Louisiana Tech, which led the country in scoring at 51.5 points a game last year.


ROBY’S REGRETS: Cornerback Bradley Roby, who returned after serving a one-game suspension for an incident outside a Bloomington, Ind., bar said he understood why coach Urban Meyer handed him a penalty.

“I made the program look bad and I had to pay the consequences for that. Of course I hated not playing, but it was something I understood had to be done, ” he said. “You have to be smart with where you’re at, who you’re around and, like I said, perception is reality.”

Roby was originally charged with misdemeanor battery and accused of shoving a bar bouncer. That charge was later reduced to disorderly conduct, then dropped after a security tape showed bar staff people shoving Roby several times .

REMEMBER NEBRASKA?: Kenny Guiton’s second successful relief appearance after Braxton Miller was knocked out of the game on Saturday brought to mind what happened when Miller had to leave the game at Nebraska in 2011 and his backup couldn’t pilot the ship home with a win.

OSU led 27-6 when a sprained ankle sent Miller to the sidelines. After gaining 305 yards total offense with Miller in the game, the Buckeyes gained only 36 yards in the game’s final 19 minutes. Backup quarterback Joe Bauserman was 1 of 10 passing and threw an interception that set up Nebraska’s winning touchdown.

LONGTIME FAN: John Crawford of Columbus was featured on the video board during Saturday’s game for having a streak of attending the last 434 Ohio State football games at Ohio Stadium.

His streak began with a game against Illinois on Nov. 13, 1943, making this his 71st season of OSU football.