It is week four of the college football season for the Ohio State Buckeyes, and while it is early, there is a sense of urgency. Ohio State (2-1) hosts the (1-2) Akron Zips. While they are not a juggernaut of a program, there are reasons for concern.
Head coach Ryan Day and his team had a tough pill to swallow today, as news broke that starting quarterback C.J. Stroud, had sustained a shoulder injury and will only be used in case of an emergency. It has yet to be decided as to whom the starting quarterback will be. Red-shirt freshman quarterback Jack Miller III and true freshman Kyle McCord are the two options up for consideration.
Miller, had previously played in a game last year against Nebraska, having rushed for 23 yards, on only one attempt. Any which way you draw it up, practice reps are nowhere near the hurdle of playing in a full college football game. The nerves and butterflies will hit either quarterback like a ton of bricks during their first drive, though Akron won’t be able to game plan, as there is little to no tape on either quarterback.
It would be wise for Ryan Day, to split drives between McCord and Miller III and then he can decide which guy he can give more of the workload to. This is a cause for concern, as last Saturday; Tulsa was competitive and stayed in it for most of the game.
Although Stroud struggled, Ohio State’s defense was shaky against the Golden Hurricanes. Thus far, in three contests, the Buckeyes defense has surrendered 86 points which the coaching staff would deem inexcusable. This is a program that has high aspirations, due to being in the College Football Playoff discussion year in and year out. Opposing teams, have scored 14 points off turnovers, registered 76 first downs, 545 rushing yards, 869 passing yards and 33 minutes and 20 seconds of time possession.
This is shocking as Ohio State has 26 minutes and 40 seconds of time of possession. Defensive ends Zach Harrison and Tyreke Smith need to step up their game, as they are heavily dependent upon. Ohio State can ease the burden on either quarterback, leaning on running back TreVeyon Henderson; who had a career game last week. Other options could be their best wide receiver in Senior Chris Olave; who has 243 receiving yards, two touchdowns, on 16 receptions. Junior wide receiver Garrett Wilson is another weapon that could be utilized. On the season, Wilson has three touchdowns, 267 receiving yards, on 19 receptions.
It makes plenty of sense as to why Stroud is taking the time to recover. The Big Ten slate is right around the corner. Ohio State has to rebuild their confidence and regain their focus so that they can battle for a conference title this year. Ohio State plays in a tough conference and every year some teams take a step forward and get better. While listening to Ryan Day speak on ESPN, he did not seem to be nervous, though I can tell he is feeling pressure. This is a guy who replaced the “great” Urban Meyer, who was extremely successful during his tenure. They say, the next game is always the biggest one and that could not be further from the truth. If Ohio State can put up a lopsided victory and the defense can shut the Zips out, that will allow the fans to breathe a sigh of relief.