Are we back to having fun yet? After a long, miserable offseason, Ohio State played an actual football game yesterday afternoon, and just as we expected, it was an absolute bloodbath. The Buckeyes curb-stomped Oregon State to the tune of a 77-31 victory, their first of the year, and Ryan Day’s first as the interim head coach.
From the opening kick, Ohio State was never really challenged by Oregon State. The Buckeye offense was dominant for the entire time that the starters were on the field, and while the back seven of the defense had some issues, the defensive line looked just as good as advertised. Oregon State backup quarterback Conor Blount was on the ground all day long, thanks to Chase Young, BB Landers, Dre’Mont Jones, and of course, Nick Bosa.
There’s only so much that can be taken from a game like this, but we’ve gotta get these takes off, so let’s dive into the Buckeye football stock market for the first time in 2018.
Dwayne Haskins, QB: This honestly feels too easy to put Dwayne on here, but his performance is still worth talking about. The redshirst sophomore, starting his first ever college football game, put on a show, lighting up an overmatched Oregon State defense to the tune of 313 yards and 5 touchdowns, on 73% completion percentage.
We’ve been touting Haskins as an elite quarterback here at Land-Grant Holy Land dot com for months now, but it certainly felt nice to see him do something so rude to a Power Five defense (I use that term very lightly here). He looked confident, the offense flowed extremely well through him, and as much as we love J.T. Barrett here, it was very nice to see someone air the ball out in Columbus.
The defensive line: I touched on it in the intro, but hoo boy this defensive line is absolutely no joke. The starters were in the backfield all day long, picking up what felt like 30 sacks, and generally causing havoc for an Oregon State offense that really didn’t need any help being impotent. Every one of the starters, save for a couple dumb offsides by Chase Young, looked stellar whenever they were on the field, and this group was just as dominant as we thought they’d be. Even the backups, like freshmen Taron Vincent and Tyreke Smith, looked great in limited time.
Clemson and Michigan’s lines got a lot of hype this season. It seems that Ohio State deserves to be in that discussion too.
Revamped receivers room: Hey, it looks like Ohio State’s receivers may be competent, well coached, and capable of actually catching passes and running routes. I wonder what change caused that? Outside of the obvious, Dwayne Haskins being at the helm also seemed to be a big deal for a receivers room that returns a ton of talent, with a lot to prove.
K.J. Hill, Terry McLaurin, and Austin Mack all made some great plays, and while Parris Campbell, Johnnie Dixon and Binjimen Victor were all pretty quiet, I’m really not worried about them. The starting group looked awesome with Haskins tossing darts, and really seemed to take well to the new and improved offensive play-calling as well. Throw in nice performances by some younger guys (shouts out Chris “The Next Devin Smith” Olave and San Marcos California), and this was a very nice start to the Brian Hartline era.
Ryan Day: I’m going to preface this by saying that I don’t read my Twitter mentions or emails, so please god do not waste your time trying to yell at me for this section, because I will not see it. Okay, so, now that we’ve got that out the way, it’s safe to say that Ryan Day did a good job today. In fact, I think I’d go as far as to say that Ryan Day did a great job in his first game as a head coach.
There were a few baffling personnel decisions that we’ll talk about in a little bit, but for the most part, I was very happy with what I saw from the interim head coach. The play calling, especially when Haskins was at quarterback, was excellent, and far more entertaining than the Buckeye offenses of years past. Haskins was allowed to let it fly, and was given open targets to throw to for the entire time that he was on the field. There were also zero quarterback runs from Haskins in the first half, and J.K. Dobbins / Mike Weber were depended on to carry the ball. That’s how it should be.
As strange as it is to say, I think I feel a bit more confident with Ryan Day calling the offense heading into Rutgers and TCU than I would with Urban Meyer. Call it recency bias, but I really do think that Day is a great game manager and playcaller. I’m not sure if that can be said about Urban Meyer.
Drue Chrisman: LOOK AT THIS F***ING PUNT
Oregon State’s entire team: Listen, we knew what this was going in. Oregon State is a definitely bad team, and this was never going to be a struggle for Ohio State. However, the fact that a Power Five roster is that dreadfully bad is deeply upsetting. The Beavers aren’t quite on the level of Kansas, but they’re much closer than we thought. Thankfully for them, Southern Utah comes to town next week, but after that, I just don’t see Oregon State winning against another FBS team. Their offense showed a little life today, but they just don’t have the talent to keep up.
Sell: C.J. Saunders returning punts. I know that C.J. Saunders’ “walk-on to scholarship to seeing actual playing time” story is very nice and heartwarming, but this is a high level football team here. There’s no reason for C.J. to be back deep to return punts. Ohio State has a massive number of elite athletes on their team, and I just don’t see any reason that someone like Demario McCall, Parris Campbell, or even Jaelen Gill shouldn’t be back there.
Buy: The passing attack. For the first time in what feels like decades, Ohio State’s passing attack looked awesome yesterday. Obviously it was against Oregon State, so it should be taken with a grain of salt, but Dwayne Haskins and the receivers sure did give Buckeye fans a lot to be excited about. Haskins’ arm talent showed on pretty much every throw, and I really don’t remember him making a bad pass other than the late interception. Everything from the throws, to the receivers, to the play calling looked great.
Sell: Tate Martell running package. This isn’t a video game. I understand why Ohio State wants to get Tate on the field with the starters, and I understand why they want him to run the ball, but against a defensive coordinator (and defense players) with a brain, it simply doesn’t make any sense to substitute Tate in. Defenses know he’s not a threat to pass, and can pack the box whenever he’s on the field. Despite a wacky, downfield option, it didn’t work against Oregon State, and it certainly won’t work against good teams. Cut it from the playbook.