A 23-3 score will not inspire anyone to have the Buckeye contending for a national championship, but luckily for us, those aren’t being handed out after the first week of college football. That’s a big sigh of relief, isn’t it?
Ohio State had some good performances, as well as some bad moments Saturday afternoon, and this will help highlight those. Below you will find my 5-star performer (the best), and 1-star performer (the worst) in Saturday’s win over Indiana on the road to start the season.
5 ⭐️ - The secondary
This was really the only group that played at a national championship caliber level against Indiana. The defense allowed 58 yards while the Hoosiers attempted 21 passes. It had one pass interference penalty called on it and that wasn’t because Davison Igbinosun didn’t look back, he was just a bit early to break up a pass. Aggressive mistakes like that are fine in my book. Lathan Ransom also had a roughing call, but look above for my feeling on that. This could be the beginning for BIA’s (Best in America) return.
4 ⭐️ - Running backs
Why it Matters
The running backs were one step behind the secondary for one simple reason, the inability to find holes on short yardage situations. This could also be an offensive line issue, but we will not talk about that. The trio of Chip Trayanum, Miyan Williams and TreVeyon Henderson did a very solid job against a stouter than expected Indiana front. The group carried the load when the offense was sputtering; Williams accounted for both touchdowns by the offense.
3 ⭐️ - Tight end Cade Stover
Why it Matters
If not for a costly holding penalty, the senior would have been much higher on this list. He showed he could be a receiving force, catching five passes for 98 yards. His blocking has always been solid, so it was disappointing to see him get called for the infraction. Stover didn’t find the end zone, but he was a great safety blanket for the player below …
2 ⭐️ - Quarterback Kyle McCord
Why it Matters
After a run of first round NFL quarterbacks, maybe we have grown spoiled. I have no doubt that head coach Ryan Day will make this work, but there is plenty of improvement McCord can make in his overall game. He was late on throws or just didn’t make them — maybe he was processing the defense a bit slow, too. Indiana did try and disguise looks, and for a quarterback with minimal experience, that’s a solid strategy. The touch wasn’t there on a few throws, the deep ball and one into the flat come to mind. The good part is that there is room for growth, but McCord will have to do that quickly with Notre Dame looming in a few weeks.
⭐️ - Offensive play calling
This didn’t look like a typical Ohio State offense. The Buckeyes played close to the vest, and it was like the they were having a tribute to former head coach Jim Tressel, not like the one that happened up north. This was eerily similar to a win in his tenure, but Day has shown his offense is better than that. There were only a few deep shots all afternoon, while running on predictable downs, especially on third, kept this offense from really exploding.
Speaking of third downs, the inability to convert there hurt the bottom line as well, and I questioned some of those play calls. We all knew Day turning the keys over to offensive coordinator Brian Hartline would be a transition, but not one this ugly, no matter who was making the calls on the sideline.