After each Ohio State football game, we hand out grades and take a look at snap counts to reflect on what we watched after pouring back through game film. Last Saturday against Oregon was far from a banner day for the team, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
You win as a team and lose as a team though as they say though, and there is plenty of blame to go around in all phases of what we witnessed in a packed ‘Shoe this past weekend. It’s also interesting to see where the snap counts are starting to go with a couple of the position groups, so we’re taking a look at that as well.
Let’s get into it.
Ohio State Buckeyes top snap counts
Paris Johnson, Jr.
Marvin Harrison, Jr.
Top Offensive PFF Grades
C.J. Stroud 81.6
Nicholas Petit-Frere 73.9
Chris Olave 72.1
Julian Fleming 70.6
Jaxon Smith-Njigba 70.3
Top Defensive PFF Grades
K’Vaugh Pope 82.9
Tyreke Smith 74.4
Tyleik Williams 74.2
Ty Hamilton 74.0
Denzel Burke 73.0
NEXT … Handing out grades
The Quarterback: C.J. Stroud
Sep 11, 2021; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (7)throws during the first quarter against the Oregon Ducks at Ohio Stadium. Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
Things were a little slow at the start for Stroud, but at the end of the day, he lit up the Oregon secondary for 484 yards through the air. He was confident and poised. However, the interception at the end of the game and the inability to keep the chains moving rests on the QBs shoulders, right or wrong. Because of that, we can't give Stroud an A grade. But it's close.
The Running Backs
Ohio State Buckeyes running back TreVeyon Henderson (32) eludes Oregon Ducks defensive tackle Brandon Dorlus (3) during the second half of the NCAA football game at Ohio Stadium in Columbus on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. Credit: USA TODAY Sports
Being a running back can be harsh because a lot of how well you do hinges on what the guys in front of you do with blocking. On Saturday, that operation didn't work too well, meaning there wasn't a lot of running room for both Miyan Williams and TreVeyon Henderson. It was basically an average day on not many carries. This part of the game has to be better in the future.
The Wide Receivers and Tight Ends
Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba (11) heads upfield after a catch against Ohio State Buckeyes in the second quarter of their NCAA Division I game on Saturday, September 11, 2021, at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Credit: USA TODAY Sports
It's hard to blame the receivers for the lack of offensive touchdowns on Saturday. Three of them finished over 100 yards receiving for the game, and without this position group, Ohio State's not even in the game.
The Offensive Line
Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Garrett Wilson (5) celebrates his touchdowns catch with offensive lineman Thayer Munford (75) against Oregon Ducks in the second quarter of their NCAA Division I game on Saturday, September 11, 2021 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Credit: USA TODAY Sports
After an outstanding performance against Minnesota, things did not go well against the Ducks. Despite losing a couple of key starters, the offensive line had issues opening up holes and moving people off the ball. Pass protection was solid so we'll make a note of that, but this was not the standard set by offensive lines of the past for the Buckeyes. Grade: C
The Defensive Line
Ohio State Buckeyes defensive end Zach Harrison (9) goes up against Oregon Ducks offensive lineman Steven Jones (74) in the first quarter of their NCAA Division I game on Saturday, September 11, 2021, at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Credit: USA TODAY Sports
Where was the pressure on the quarterback? Where was the push at the point of attack? I don't believe I've ever been more surprised at the defensive line's performance (not in a good way), than what I saw vs. Oregon. This was supposed to be the strength of this year's defense and things just weren't there on Saturday. There were no sacks and the running game for the Ducks did almost whatever they wanted. Grade: D
Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker Teradja Mitchell (3) tackles Oregon Ducks running back Travis Dye (26) during the third quarter in their NCAA Division I game on Saturday, September 11, 2021, at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Credit: USA TODAY Sports
The linebackers didn't look good at all on Saturday either. They didn't diagnose and fill gaps, they missed assignments and couldn't get through the wash to the outside to cut off running angles. Things have to be better, like ... yesterday. Grade: D
Oregon running back CJ Verdell runs past Ohio State safety Bryson Shaw (17) and cornerback Cameron Brown (26) for a 77-yard touchdown on Saturday. Verdell scored two touchdowns.
Credit: USA TODAY Sports
Not to continue the doom and gloom but the defensive backs as a unit also missed assignments and didn't contain the running game on the perimeter. If it weren't for a few good pass break-ups, the grade would be worse. As it is, at least the DBs contained the passing game somewhat. Still, there has to be a ton of improvement here as well. Grade: C-
Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker Tommy Eichenberg (35) high fives punter Jesse Mirco (29) after his second punt inside the 5-yard-line during the first half of the NCAA football game against the Oregon Ducks at Ohio Stadium in Columbus on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. Credit: USA TODAY Sports
We can't really fault the special teams here. Jesse Mirco had one whale of a game pinning Oregon deep, and Noah Ruggles hit every extra point. If only he had the opportunity to hit a couple of field goals to change the trajectory of this game. Ohio State continues to just catch the football on both kickoffs and punt returns. That area can get better to add an extra dynamic to the games. Grade: B+ [listicle id=60420] Contact/Follow us @BuckeyesWire on Twitter, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Ohio State news, notes and opinion.