Advertisement

Ohio State football stock report: QB Kyle McCord on rise after win over Michigan State

Where Ohio State is trending after its 38-3 rout of Michigan State on Saturday night:

Rising

Kyle McCord: If previous weeks had invited skepticism about McCord’s ceiling as a passer, his performance against the Spartans rebuffed some of those concerns. Not only did he throw for three touchdowns, but he also made a season-high four big-time throws, as defined by Pro Football Focus, showing good placement on balls headed into tight windows, most notably a back-shoulder strike to tight end Cade Stover in the end zone late in the second quarter.

Ohio State quarterback Kyle McCord was 24 for 31 passing for 335 yards and three touchdowns against Michigan State.
Ohio State quarterback Kyle McCord was 24 for 31 passing for 335 yards and three touchdowns against Michigan State.

Marvin Harrison Jr.: The versatility shown by Harrison keeps him rising. He got into the end zone three times against Michigan State in varying fashion, first on a reverse, followed by a 26-yard pass along the sideline and another 9-yard score in which he lined up in the slot and made a quick move past safety Malik Spencer. The variety of ways in which the Buckeyes are getting him touches could be an important factor as bigger matchups await.

First-half scoring: The Buckeyes have rarely seen fast starts this season, averaging 15.6 points in the first half of their first nine games. But they put up 35 points over the first two quarters against the Spartans as five of their first six drives ended in the end zone. It was also just the second time they managed to string together multiple first-half touchdowns against another Big Ten team this fall.

More: Analysis: No-drama OSU win a stark contrast to circus in Ann Arbor as The Game approaches

More: Join the Ohio State Sports Insider text group with Bill Rabinowitz, Joey Kaufman Adam Jardy

Cody Simon: The snap counts had been increasing for Simon since October, but his largest role came this past week when he started at middle linebacker in place of Tommy Eichenberg, who appeared to injure his left arm at Rutgers and was unavailable for the matchup. Playing a season-high 49 snaps, Simon led the Buckeyes with five tackles and broke up a pass.

Davison Igbinosun: The physical play from the Buckeyes’ cornerbacks begins with Igbinosun, the Mississippi transfer who continues to be one of their top tacklers. His five tackles, including three solo, were tied with Simon on Saturday, and he has gone four consecutive games without missing a tackle.

Against Michigan State, Ohio State tight end Jelani Thurman made his first two career catches for 18 yards.
Against Michigan State, Ohio State tight end Jelani Thurman made his first two career catches for 18 yards.

Jelani Thurman: The freshman flashed in the second half, catching his first two career passes for 18 yards. His path for a larger role is blocked at the moment by Stover and Gee Scott Jr. at the top of the depth chart, but if injuries mount, the experience could help, especially with Joe Royer sidelined with an unspecified injury.

Hero Kanu: The redshirt freshman defensive tackle from Germany has logged double-digit snaps in three out of the last four games and been a handful to block for offensive lines. He brought down Michigan State running back Nate Carter on a third-and-20 late in the third quarter for a tackle.

Falling

Punt unit: The Buckeyes did not commit a gaffe like last week at Rutgers when a miscommunication led to punter Jesse Mirco running for a first down instead of kicking it. But an apparent alignment issue on a punt in the third quarter prompted them to burn a timeout.

Joey Kaufman covers Ohio State football for The Columbus Dispatch. Follow him on Facebook and X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. He can also be contacted at jkaufman@dispatch.com.

Get more Ohio State football news by listening to our podcasts

According to Pro Football Focus, Ohio State quarterback Kyle McCord made a season-high four big-time throws against Michigan State, in other words passes with good placement into tight windows.
According to Pro Football Focus, Ohio State quarterback Kyle McCord made a season-high four big-time throws against Michigan State, in other words passes with good placement into tight windows.
Ohio State's Marvin Harrison Jr. scored three touchdowns against Michigan State, including his first rushing touchdown at the collegiate level.
Ohio State's Marvin Harrison Jr. scored three touchdowns against Michigan State, including his first rushing touchdown at the collegiate level.

This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Ohio State football stock report following win over Michigan State