Well, it finally happened, the Ohio State football team lost its first regular-season game under Ryan Day. Most thought it might happen at least once this season considering Ohio State is breaking in a new quarterback and many new faces across the offense and defense, but I think we were all in denial a tad bit.
The Buckeyes lost to a very good Oregon Ducks football team by a score of 35-28 and were playing catchup all day. Oregon struggled with a pedestrian Fresno State team the week prior, but we know that this is a quality program that is going to be in the Pac-12 conference championship conversation. But even with that said, we still want to learn from each game, so here are five things that we reluctantly learned from this loss.
Next…You won’t like this one
Is C.J. Stroud the answer?
C.J. Stroud is a good quarterback and finished with an insane stat line of 3 of 54 for 484 yards and three touchdowns. He is one of only three quarterbacks in Ohio State history to pass for over 400 yards in a single game, but even with that impressive stat line, there was plenty of room for improvement.
Stroud has a tendency to overthrow his receivers when they are going deep and it can result in some ugly interceptions if it continues. The talent Ohio State has at receiver is extremely rare and it is fair to wonder if one of the other five-star quarterbacks in the stable can get the job done more efficiently.
It’s a results-oriented business, and the offense stalled far too often in critical situations.
Next…the defense needs work
The defense is, well … not good
That tweet above should be enough evidence that the Ohio State defense is struggling so far in 2021. I want to give credit to Oregon’s offense because it executed at a very high level, but Fresno State held the Ducks to fewer points than the Buckeyes did today.
You heard that right. The Fresno State defense was better against Oregon than Ohio State was against Oregon. Some of that can be written off to it being early in the season, but this team will go as far as the improvement on defense does. I mean, you should never, ever, ever put up over 600 yards of offense and lose.
Next…I want to keep talking about the defense
The defensive backfield is a liability
The defensive backs are not the worst part of this defense, but they struggled mightily for the second week in a row. I didn’t harp on them not playing well against Minnesota due to Sevyn Banks and Cam Brown being out, but Cam Brown played despite limping half the game and Sevyn Banks dressed. I don’t know why Banks didn’t play, but we need more clarity, consistency, and production from this positional group.
Next…The running back pecking order is final
TreVeyon Henderson should be the main back
TreVeyon Henderson didn’t put on a statistical clinic, but he offers unique speed and ability as a receiver out of the backfield. He honestly may not be the best running back, but his skillset meshes with the offense so much better.
He’s young, but he has the burst and game-breaking ability that Miyan Williams and Master Teague simply don’t quite possess. He started to be the guy taking the snaps when things mattered the most in this game, and that might tell you where things are headed.
Next…the receivers continue to impress
Ohio State has the best receiving corps in the country. Hands down.
I wanted to end this list on a positive note because it’ll make me sleep better. Once again this receiving corps has shown how great it is. Every week the guys put on the team to catch passes put on a clinic in crisp route running and eye-opening catches. Everyone in the country knows about how great Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson are, but Jaxon Smith-Njigba made himself a household name today.
Ohio State's defensive woes, inability to finish on offense, lead to loss to Oregon
WATCH: Jaxon Smith-Njigba catches second touchdown of day against Oregon
WATCH: C.J. Stroud throws 26-yard touchdown strike to Jaxon Smith-Njigba
WATCH: C.J. Stroud hits Garrett Wilson for 27-yard touchown vs. Oregon