Game 2 Recap: Oregon 35 – Ohio State 28
Losses are tough, especially in ones where a team was never in control, and was playing catch up. If you were to guess before this game which team would look low on energy, seem to be on a earlier body clock, and not seem as prepared, you would have guessed the Oregon Ducks, who were shorthanded without two of their best defensive players. But it was the Buckeyes who never looked in sync.
Give credit to Oregon on that win, their first in the series history. With the win, they now control the PAC-12’s playoff chances, and only face 2 more teams that were ranked in the preseason top 25.
Ohio State has some big defensive problems that need to be fixed, and soon. Very easy is it to mention the 2014 team, who went on to win the National Championship after a week 2 loss, but if they can not get the issues on defense fixed, then it could easily go the way of the 2017 season, with a second loss to a Big Ten opponent. Ryan Day’s honeymoon phase as the head coach is over, and he now has to make some hard decisions to help correct the course of the season.
It was great to have fans in the stands again who did their part to cheer when needed, and tried to make it tough for Oregon, but the play on the field did not match the same intensity. Even though the defense had struggles, the offense had some issues too, and were not able to establish a running game. Also, the decision to not kick field goals in field goal range might have been the difference in the game, but you have to wonder if Day does not have trust in his place kicker just yet.
CJ Stroud passed for the second most passing yards in a game in Ohio State history with 484 yards with 3 touchdowns and 1 interception. The running back was split between Miyan Williams and TreVeyon Henderson, who each had 12 or more carries, but were both held to just 131 yards combined.
For the first time ever in Ohio State history, three receivers had over 100 yards in a game. Jaxon Smith-Njigba led the way with 7 catches for 146 yards and 2 touchdowns. Chris Olave had 12 catches or 126 yards. Garrett Wilson had 8 catches for 117 yards and a touchdown.
Star of the Game
CJ Verdell. The Oregon running back gashed the Buckeye defense for 181 yards on 20 carries, and had 3 total touchdowns. As impressive as CJ Strouds passing yardage numbers were, it felt like the 2018 Purdue game with the Buckeyes trying to come back.
Oregon now controls its own destiny if they win out. Ohio State, it became a little more complicated but still a possibility. With the loss, they will likely tumble in the polls, and will have to climb back up. They can still win out and win the Big Ten to have a shot, but they will need some help from the other teams. The Big 10 is the second best league in college football, so a 12-1 Big 10 Champion can still have a shot at being in the top 4. They will just need to refocus and use the next two weeks to work on the defense.
Ohio State (1-1) hosts Tulsa (0-2) at 3:30pm on FS1
Oregon (2-0) returns home to host Stony Brook (1-1) at 7:30pm on the PAC12 Network.
Photo credit: NCAA.com