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Stock Market Report: Sonny Styles steals the show as offense flounders, especially on third down

Right? It was a perfect game. Right?

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

I have good news, and I have bad news. The good news is, Ohio State is 1-0 after its 23-3 win over Indiana and now has a conference win under its belt. The bad news is that the 0 in the team’s record won’t stay there for long if they don’t figure some very important things out fast.

Another piece of good news is it is a long season, and guys can improve. Let’s take a look at some guys who improved their stock in week one and who did not.

Blue Chip Stocks

Sonny Styles: The main talk from camp this off-season and throughout the summer was how good Sonny Styles has looked. And it transferred to the field against Indiana,

Styles was the best player on the field, making open-field tackles, covering the length of the field, and using his speed and athleticism to cut down angles and force runners out of bounds.

There really is not too much to say. Styles was phenomenal, and he is pushing the levels of generational talent. He led the Buckeyes in tackles for loss at 1.5. The sky is the limit for the 18-year-old, and game one showed that.

Chip Trayanum: As everyone expected coming into the game, Cade Stover was the leading receiver, and Chip Trayanum was the leading rusher. That was an easy prediction.

Trayanum was fantastic, acting as the lead blocker as the fullback for the other rushers and averaging seven yards a carry when it was his time to run the ball. He also would have set a touchdown scoring block if Kyle McCord had read it right. But we move on.

Trayanum finished with eight carries for 57 yards, averaging 7.1 yards per carry. He was the most patient back for the Buckeyes, following his blocks and hitting the holes that opened up due to that. The Buckeyes have a wealth of talent in the running back room, with legitimately five running backs that can play meaningful minutes. However, Trayanum has proven with his on-field play that he deserves to continue to get reps, even if it isn’t as RB1.

Solid Investments

Denzel Burke: Burke came under some heat last season as he was not as consistent on the back end as many people expected him to be. Cornerback is arguably the toughest position to play. Burke struggled in his sophomore season, and he is ready to bounce back. He looked prepared, energetic, and ready to remind people exactly the talent that he has.

Kyle McCord: Okay. Get it out. Call me crazy. Say it isn’t the time. Say you want Devin Brown.

Alright, now let’s discuss.

This was the second start in McCord‘s career, and he was serviceable. At times, he was pretty good. And I know, that is not the standard at Ohio State. And if come week 10, we are still calling him serviceable, that is obviously an issue.

However, for all the criticism Ryan Day has faced, and much of it deserved, he knows how to coach and develop the quarterback position. Plus, let’s not forget McCord was one of the top quarterback recruits in the country coming into Columbus and showed flashes on Saturday. He made a great pass to Cade Stover for 50 yards, hit Miyan Williams on an important wheel route on fourth down, and threw a touchdown pass to Marvin Harrison Jr., which was called back through no fault of McCord. And yes, he threw a bad interception, but if you are going to force a pass, I would rather he does it on fourth down, so I can forgive that.

He did not look amazing, but he was still getting his sea legs under him. With the weapons they have and as the offensive line gets settled, McCord will be able to get more comfortable and reach his potential as a quarterback.

Junk Bonds

Third Down Efficiency: The most daunting stat that came from their opener was the third down efficiency or lack thereof. The Buckeyes were 2-for-12 on third down and struggled immensely in short-yardage situations. This will be something they need to figure out ASAP, or against a good offense, it will come back to kill them late in games. You have to be able to convert in those short-yardage situations and be able to trust you have an offensive line that can get that necessary push for running backs to pick up first downs. Or creative enough play calling to utilize the skill players on your team to pick those up, which we have not seen either.

You don’t have to be perfect, but 2-for-12 is not going to win you any big games.


Buy: The running game. This one does not require too much explanation, either. The Buckeyes have four running backs (five depending on the health of Evan Pryor, which seems to be good) that can provide valuable minutes and carries for Ryan Day and company. Whether it is Williams, Henderson, Trayanum, or someone else, this is a talented running back room that all brings different and unique running styles for the offense.

Buy: Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka: I recognize it sounds crazy to even say, and I am certainly not a stock market genius, but I do know that after yesterday, I am sure there are some people who will chalk what they saw from the top receivers as they are checked out and ready for the NFL Draft.

I don’t believe that, and I don’t think you can make those sweeping assumptions from one game, especially with a first-time quarterback. These guys have unfinished business and will still put up insane numbers this year.

Sell: Ryan Day’s play-calling. The issue with Ryan Day is not that he is incapable of being a creative and aggressive play-caller. We have seen it against Georgia last year and Clemson in 2021.

The issue is it is inconsistent. Sometimes, he is red-faced and pumping his fist and showing that emotion. Other times, he looks like he just wants to get to the end of the game. I know he wanted to work Brian Hartline into the play calling, and I know he has a new quarterback who is still finding his footing, but you have the two best receivers in the country, and they had five catches for 34 yards. That just simply cannot happen.