2022 Game Preview: Ohio State vs Toledo
The Ohio State Buckeyes will play its third and final non-conference game of the regular season on Saturday night at home, where the Buckeyes will host Toledo for a 7pm kickoff against a MAC opponent on FOX. Ohio State is favored to win by 31 points, and are 49-0-1 against in-state opponents over the past 100 years. Toledo though is a better match up than last weeks opponent, brining in the statistical 4th best defense into the Horsehoe, and could give Ohio State at least a somewhat tougher test than the Red Wolves could.
After all of the upsets last week, head coach Ryan Day doesn’t want them to overlook any opponent. “When you look across college football this past weekend, you can see that you gotta bring it every week,” Day said. “We talk all the time that regardless of who we’re playing, it’s about us, it’s about the way that we show up every day and try to compare it to the best people in the world at what they do. If you’re considered the best in the country, it’s not because you can do it once, that just means you have potential. You have to do it every single week. And so we’ve been trying to do that.”
Know the Opponent:
Head Coach: Jason Candle (6th season)
2022 Record: 2-0
Location: Toledo, OH
Ohio State Preview
The Buckeyes look to finish their non-conference record with a perfect 3-0 before hosting the Wisconsin Badgers next week for a second straight night game. Ohio State was never in jeopardy of losing to Arkansas State but the Buckeyes weren’t entirely satisfied with their performance. While Day said after last week’s game that he doesn’t want his team to ever take winning for granted, he also felt there were many things Ohio State could have done better in that game, which the Buckeyes were favored to win by 44 points.
In particular, Day was displeased that Ohio State had committed nine penalties, more than half of which were either pre-snap infractions or unsportsmanlike conduct flags. Day was also displeased that the Buckeyes gave away two possessions on special teams – one when Teradja Mitchell was penalized for leaping over the punt shield, and another when JK Johnson ran into the ball as a punt jammer, giving the ball back to Arkansas State on a fumble recovery.
CJ Stroud has been solid this year so far, passing for 574 yards with a 69% completion rate, while throwing for 6 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Hopefully the Buckeyes are able to get to a big enough to to let CJ rest, and let Kyle McCord get some reps in with the first tea offense for a series or 2, as he was relegated to clean up in the 4th quarter when the game was decided.
Both TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams have rushed for over 100 yards, and both should hopefully get over the 200, close to 300 yard mark after this game. Henderson has 25 rushes for 178 yards and 2 touchdowns. Williams has 130 yards on 22 carries and a touchdown.
Marvin Harrison Jr reintroduced himself last week with his 2nd 3 touchdown game performance. He has 240 yards on 12 catches and 3 total touchdowns for the season. Emeka Egbuka also is over the 200 yard mark with 208 yards on 13 catches and 2 touchdowns. The receiving core should be boosted this week as well with the return of Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Julian Fleming. I expect them to play for atleast the first half to get some game reps and keep healthy before Big Ten play.
Toledo’s defense has been dominant in its first two games, ranking second nationally in passing defense and scoring defense and fourth in total defense with just 10 total points allowed. With 92 points scored in their first two games, the Rockets are also tied for 16th nationally in scoring offense.
Granted, that success has come against weak competition, as Toledo opened its season against an FCS opponent Long Island University and followed that up with a dominant win against UMass. As good as they have been, they might not have the talent to keep up with Ohio State.
Dequan Finn is the most important offensive player for the Rockets. he has 388 yards passing with a 61% completion percentage, throwing for 3 touchdowns and 1 interception. He also leads the team in rushing, with 138 yard on 19 attempts and 3 touchdowns.
The Rockets have a running back-by-committee with its rotation with Jacquez Stuart, Peny Boone, Willie Shaw III and Micah Kelly. All 4 of the running backs have less than 100 yards on the ground but have over 12 carries in the first two games, and 4 touchdowns between them.
Jerjuan Newton is the leading receiver with 160 yards on 8 catches with a touchdown. The second leading receiver is DeMeet Blankumsee with 13 catches for 88 yards.
Denzel Burke. Josh Proctor set the bar last week after getting pulled against Notre Dame and bounced back to have a greta game against Arkansas State. Burke was picked on a bit and had two bad defensive pass interference penalties, and was replaced by JK Johnson. How Burke responds will be key for this defense moving forward, and a game against Toledo will be a great one to make your mark once again as one of the best corners in the country.
Dequan Finn. Finn is a mobile quarterback who will be the difference maker in this game, and will be the biggest challenge for the Buckeye defense. His versatility can extend drives, and keep the Buckeye offense off the field if the defense is not able to slow him down.
Water Cooler Stat of the Game
65. Ohio State has won its last 65 consecutive games against non-Power 5 teams, dating back to a Liberty Bowl loss to Air Force at the end of the 1990 season.
Toledo @ (3) Ohio State – Toledo enters the Horseshoe with the statistical 4th best defense in the country, and led by mobile quarterback Dequin Finn, who leads their team in passing and rushing. The key for this Buckeye defense will be to stop the run and keep disciplined in the secondary. Too many time against Arkansas did a mental mistake keep the drives alive, and Toledo is a talented team who could be kept in a game they really have no business to be kept in. The offense should be getting back to normal as Ryan Day indicated Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Julian Fleming should be making a return after coming off injuries, and give some familiar targets for CJ Stroud. We know the Buckeyes can play physical if they need, and they can score quickly in short drives, so this game will be about controlling the game through all 4 quarters, and keeping players healthy enough to get the win, and head into next week against Wisconsin to start Big Ten play.