Kent State 17

(1-1, 0-1 away)

(8) Ohio State 51

(2-0, 2-0 home)

12:10 PM ET, September 7, 2002

Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH

1 2 3 4 T
KENT 0 14 0 317
#8OSU 21 17 3 1051

Buckeyes not challenged by Golden Flashes

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio State (No. 9 ESPN/USA Today, No. 8 AP) coach Jim Tressel saw the improvement he was looking for from his Buckeyes.

After a 51-17 win against overmatched Kent State on Saturday, Tressel now will find out whether the Buckeyes (2-0) are good enough for 11th-ranked Washington State next week.

Ohio State tight end Ryan Hanby steps into the end zone for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

"It was 38-0 all of a sudden. Now, does that mean we're wonderful? I'm not sure about that,'' Tressel said.

Craig Krenzel completed his first 11 passes, and Mike Doss and E.J. Hawke each returned interceptions for scores to lead Ohio State. It was 38-0 before the Golden Flashes (1-1) crossed midfield late in the second quarter.

"I'd like to think we've made some improvement,'' said Tressel, whose team beat Texas Tech 45-21 two weeks ago in the Pigskin Classic. "We need to improve, then, some for this one coming up.''

Not everyone improved. Maurice Clarett followed one of the most glittering debuts ever for an Ohio State freshman with a mediocre effort. He had two touchdowns, but he gained just 64 yards on 12 carries and lost a fumble.

"You see this facial expression? You know I'm not happy with my performance,'' said Clarett, who ran for 175 yards and three touchdowns against Texas Tech.

His 2-yard touchdown run capped a five-play, 31-yard opening drive for the Buckeyes after Donnie Nickey partially deflected Jared Fritz's punt, resulting in a 16-yard kick.

"We knew they left the gaps open,'' Nickey said. "It just came wide open.''

After Kent State got the ball back, Doss, a two-time All-American, made it 14-0 by picking off a floater from Cribbs. Doss cut back behind a platoon of blockers and went 45 yards untouched.

"He overthrew the curl,'' Doss said. "It was a gift.''

Krenzel led a 76-yard drive, highlighted a 33-yard completion to Chris Gamble that led to Maurice Hall's 28-yard TD run.

Clarett scored on a 7-yard pass from Krenzel, Mike Nugent kicked the first of his three field goals and Hawke brought another pass by Cribbs back 34 yards for a touchdown to make it 38-0.

"It hasn't sunk in yet,'' Hawke said. "It happened so fast. I was surprised it came right to me.''

Krenzel connected on his first 11 attempts for 142 yards. Since he completed his last pass against Texas Tech, he tied the school record of 12 consecutive completions over more than one game, a mark shared by three players. He fell one completion shy of tying Jim Karsatos' single-game mark of 12.

"It was pretty easy,'' said Krenzel, who finished 12-of-14 for 190 yards. "We had a lot of talented guys running some great routes. Up front, the offensive line did a great job and guys weren't getting close. When you have that combination, it's really not hard to complete the ball.''

Tressel was satisfied with his team's quick knockout punch.

"After it became 38-0, I don't know that we played to the top of our game,'' he said. "In general -- with the big one coming up next weekend -- our guys did a good job getting ready, taking the task at hand, jumping on top and then finishing the job.''

Cribbs, who last year became the first Division I-A freshman quarterback to pass and run for more than 1,000 yards in a season, spent most of the day running away from Ohio State's defensive front of Will Smith, Tim Anderson, Kenny Peterson and Darrion Scott.

"We came into this game with high hopes. You have to believe in your heart you can beat this team,'' Cribbs said. "We just made too many mistakes.''

Cribbs redeemed himself late in the second quarter by throwing two touchdown passes. He ran for 94 yards on 21 carries and completed 14 of 31 passes for 160 yards.

Ohio State's offense and defense used reserves for most of the second half, with Scott McMullen taking over for Krenzel and JaJa Riley seeing his first action at tailback. McMullen, who was 7-of-11 for 78 yards, closed the scoring with an 18-yard pass to backup tight end Ryan Hamby.