I think we have established by now that Game 1 did not go as planned. It was a lot closer than expected, the quarterback situation was not resolved and overall there weren’t a ton of bright and shiny plays. However, with the talent this team has and what they did show against the Hoosiers, I think this offense is still going to be electric.
Cade Stover and Julian Fleming were the leading receivers this past Saturday—kudos to you if you picked that before the game. If you want to be really optimistic, this is actually a good thing. Clearly, Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka didn’t play their best games. The two of them combined had just five receptions for 34 yards. This shows that even when WR1 and WR2 have an off game, the Bucks can still produce an (almost) 100-yard game from one of their receivers.
It’s going to take a couple of games for whoever the starting quarterback is to find a rhythm within the game and with his receivers. Youngstown State should, hopefully, be great practice for that. It was nice to see Fleming have a solid game after his season last year, as he picked up six receptions for 58 yards.
This was certainly the Farmer Gronk game. Cade Stover’s 98(!) yards were extremely encouraging, as it was his most yards in a game in his career. He was an absolute beast out there, shoving down any defenders who tried to stop him and pushing for those yards after contact. He had a great year last year, and with this start against Indiana, I’m excited to see what the rest of this season holds for him.
This was the position group I was most excited to see last Saturday. While my prediction of two 100-yard rushers didn’t come true, or even one, I still liked what I saw for the most part. Chip Trayanum was perhaps the biggest surprise and player that I was the most hyped about. Ryan Day has been praising him all offseason long, and now we finally got to see him for ourselves— and he was the leading rusher!
As for TreVeyon Henderson, I think he had a solid first game back from injury, but I want to see more. His 12 carries for 47 yards were pretty good for the number of snaps he had, and I liked his 19-yard breakaway run (his signature), but he got stuffed at the line quite often. The RBs were stopped three times on third-and-2 or less, which obviously isn’t all on them, but just something that I noticed.
One other note was how little Dallan Hayden got in. In fact, he had one reception for -2 yards and that was it. Yes, there are 5 running backs on this team, but I still would’ve liked to see him get in a little more— I’m sure he will against YSU, and hopefully Evan Pryor, too.
So this group is a work in progress. The stat I mentioned above about struggling to convert on third downs? That falls on the offensive line. The run game couldn’t truly get going because they kept getting stopped at the line, which made it hard for the passing game to get going.
They pass-protected pretty well, as McCord didn’t get sacked at all, and he usually had a decent amount of time to throw. It would’ve been surprising if they could have run and pass-protected well, as three of them are new starters, so at least they did one thing well, I guess.
YSU and Western Kentucky should be great games for them to get game reps in and work on run protection.
Overall, was it a great offensive performance from the Buckeyes? Of course not. But they did get the job done. These next two weeks will be good practice to get everything sorted out just in time for Notre Dame.