COLUMBUS, Ohio -- After dominating with a prolific offensive display in the opener, No. 4 Ohio State won with defense in Week 2.

The Buckeyes returned two interceptions for touchdowns in the final minutes of the first half that propelled them to a 48-3 victory over Tulsa on Saturday afternoon in a game delayed at halftime by more than an hour because of a thunderstorm at Ohio Stadium.

Safety Malik Hooker came up with the first pick six -- his third interception in two games -- and cornerback Marshon Lattimore followed with his second of the game in driving rain and Ohio State's third interception of the first half to send the Buckeyes (2-0) to a 20-3 halftime lead.

Ohio State's defense stymied Tulsa (0-2), giving up only 188 total yards and forcing six turnovers.

"Our defense is playing so well right now," Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said.

Cornerback Gareon Conley added a third-quarter interception as the Buckeyes pulled away in the second half with 11-yard and 5-yard rushing touchdowns from quarterback J.T. Barrett, a 1-yard rush by running back Mike Weber and a 5-yard run by H-back Dontre Wilson.

Barrett passed for 149 yards and finished with 55 yards on the ground with the two TDs. Weber rushed for 92 yards on 17 carries after going over 100 in his first game last week.

"I thought he played well," Meyer said of Weber. "He's a guy that used to be the guy that holds the ball down here (low). Now he's chin-chin-chin, he claws the ball nice.

"And you saw the other team had a couple of issues where interceptions and turnovers. I thought the best thing he did is he hit the hole hard, he ran hard, but he also hung on that ball. It's night and day compared to who he was a year ago."

Curtis Samuel has been dynamic in the first two games with 401 yards from scrimmage, including 78 rushing yards on Saturday, and Wilson added three receptions for 38 yards, and he had 30 yards rushing on three carries.

"Those two are playing at a high, high level," Meyer said. "Whenever you have the ability to run inside with guys like that, on the perimeter and catch the ball, we're going to try to recruit as many of those as we can."

After bowling over Bowling Green with 776 total yards in last week's 77-10 opening win, Ohio State's offense wasn't nearly as impactful in the first half against Tulsa. The Buckeyes managed just two first downs and 40 yards in the opening quarter and the offense was held to 158 total yards and produced no touchdowns in the first 30 minutes.

The Ohio State defense played lights-out, though, and delivered the two big plays with the Buckeyes leading only 6-3 late in the first half.

Hooker stepped in front of a pass from Tulsa quarterback Dane Evans and returned the interception 26 yards for a touchdown with 3:02 left before halftime. Then, with heavy rain falling in the final minute of the first half, the Golden Hurricane inexplicably tried to throw on third down from its own 24-yard line and Lattimore picked off a wobbly pass that slipped out of Evans' hand and scored from 40 yards with 33 seconds to go before halftime.

A late-summer thunderstorm that started late in the second quarter delayed the start of the second half.

"I don't think the storm coming in was a big factor," Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery said. "Did it get wet in a hurry? Sure, but we have to adjust, we have to play in it, and we just didn't execute at the level that we are used to executing at. You've got to give some of that credit to Ohio State."

When the teams returned, Ohio State controlled the game. Barrett scored from 11 yards out on the first drive of the third quarter and added an early fourth-quarter touchdown as the Buckeyes scored 45 straight points after the early 3-3 tie.

"We came out and played our best football, at least offense," Meyer said. "And defense played well, too. But to sit in a locker room for an hour and a half, that's a good sign of some maturity. Saw some maturity in the locker room. I saw some disappointment with the way we played offensively in the first half.

"But good teams pick up each other. I thought the two pick-sixes obviously -- we've got a pretty good secondary. You put that with a decent pass rush, that's a pretty good defense."

The game couldn't have started much worse for Tulsa. Evans' pass on the first play of the game bounced off wide receiver Keevan Lucas' hands and was intercepted by Lattimore. But the Golden Hurricane defense held the Buckeyes to a 29-yard field goal by Tyler Durbin.

"Honestly, we just didn't come out and start fast like we were supposed to," Lucas said. "I know early on I started off bad with that drop, and I knew that was on me. As a leader of this offense and as a leader of this group, I take that personal. We have to get back to work."

The Ohio State defense showed its mettle in the first quarter with a goal-line stand, but after the offense went three-and-out, Tulsa took over at the Ohio State 40-yard line and moved into position for a 37-yard field goal from Redford Jones with 3:22 left in the quarter to tie the score at 3. That was pretty much the highlight of the day for the Golden Hurricane.

"I thought we really played well defensively, especially early," Montgomery said. "Offensively, we never really got anything clicking. We got some things going, but just never finished when we got down in the red zone. We made too many crucial mistakes at bad times."

NOTES: Ohio State LB Dante Booker missed the game with a sprained MCL. LBs Joe Burger and Jerome Baker filled in for him. ... Former head coach John Cooper is a member of the athletic Hall of Fames at both Ohio State and Tulsa. The 79-year-old Cooper was on hand for Saturday's game. ... Ohio State came into the game leading the nation in scoring offense and total offense after its blowout win in the opener last week. H-back Curtis Samuel was No. 3 in all-purpose yards. ... Tulsa is the smallest FBS school with an undergraduate enrollment of 3,473, and Ohio State is third at 55,508. ... Tulsa co-defensive coordinator Bill Young is a former Ohio State assistant. ... Tulsa and Ohio State met for the first time.



t