Game 3 Recap: Ohio State 77 – Toledo 21
The first three weeks of the regular season for the Buckeyes showed us they have versatility on offense. Against Notre Dame, they played a grind it out, possession based offense against a really good schemed defense to gut out a 21-10 win. Against Arkansas State, they showed they can score almost at will, and quickly with several scoring drives less than 5 plays long. And in this game, they looked the most balanced but aggressive, scoring 11 possessions as touchdowns, and not settling for field goals, and only punting 1 time (which was downed inside the 5 yard line).
The defense though has been good, but the question is still can it win the Buckeyes a national championship. They allowed 5 big plays (20 yards or more) and finally got on the right side of the turnover battle with an interception and a fumble recovery. For the most part, they did slow down Toledo’s Dequan Finn, and they should not face a quarterback as elusive until JJ McCarthy in the last game of the regular season, and potentially playoffs against Bryce Young. They still need to grow within their scheme, and the cornerback position seems to be the weak link the first three games for the new defense what will need to get fixed.
As exciting as this game was though, Ryan Day knows, and his team knows, they have to turn the page to next week against a solid Wisconsin team who has one of the best running backs in the country. “Next week we have a conference opponent, so everything is going to be even harder,” Day said. “So usually we wait until Sunday to move on. We’ll do that as we leave the stadium tonight.”
CJ Stroud flexed his quarterback skill with 22 completions on 27 passes for 367 yards, and 5 touchdowns with no interceptions. He also ran twice for 9 yards on scrambles on plays where the receivers were covered. One pass I am sure he would want back is a touch pass to Cade Stover who was wide open in the endzone after a play-action, and he overthrew the tight end. Kyle McCord was able to get into the game in the third quarter, and passed for 115 yards on 5 of 7 completions and a touchdown.
TreVeyon Henderson played a short game after scoring on the first drive and finished the game with 19 yards on 4 carries. He appeared to have gotten hurt, and the staff kept him out as a precaution. That gave Miyan Williams a chance to lead the rushing attack in the first half, and finished with 77 yards on 10 carries. In the second half, Dallan Hayden got the nod, and the freshman flashed with 17 carries for 108 yards and a touchdown. In the 4th quarter, TC Caffey got in and had 6 carries for 57 yards and a touchdown.
Emeka Egbuka lead all receivers in yardage with 116 yards on 7 catches, and a touchdown. Jayden Ballard had 4 catches for 113 yards with a touchdown, a long touchdown run of 72 yards from Kyle McCord. Marvin Harrison Jr scored 2 touchdowns in his 4th ever start, his 3rd game with 2 or more touchdowns in a game, and also eclipsed the century mark with 102 yards on 6 catches. Cade Stover is a growing weapon at tight-end, and had 3 catches for 83 yards.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Julian Fleming made their return and made their presence known. JSN had 2 catches for 33 yards. Fleming scored two touchdowns on 3 catches for 23 yards.
All credit to Toledo’s Dequan Finn, who should be electric going into MAC play, but this was a game that was put away early. The Buckeyes had 6 first half possessions and scored touchdowns on all 6 drives, going into halftime with a 42-14 lead. This game was determined on the recruiting trail, and it showed in the 3rd and 4th quarter where the Buckeyes scored 35 points with their 2nd and third team offense.
Star of the Game
CJ Stroud. Going into halftime, Stroud was near perfect with 4 touchdown passes with an 18-20 completion rate and just shy of 300 yards, and none of touchdowns were from Jaxon Smith-Njigba. He finished the game completing 22 of 27 passes for 5 touchdowns, and 367 yards.
For the most part, the top teams took care of business this week, including the Buckeyes. Georgia has already moved up to the top spot in the coaches poll entering week 4, and will most likely keep that spot for the second straight week in the AP poll. Ohio State now will begin Big Ten play, and outside of maybe a trip to Penn State, the Buckeyes opposition should set them up easily to run the table until their week 13 match-up against Michigan, who could also be undefeated. With the offense clicking, and the defense growing, the Buckeyes should still be one of the top 3 teams in the country in the first quarter of the regular season.
Ohio State (3-0) hosts Wisconsin (2-1) at 7:30pm on ABC.
Toledo (2-1) travels to San Diego State (1-2) at 3:30pm on FS1.
Photo Credit: OhioStateBuckeyes.com