Finally we got to see the Scarlet and Gray in action to start the 2023 campaign and the only way I can describe it was that we got out with a win while the country saw what life after being spoiled by CJ Stroud for two seasons. When Ryan Day made the statement that the quarterback battle would still be ongoing as we got into the season, I had anticipated more of a split of reps between Kyle McCord and Devin Brown, but what we got was 90% McCord, and Brown didn’t get a chance to make plays in the passing game with the ball in the 10% he was in the game.
Indiana played a good defensive plan on trying to attack the young and inexperienced offensive line for Ohio State, who had struggles protecting the line of scrimmage, and that translated to broken plays in the backfield that normally would have been opportunities to extend drives. They only allowed Ohio State to convert 2 of 12 third downs, which is a recipe for failure traditionally.
Next week and to a degree the week after won’t give us any more insight on growth but if this was the Notre Dame game, it would be hard to imagine the Buckeyes would have come out with a win. The good news is that it is a long season, and they have 11 more games to keep improving. This was just week one, and we saw flashes with McCord on some of his throws on why he was a 5 star quarterback out f high school, and hopefully we get to see some of those connect the next few games.
Kyle McCord led all quarterbacks with 20 of 33 completions, with 239 passing yards and an interception. Devin Brown had 1 of 3 passing with -2 yards.
The running backs helped take over the game as we got to see what a healthy rotation of the room looks like. Chip Trayanum led the team in yards with 57 on 9 carries. TreVeyon Henderson led the team in carries with 12 and rushed for 47 yards. Miyan Williams had 7 touches for 25 yards and 2 touchdowns, the only touchdowns in the game for the Buckeyes.
Cade Stover was the top receiver with 5 catches and 98 yards. Julian Fleming had 6 catches for 58 yards. Marvin Harrison Jr and Emeka Egbuka were limited to 5 catches total for 34 yards. Harrison Jr almost had a touchdown, but it was called back due to illegal touching.
The game was closer than anticipated, as the Buckeyes entered the game as a 31 point favorite, but struggles on offense prevented the Buckeyes from utilizing their arsenal of playmakers as much as fans should have hoped. It was never really in question for the outcome, but the final stamp was the field goal in the 4th quarter with under 4 minutes left in the game that helped seal any hope the Hoosiers had of making a comeback.
Star of the Game
Ohio State Defense. One of the stop storylines going into the season was how this defense would respond after giving up big plays that played a part in costing them against Michigan and Georgia. The only points Indiana scored was a field goal off of a turnover but they were held to 153 total yards.
The Buckeyes got the win on the road, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them fall a spot or two in the polls based on their offensive performance. At this stage though, the most important thing is to win and as the adage goes, the best part of being 1-0 is the chance to go 2-0.
Ohio State (1-0) will return home to host Youngstown State (1-0) on Saturday September 9 at 12pm on BTN
Indiana (0-1) will host Indiana State (0-1) on Friday September 8 at 7pm on BTN