Game 2 Recap: Ohio State 45 – Arkansas State 12
Leading up to this game, the concern for the Buckeyes was not about the outcome, but rather if they can create their own energy going into a game against an opponent that they have a talent gap over, and not play down to them. The Buckeyes stepped up to the challenge and started the game off with a strong note. The defense held Arkansas State to a 3-and-out, and the offense ran a n 8 play, 96 yard drive that was capped off with a 42 yard pass from Cj Stroud to Marvin Harrison Jr.
It was at this point the Buckeyes did not play disciplined, and were called for an unsportsmanlike penalty after the touchdown celebration. On the Red Wolves next possession, the defense held the them to 3 plays again, but then the Buckeyes were called for 2 penalties which not only reversed a punt return for a touchdown by Emeka Egbuka, but gave Arkansas State the ball back. Two pass interefence calls later against Denzel Burke, the Red Wolves chewed clock enough to connected on a 29 yard field goal. The Buckeyes got the ball back, and in 4 plays drove 75 yards and Henderson scored his first of 2 rushing touchdowns of the game.
The second quarter was rough for the Buckeyes as Arkansas State controlled the time of possession and had the ball for nearly 20 of the 30 minutes in the first half, scoring 2 more field foals on 2 50+ yard drives to bring the score closer to 17-9 with a a Buckeye lead. Ohio State showed its explosive offense once more and scored a touchdown with a second touchdown pass from Cj Stroud to Marvin Harrison Jr for 42 yards on a 3 play drive. As the half ended, there was a penalty against Ohio State as there was some jawing back and forth between the Buckeyes and the Arkansas State players, which meant that the starting kickoff would be moved up.
The Buckeyes regrouped in the second have, and took over in the third quarter. Their first drive was 3 plays long for 75 yards, when Henderson rushed for his second touchdown. The next possession, the Buckeyes only needed 2 plays and CJ Stroud connected with Emeka Egbuka on a 51 yard touchdown pass. The Red Wolves got one more field goal, and the Buckeyes scored the last points of the game as the 3rd quarter was expiring with a third touchdown pass from CJ Stroud to Harrsion Jr for 30 yards.
It wasnt pretty, and overall could be described as a sloppy showing, but the Buckeyes got a win, and improved to 2-0. The early part of the season, these games are supposed to be about building from each week to the next, so the Buckeyes don’t have to be championship ready right now, but their biggest opponent from now until the Michigan game most likely will be themselves, and they will have to clean up the penalties and big plays on defense. If they can do that, they should be in good shape to meet their goals of a national championship run.
The Buckeye offense had 538 total yards, with 370 in the air, and 168 on the ground. The defense held Arkansas State to 276 total yards, 53 of which were rushing, and 223 yards passing.
Cj Stroud was efficient, passing for 351 yards for 4 total touchdowns and no turnovers. He connected on 16 of his 24 passes, giving him a 92.4 QBR rating for the game.
TreVeyon Henderson was the breakout back this game with 87 yards on 10 carries, and 2 touchdowns, his longest run of 41 yards. Miyan Williams had 8 carries for 46 yards, and no touchdowns. Emeka Egbuka was the third leading rusher with 27 yards on a jet sweep run, and freshman Dallan Hayden saw the field in the 4th quarter, rushing for 13 yards on 4 carries, and also had 2 catches for 13 yards.
Marvin Harrison Jr had a monster game with 7 catches for 184 yards and 3 touchdowns. Emeka Egbuka, who also had punt return duties, took in 4 catches for 119 yards and 1 touchdown. Cade Stover was involved in the passing game once more with 2 catches for 40 yards.
This game was never truly in question about Ohio States chances to win it, but due to some long drives for Arkansas State in the first half, the Buckeyes went into halftime with a 24-9 lead. The Buckeyes were a 44 point favorite, and the halftime score didn’t show the true gap between these two teams. The Buckeyes deferred the opening kickoff, so when they got the ball to start the second half, they scored in 3 plays, for 75 yards with a TreVeyon Henderson run for ta touchdown, and then on their next possession, they scored on 2 plays for 59 yards when Stroud connected with Emeka Egbuka for a 51 yard touchdown pass. With a 38-9 lead, the score would have been too much for the Red Wolves to try and make it more of a game.
Star of the Game
Marvin Harrison Jr. The growing star receiver recorded his second game where he caught 3 receiving touchdowns, the 1st one since the Rose Bowl game. The Buckeyes were without Jaxon Smith-Njigba, which gave both Harrison and Emeka Egbuka a chance to shine, and it was Harrison who made the most of his opportunity.
The Buckeyes bounced back offensively in this game but still need to clean up mental mistakes on both sides of the ball. Six of the Red Wolves 12 points were a result of penalties on the defense which gave Arkansas State free yards to keep their drives alive. Alabama escaped with a very narrow win against Texas 20-19 thanks to some plays from Bryce Young to lead the Crimson Tide to a game winning field goal. Georgia shut out an overmatched Samford team that kept the margin of victory closer than the spread. Some shake ups though were Notre Dame losing at home to Marshall, and Texas A&M losing to Appalachian State. The Notre Dame loss might hurt Ohio States strength of record, but the name of the game is winning, and Ohio State is still in a spot to control its destiny as they move to 2-0 with a chance to go to 3-0.
Ohio State (2-0) hosts Toledo (2-0) at 7pm on FOX.
Arkansas State (1-1) travels to Memphis (1-1) at 7:30pm on ESPN+.
Photo credit: Eleven Warriors