Columbus, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - J.T. Barrett threw four touchdown passes, Ezekiel Elliott had an impressive rushing performance and No. 22 Ohio State pulled away for a 50-28 victory over Cincinnati on Saturday.
Barrett was 26-of-36 for 330 yards and added 79 yards on the ground, while Elliott ran for 182 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries.
Ohio State (3-1), which finished with 710 yards of offense and a program- record 45 first downs, hasn't lost to an in-state school since a 7-6 defeat against Oberlin in 1921. The Buckeyes haven't lost in 45 consecutive games against other Ohio-based teams.
Chris Moore caught touchdown passes of 60, 83 and 78 yards from Cincinnati quarterback Gunner Kiel. Those were Moore's only three receptions in the game.
Kiel also threw a touchdown pass to Johnny Holton and ended with 352 yards on 21-of-32 passing for the Bearcats (2-1), who were down only five in the third quarter before Ohio State scored the game's final 17 points.
"They had a good plan and they changed some things on us and we were too slow to adapt," said Cincinnati head coach Tommy Tuberville.
Ohio State scored touchdowns on each of its first four drives and was poised to build on its 30-7 lead when running back Curtis Samuel fumbled in Cincinnati territory.
The complexion of the game changed from that point on.
The Bearcats capitalized on the turnover as Holton caught a screen pass and ran 19 yards to the end zone.
A dropped pass by wideout Devin Smith then forced an Ohio State punt that was downed at the 3-yard line.
After getting a first down, Moore got behind the Buckeyes secondary with 26 seconds remaining before halftime.
Ohio State looked to take back the momentum by marching inside the 10-yard line to begin the third quarter, but the Cincinnati defense forced the Buckeyes to settle for a 25-yard Sean Nuernberger field goal.
Moore was inexplicably left uncovered on the second play of the ensuing Cincinnati possession. He caught Kiel's short toss on a slant and darted for the touchdown, trimming the deficit to 33-28.
A questionable offensive pass interference penalty hindered the Bearcats' next drive, resulting in a punt.
Cincinnati didn't reach Ohio State territory the rest of the game.
Barrett put the game away with touchdown passes of 24 and 34 yards to Dontre Wilson and Smith, respectively.
"J.T. played well. Other than a dropped third down and a fumble, I was very pleased for the night, offensively," said Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer. "Defensively, we're back to the drawing board. And pass coverage, the corner, a couple corners got beat and we gave up big plays. You can say other than that, but we've got to get that fixed."
Kiel hit Moore downfield for a touchdown on the opening series of the game, but the Buckeyes seized the lead with 3-yard touchdown runs by Rod Smith and Elliott.
On the first play of the next Cincinnati drive, Kiel fumbled when he was hit by Joey Bosa. Offensive lineman Eric Lefeld batted the ball out of the end zone for a safety.
Barrett then threw 19-yard touchdown passes to Devin Smith and Evan Spencer, the latter coming with 12:34 remaining in the second quarter.
Ohio State has won the last 11 games between the teams and leads the all-time series 14-2. Cincinnati's victories came in back-to-back home games in 1896-97 ... Nuernberger also kicked a 42-yard field goal in the third quarter ... Wilson had 71 yards on six catches.