2022 Game Preview: Ohio State vs Arkansas State

Competitive Stamina.

That seems to be the theme of this game, and to a degree the season for the Buckeyes, who are still on of the favorites to not only make the Playoffs, but make and challenge for the National Championship game.ย 

“The game is done from the week before, no matter what happens, good, bad or indifferent, because we have to move on, because nothing we did last week matters,” Coach Ryan Day said. “And that goes back to that term โ€˜competitive stamina.’ Can we bring it every single week?”

After a massive season-opening win over now-No. 8 Notre Dame, No. 3 Ohio State has the challenge this week of getting pumped up to play against a 44-point underdog in Week 2, Arkansas State from the Sunbelt Conference. The Buckeyes most likely wont have the pressure of playing to a television audience of 10.5 million viewers, like they did the previous week, but this Big Ten Network opener should still be must watch to see how the Buckeyes rebound for a game where they will have to make their own energy.ย 

If you ask the players though, they are not overlooking any team this season, which happened in a few games last year.

“I feel like it was a problem to get rid of,” said CJ Stroud,”So we maybe played down our competition at times, and me personally that’s not something I never want to do. You always want to go out there and prove that you can dominate anybody when you step on to the field.”

The defense for the most part delivered in week one while the offense underwhelmed in the first half, but scored 14 points in the second half in a Tressel-esque offense to put the game away and get an 11-point win against a top 10 opponent. Now, their sights have turned to the Red Wolves, who are coming off a big confidence boosting win against an inferrer FCS opponent in Grambling.ย 

Know the Opponent:

Head Coach: Butch Jones (2nd season)
2022 Record: 1-0
Location: Jonesboro, AR
Conference: Sun Belt Conference

Ohio State Preview

It doesn’t matter who the opponent is, the Buckeye media department can deliver with their hype videos.ย 

Ohio State enters this game in the middle of the pack statistically on offense with being held to under 400 yards, the second time ever it happened under Ryan Day since taking over as the head coach. To be fair, they are the only team in the country with a top 10 win, yet fell down to 3rd as Georgia leaped them in the polls. Fans can point to last year when Georgia beat Clemson 10-3 in a top 5 match up to open the season as evidence to a potential bias, but the season is still early, and Ohio State still has 3 more opponents on their schedule who are ranked in the top 25 to continue to build their case.

The Buckeyes can’t overlook the Red Wolves this week, or become complacent or else they risk losing even more votes, and could be doubted as one of the top teams in the country. But, if fans are worried about the passing game, they shouldn’t be as there will be no defense until the Michigan game that could challenge the Buckeyes on a pure talent standpoint. Plus, Ryan Day’s offensive philosophy starts with the pass game, and he will get that turned around.ย 

CJ Stroud has completed 24 of 34 passes for 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. TreVeyon Henderson leads all running backs with 15 carries and 91 yards. Miyan Williams has 14 carries for 84 yards and a touchdown, while also having a reception for 12 yards.

Emeka Egbuka leads the receivers with 9 catches for 90 yards and a touchdown. Marvin Harrison Jr was second with 5 catches for 56 yards, and Xavier Johnson had 2 catches for 34 yards,

Arkansas State Preview

Arkansas Stateโ€™s head coach Butch Jones has already faced against Ryan Day and knows what it takes to beat Ohio State. Jones was Nick Sabanโ€™s special assistant during Alabamaโ€™s 2020 national championship run, which finished with a 52-24 win against Ohio State to capture the college football crown on Jan. 11, 2021. Jones was hired to helm the Red Wolves program on Dec. 12, 2020, but remained on staff with the Crimson Tide until they won it all the following month.

On his call in show, Ryan Day said of Arkansas State. “They have very good coaches. Butch Jones is someone I really respect. They are very capable, and have around 27 player on their roster via the transfer portal.”

The Red Wolves had a disappointing 2021 season, as they went 2-10, which is their worst record since 2010. The Red Wolves went 1-7 in the Sun Belt to finish the year with sole possession of last place in the conference. Arkansas State allowed no fewer than 21 points to any opponent all season and gave up at least 40 points in six different games.

Arkansas State opened up the season against Grambling, where they won 58-3.

There should be some familiar names on the opposing sidelines as most of the roster is made up of transfers. Quarterback James Blackman threw for 155 yards on 12-of-16 passing with two TDs in the first half. He also scored on a 9-yard run to lead the Red Wolves to a 30-0 lead. James Blackman was on the 2017 Florida State team that lost to Alabama in that season’s opening game, and he is in his 6th year of eligibility.ย 

At running back Brian Snead, and Ohio State transfer, is the teams second leading rusher, and had 12 carries for 57 yards and a touchdown.ย 

At wide receiver, Champ Flemings’ first game was as an Oregon State freshman receiver in 2018 at Ohio Stadium โ€” a 77-31 loss to the Buckeyes. The 5-foot-5, 142-pound Flemings is now in his fifth year after transferring to Arkansas State.

Buckeye Spotlight

Emeka Egbuka. With the chance that Jaxon Smith-Njigba will be sidelined for a week or two before the Buckeyes open up against Big Ten play against Wisconsin. Egbuka was the leading receiver for the Buckeyes in their opening win against the Fighting Irish, and could be filling in for that lead receiver role. Based on his responses this week with the media, he will continue to return for both punts and kickoffs.ย 

Red Wolves Spotlight

James Blackman. The 6th year senior is the heart of the offense and his play will dictate how much success will have against the Buckeye defense. In their warm up game against Grambling, Blackman passed and ran for 2 touchdowns, and passed with a 75% completion rate.ย 

Water Cooler Stat of the Game

1. This will be the first match up ever between the two teams. Arkansas State founded their football team in 1911, 21 years after the Buckeye’s first season.ย 

Prediction

The test for the Buckeyes in this game isn’t if they can win this game or cover the spread, the test will be if they can get themselves focused after the entertainment Mecca that was last weekend against Notre Dame. This will be under the sun at noon, and the Buckeyes will most likely be without Jaxon Smith-Njigba for a week or two before the Wisconsin game on September 24th. CJ Stroud should be able to pad his stats into the third quarter in this game, and expect to see Kyle McCord in come in the game to fill in as closer. The defense will need to step up against Justin Blackman and former Buckeye Brian Snead, but this should be no contest.

Ohio State 56 โ€“ Arkansas State 7

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