There was both good and bad things to take away from No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes’ 45-21 victory over the Florida Atlantic Owls on Saturday. The Buckeyes, behind transfer quarterback Justin Fields, put up 28 points n the blink of an eye, holding a four-touchdown advantage with 6:50 left in the first quarter.
However, the Owls won the remainder of the three quarters and nearly seven minutes of play, by a score of 21-17. There will no doubt be plenty of things on film that new head coach Ryan Day and his staff can look at and work on from both sides of the ball.
The Justin Fields era got off to a hot start with a 45-21 win over FAU!— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) August 31, 2019
Catch the highlights in our 60' in 60" ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/DT6GtsNHFL
However, there were a few players that had impressive season openers. So, for their performances against Florida Atlantic, Ohio State’s pair of No. 1s, sophomore quarterback Justin Fields and junior cornerback Jeff Okudah, have been named Land-Grant Holy Land’s Week 1 MVPs.
Week 1 Offensive MVP: Justin Fields
Passing: 18-25, 235 yards, 4 TDs
Rushing: 12 carries, 61 yards, 1 TD
Justin Fields was as good as advertised today vs FAU pic.twitter.com/du46HLR0qP— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) August 31, 2019
To say that Buckeye fans’ expectations for the team’s new starting quarterback were high would be an understatement. But, for the first eight or so minutes, it looked like hey weren’t high enough. While the offensive line and a few poor decisions brought the remainder of Fields’ debut back down to earth a bit, there is no doubting that Saturday’s victory over the Owls showed just how special the transfer QB could be.
Fields joins his predecessor Dwayne Haskins as the only two Ohio State quarterbacks in the program’s 130 year history to account for five touchdowns in their first start. What was impressive about Field’s performance was that he was able to show all of the facets of his game.
For his fourth touchdown of the game, Fields faked the handoff, and then through a great pass down the seam to Chris Olave on the post route. It was a great example of Fields’ are strength and ability to lead his receivers.
Justin Fields with a perfect strike to Chris Olave for a 29-yard TD. Fields was mad he had his first OSU incompletion. pic.twitter.com/SkHXnxLA3R— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) August 31, 2019
On another completion to Olave, Fields showed how his escapability can keep plays going in the passing game. On a third down around midfield in the second quarter, Fields was able to allude pressure and get outside the pocket in order to create new passing lanes to get the first down.
The QB also showed a bit of his middle infield, baseball experience by dropping his arm slot down a few notches to deliver a bit of a three-quarter pass.
Nice third-down pick up as Fields moves up in the pocket and throws a sidearm-ish bullet to Chris Olave. pic.twitter.com/1h2VqTJkXr— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) August 31, 2019
Now, no discussion of Fields’ skills would be complete without mentioning his running ability. On his first touchdown as a Buckeye, the QB went 51 yards nearly untouched for the game’s first score.
Granted this was during the portion of the game in which the offensive line was imposing its will and create gargantuan holes for Fields to run through, but his ability to run away from defenders was impressive.
This play was successful, because the defense was so focused on the potential handoff to J.K. Dobbins, that they forgot their assignments on the quarterback. This didn’t happen too many more times in the game, but it is a good reminder of what the OSU offense can do if it is able to establish both Dobbins and Fields as legit rushing threats.
That didn't take long...— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) August 31, 2019
Justin Fields gets his first TD of the season for @OhioStateFB pic.twitter.com/yTSre9kHp0
Week 1 Defensive MVP: Jeff Okudah
6 tackles (4 solo), 1 tackle for loss, 1 PBU, 1 forced fumble
While Jeff “Don’t call me Jeffrey” Okudah has changed how he wants fans and media to talk about him, he certainly hasn’t changed the intensity that he brings to the field. In the first game of his junior season, and his first as a starter, Okudah showed what makes him Ohio State’s next potential first round draft pick at cornerback.
In the first quarter, Okudah comes up and makes a great open-field tackle on FAU tight end John Raines on a slip screen for a one-yard loss.
Everyone on defense had their responsibility covered, and Jeff Okudah finished it off with a great tackle. pic.twitter.com/o7WHzA1Lbp— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) August 31, 2019
Earlier in the quarter in coverage on wide receiver John Mitchell, Okudah perfectly defends the stop route. He avoids a pass interference penalty, but is able to get his hand between the ball and the receiver, breaking up the pass.
5 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 PBU
Who were your MVPs on the game? Let us know in the comments below.