“Sticking with Stroud” – Ohio State Football Coverage Weeks 1-5


Lucy Schaefer, Chief Editor

The Ohio State football program has been on a high the past couple of years. With highly-ranked starting quarterbacks and top-notch recruiting, the team has never drifted from the top 10 within the last couple of years. However, that boasting right has come to an end: going into Week 5, the Buckeyes are ranked at #12 in the country, behind teams such as Arkansas and Notre Dame.

Coming into this season, fans were nervous. The Buckeyes lost Justin Fields, their two-year starter, to the 2021 NFL draft, and therefore needed to play someone new. Ryan Day put his trust in CJ Stroud, a redshirt freshman out of Empire, California. Although he is new this season, the young quarterback showed promise as he stepped in for Justin Fields several times last year and carried the team well for his few moments of play. The Buckeye defense has also been uncertain, with many of the defensive linemen leaving for the NFL draft this past year. 

Although Buckeye fans were taking the beginning of the season with a grain of salt, they and every CFB fan were excited to watch their favorite team kickoff for a football-filled fall season. However, at the opening of week one, Ohio State fans turned off the television after a rather unpleasant victory @ Minnesota. Many people would consider this season-opener as a “trap game.” This means, that playing on a Thursday night, in a visiting stadium, at 7:30 pm, as a season opener is a game many would consider unideal circumstances for Ohio State. The Buckeyes played a close game against the Gophers, pulling away 45-31. This was a very uncomfortable game, as the Buckeyes looked extremely slow against Minnesota’s offense and their star running back, Mohamed Ibrahim, who ran for 163 yards and two touchdowns. 

Although the program did not look as strong as it had looked in previous seasons, Ohio State is in a rebuilding phase, meaning they’re replacing veteran players, who left for the NFL draft, with players who hadn’t been in the system for as long. After the Thursday night win against the Gophers, the Buckeyes would head into an extended period before their next game: the #12 Oregon Ducks.

This game was considered a “game of the week” by many, it was a top 15 matchup: #3 vs. #12. Confidence arose in Buckeye nation, as the game was at the Horseshoe and OSU was favored. However, a lousy defensive performance and a sub-par offense handed the Ducks the win on a silver platter, 35-28. After this loss, the Buckeyes sank in the AP rankings from #3 to #9.

As CFB worked into week three of play, Buckeye nation became more and more anxious. With their third game of the week, Ohio State would play the Tulsa A key player that came out of this week and has continued to prove it is Treveyon Henderson, a true freshman out of Hopewell, Virginia. Henderson carried the Ohio State offense in Week 3, accounting for 277 yards, 24 carries, and three touchdowns. The defense, however, struggled to stop the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes, and the score remained close throughout the game. The Buckeyes pulled through in the end, winning 41-20 with the defense boosting the score with an interception return by DB Cameron Martinez. Although Ohio State won by a convincing amount, the defense made Tulsa’s quarterback look like a five-star.

Ohio State, the next week, hosted the Akron Zips in Columbus. Just days before the game, it was announced that CJ Stroud would sit out, due to a shoulder injury. This would force Ohio State to play their second and third-string quarterbacks, Kyle McCord out of Philadelphia, PA, and Jack Miller III out of Scottsdale, AZ. Both QBs are true freshmen. Kyle McCord got the start on September 25th, and would end up throwing for 319 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jack Miller replaced McCord midway through the third quarter and threw for 66 yards and was ⅝ in pass attempts and completions. Overall, Kyle McCord outperformed and proved that Ohio State was left in good hands if CJ Stroud was not playing. The final score was 59-7, with the Buckeye defense improving, holding the Zips to only a touchdown.

Going into week five, the Buckeyes dropped to #11 in the AP Poll, sinking one spot from the previous week. There were bigger wins on Saturday, and the press did not see Ohio State’s as one that deserved to move up a spot or stay where they had been. On Saturday, October 2nd, the Buckeyes walked into SHI Stadium, where they would play unranked Rutgers from the Big Ten East. Although Rutgers have not been a threat in the past, the #19 “team up north” barely slipped away from them, winning 20-13. However, Greg Schiano’s team posed no threat to the Buckeyes, who dominated 52-13. CJ Stroud made his return and had quite an impressive performance throwing for five touchdowns and accounting for 330 offensive yards. The Ohio State defense also showed up this weekend, intercepting three of Noah Vedrall’s passes and holding the Knights to only two touchdowns. This game, although a difference in talent, showed the country that this new, young Buckeye team may finally be coming together. 

This weekend, on October 9th, Ohio State hosts Maryland at 12:00 pm. The now #7 Buckeyes are favored by three touchdowns vs the Terrapins, who got crushed by the #3 Iowa Hawkeyes in the previous week, 51-14.