“There were some plays that were made and some were missed...We’ll figure out why that is. ... It’s hard to make snap judgments with so much going on.” ~ Ohio State head coach Ryan Day on the play of the Ohio State quarterbacks versus Youngstown State, 09/09/2023
As predicted, Ohio State comfortably defeated visiting FCS opponent Youngstown State, 35-7. While the Buckeyes looked better in the second game of the season than they did in the first week, there are still enough concerning areas for the coaching staff to address as the Buckeyes will be preparing to host the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers at Ohio Stadium next week.
Let us address the positives first, and that starts with the Ohio State passing game. For all of the concerns, valid or not, about Ohio State’s downfield passing game after Week 1 at Indiana, the Buckeyes adequately demonstrated their quick strike capabilities by finding superstar wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. for two long touchdowns, as Harrison wound up with seven receptions for 160 yards, averaging nearly 23 yards a reception. Emeka Egbuka also had a strong performance, with five receptions for 94 yards and a touchdown, averaging nearly 19 yards per catch.
Ohio State maintained its running back by committee approach, and the team ran for a collective 123 yards rushing. TreVeyon Henderson only carried the ball five times for 56 yards, but had two touchdowns and averaged 11.2 yards per carry. Miyan Williams had a late touchdown taken off the scoreboard due to a penalty, as the Buckeyes seemingly showed effectiveness out of the I-formation again with Chip Trayanum as a blocker.
Of course, I would be remiss if I did not mention the appearance of former Youngstown State and Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel at the game. Props for the sweater vest that paid homage to both of his former squads...
The Red Vest is back. Welcome home Jim Tressel. Once a Buckeye always a Buckeye. Good luck 2day and I hope he’s able to soak this experience in. pic.twitter.com/UKiqnUur5m— Jaret Fudale (@GUARDSFANATIC) September 9, 2023
While it is not official, as of this writing, it seems that Kyle McCord has established himself as the starting quarterback. I realize that BTN’s Jake Butt made a comment after the game about how “it’s Devin Brown’s team”, but that was a mistake, as McCord had the superior passing numbers, and the offense seemed to flow much better when he was in the game.
Ohio State head coach Ryan Day did not seem overly impressed with the play of the quarterbacks, as evidenced by the quote up above, but it seems likely that McCord will be the starting quarterback for Ohio State moving forward.
Before I get 100 mentions. It’s— Jake Butt (@Jbooty88) September 9, 2023
***Kyle McCords*** team.
Saw browns name on my chart and had a lapse. Think if you listened to the broadcast that was clear and a miscue on my end at the end.
Now, let us move onto the concerns. I am not hitting the panic button, but I know where it is, and I am getting closer to flipping the glass container over it to have the button ready, just in case.
- The Ohio State offensive line is still a work in progress, and right now, Josh Simmons is struggling. Simmons improved as the game progressed, but I am beginning to wonder if the move from Simmons to Donovan Jackson at left tackle may be necessary. I will defer to the wisdom of the coaching staff on this one, especially after they review the game film, but giving Jackson the nod at left tackle versus Western Kentucky may make sense.
- While we are at it...Please stop doing this. In the name of all that is sacred.
Still running wide in short yardage. SMH.— Michael Citro (@Mike36fan) September 9, 2023
- Ryan Day was not happy with the defensive performance after the game, and I cannot say that I blame him. Youngstown State was 7-of-15 on third down conversions, sustaining drives, and able to gain 234 yards offensively for the game. Give credit to Doug Phillips and his coaching staff for taking a more aggressive style than Tom Allen of Indiana did a week ago, but Ohio State should have been much more dominant defensively, especially against an FCS opponent.
- The officiating left a lot to be desired. A pass interference call that was not called on Marvin Harrison Jr., a late hit out of bounds that kept an Ohio State drive alive but was not nearly a personal foul, and then the touchdown by Henderson that was nearly called a touchback, until it was reviewed. Ugh.
- The lack of a pass rush is troubling. Tommy Eichenberg and Michael Hall Jr. were both credited with sacks, but it would be fair to say that more quarterback pressure was expected from the defensive line, especially J.T. Tuimoloau and Jack Sawyer.
As I wrote on 09/08/2023, and I remind myself...
“Expect some sloppiness. Perhaps not as much as in Week 1, but there will be some mistakes that will frustrate you.
Even before Michael Citro and I review this game, or preview Western Kentucky for this week’s episode of The Silver Bullets Podcast, I am going to remind myself of my statement repeatedly. I am going to forewarn all Ohio State fans that sloppiness, especially on the defensive side of the ball, is going to be there versus the Hilltoppers next week, as Western Kentucky likes throw the ball all over the place.
Here is to hoping that Ohio State figures out how to handle that, as well as their offensive challenges, between now and then, as the looming trip to South Bend on Sept. 23 is becoming more and more ominous.