Five things we think we learned from Ohio State’s win over Tulsa

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Ohio State got in the win column after dropping its first regular-season game under Ryan Day last week to Oregon. But it was far from a clinic on how to respond after a loss.

The Buckeyes found themselves in a dog fight throughout the game, even all the way into the fourth quarter before a touchdown on both the offensive side and defensive end provided enough breathing room for Ohio State fans to relax a wee-bit. In the end, it was a “closer than the score indicated” 41-20 win.

Still, though, this team is a work in progress clearly and there are some things that we can take away from this one (we think) and try to move things forward. Some are good, but most involve improvements needed.

Here are five things we think we learned after Ohio State’s win against Tulsa on Saturday afternoon.

NEXT … TreVeyon Henderson is a superstar … now.

Welcome to the TreVeyon Henderson era at Ohio State

We made a call for freshman running back TreVeyon Henderson to take on the No. 1 tailback spot in this one and to go over 100-yards on the ground. Apparently, we overshot by more than a North Korean missile test.

Henderson went way over 100-yards toting the mail, breaking Archie Griffin’s single-game freshman rushing record by going for 270 yards on just 23 carries (11.7 avg.) He showed a burst and wiggle none of the other running backs have on the roster.

He’s your guy going forward, and he’s earned it.

NEXT … C.J. Stroud is clearly still a work in progress

C.J. Stroud is still an inconsistent freshman

Without the heroics of Henderson, this game might have been in even more peril than what unfolded in front of us. Stroud seems to have lost his confidence in throwing the ball down the field, and completed just 15-of-25 passes for 185 yards.

He also kept a streak he probably isn’t very proud of alive. Stroud has thrown an interception in each of his first three games now with another one against Tulsa. Stroud still has a ton of talent, but he needs to have a couple of big weeks to get things going because Ohio State will need his arm down the road, and it has to be better than what it was Saturday. He’d probably be the first one to tell you that.

NEXT … The defense looked mildly better

The defense still has to continue to get better

After a week of hand ringing, teeth-gnashing, and under-the-bus throwing comments from Ohio State fans, we saw some changes Ryan Day and company made to the defense. Things have not gone well over the first two games, especially in the running game, so changes were promised and afoot.

We saw some more blitzing, different formations, and different personnel, but it still wasn’t what you’d film when making a “defense for dummies” book.

The good news is that the run was bottled up a bit more and there were a couple of takeaways, but there were still a lot of receivers getting open and a lack of pressure in the first half on the quarterback. You can’t expect things to be corrected overnight, so at least is was a small step in the right direction.

NEXT … The natives are restless

Ohio State fans are not happy

The expectations at Ohio State are about as lofty as anyone in the country, save for maybe Alabama. It’s Big Ten championship and College Football Playoff or bust. This is really the first time we’ve seen an OSU team struggle like this since out of the gate against Virginia Tech in 2014 (we know how that ended).

I am a bit surprised how quickly OSU fans have jumped off the ship though. This team is still 2-1 and has a 1-0 record in the Big Ten. Everything is still out there for the taking including the College Football Playoff. However, we the announced crowd was far from a packed stadium, and many left well before the game was over.

We’ll have to see if this team can begin to build momentum and if the casual fan comes back around.

NEXT … This might have been more about Tulsa

Was this more about Tulsa or Ohio State

Believe it or not, despite the close game throughout, the Buckeyes came just a point or two from covering the spread (depending on what sportsbook you follow). But it was still a dogfight.

I submit to you that this might have been more indicative of Tulsa playing above its head than Ohio State not showing up. I know that’s a stretch, but Minnesota smashed a Colorado team 30-0 in Boulder that just got done giving Texas A&M all it could handle.

Also, Oregon might really be that good. Combine that with the Golden Hurricane losing by just five points to Oklahoma State last week, and Tulsa is most likely an improving ball club.

OK. We tried to sell that. How’d we do?

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