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Scarlet Mondays: Ohio State vs Youngstown State

Updated: Sep 12, 2023

he Ohio State University enters during the Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Ohio State Buckeyes football game at Ohio Stadium on November 7, 2015.
Ohio State University Marching Band Credit Steven Miller via Flickr

Ohio State improved to 2-0 on Saturday with a 35-7 victory over Youngstown State in 'The Shoe' for their 2023 home opener. Although with a win, the performance yet again left the fans, players, and coaches wanting more out of their Buckeyes. Let's recap Saturday's performance and see where things may or may not have improved from Week 1 vs. Indiana.



Saturday's performance by Kyle McCord seemed to leave a lot of the fans believing that he may have officially won the job over Devin Brown. McCord threw for 14-20 for 258 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions on Saturday. Although these stats are not eye-opening for many, it's efficient and if you watched the game on Saturday, McCord played a lot more comfortably than prior to a week before and was able to stretch the ball downfield to Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbukah. Those two alone are keys to Ohio State beating Notre Dame in a couple of weeks. McCord's completion rate jumped from 61% to 70% in a week and looked to have taken control of the offense while on the field.

Devin Brown got a lot more playing time this past Saturday compared to his one lone possession against Indiana. He completed 7-13 passes with 101 yards throwing in the air. He was also sacked twice with one being in the RedZone on a fourth down that prevented Ohio State from going up 42-7 in the game. Brown did not seem comfortable controlling the offense compared to McCord but many will say this is expected due to this being his first real playing time against an opponent and in the shoe. The one thing you can key in on while watching the game was that Youngstown State had to respect Brown's athletic ability as he is able to get outside the pocket and run if needed which is crucial in this style of play in college football. Overall, Brown has a lot more room for improvement compared to McCord and a lot less experience than McCord which showed on Saturday.

All in all, the small sample size in the last two weeks of play for the Buckeye's offense is that Kyle McCord is the guy and needs to be named the guy for the Buckeye's success. I truly believe there is a target on the back of McCord, if for instance he makes a mistake and has to worry about coming out of the game, plays a factor in his consistency. If the Buckeyes want to be successful and beat Notre Dame, Penn State, and the team up north, they have to name McCord the for-sure starter and let him develop a rhythm with the offense. It is already hard enough to get a lot of offensive possessions with this new play clock rule and lesser talent teams running the ball when down 35-0 coming out in the second half. Just allow McCord to have the peace of mind that this is his team, stick with it, and get ready for Notre Dame.


Running Game

Trevyon Henderson and the offensive line showed signs of life on Saturday which is great to see for the Buckeyes. Henderson touched the ball seven times on Saturday (again not a lot, thanks new rule) and rushed for 74 yards with two touchdowns. Henderson looked like freshman-year Henderson in his small sample size on Saturday and will only get better from here as long as the offensive line continues to develop its continuity up front. I think Henderson continues to show he is the RB1 of this deep running back room and will continue to showcase his skills out of the backfield of speed, durability, and elusiveness.


Defensive Line

I hate to admit this because I am the biggest advocate of the D-Line this year and I said all off-season that this D-Line had four first-round picks up front but so far this has been embarrassing. Through two games so far guys like JTT and Jack Sawyer have been absent on the pass-rushing side of things and they have played Indiana and Youngstown State. I thought for sure by now each of these guys would have at least two sacks each against these opponents, if not more! The interior D-Line has stepped up and showed that they are deep and hungry. I still believe to be the most successful, the Buckeyes need to start Tyliek Williams and Mike Hall upfront to apply pressure in the middle and can hopefully take away the attention from JTT and Jack Sawyer. These two have to have an impact this year not only because Ohio State wants to be successful against Notre Dame, Penn State, and the team up north but for their draft stock as well. On paper, these guys are first-round picks without question with their size, skill capability, and being at Ohio State and hopefully, we see that in the coming weeks.


Calm Before the Storm

Ohio State has two weeks before their showdown in South Bend, two weeks! This week is a crucial game vs. Western Kentucky as crazy as that may sound. Looking back at Saturday, there were a lot of improvements which is a good thing with a team implementing a new QB. As long as Ohio State sees more improvements on Saturday and more consistency in all phases of the game they will be ready to lock in for Notre Dame. Continuing to improve the run game is key for McCord to get comfortable and allow him to make the downfield throws that will beat Notre Dame. The defense I still believe is elite even if we are seeing the issues with JTT and Sawyer. BIA is back in my opinion which will give Notre Dame issues all night trying to throw the ball. Be nice to see CJ Hicks get more playing time but that is a different conversation for a different day. All in all, Ohio State is preparing for a showdown in two weeks and Saturday is another day to get better in all phases and be ready for the Irish.


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