Ohio State tamed its House of Horrors on Saturday afternoon, easily dispatching of Purdue and improving to 6-0 on the season. Despite being shorthanded on offense, the Buckeyes were still able to consistently move the ball and had the right guys step up in the absence of Emeka Egbuka, Miyan Williams, Tre Henderson, and eventually Chip Trayanum.
1. Big-time job of setting the tone early by Marvin Harrison Jr. When you’re down a few guys, you need your superstar to be a superstar and Harrison was just that right out of the gate. Harrison made a couple of tremendous grabs to move the sticks and help his quarterback out after an early drop from Julian Fleming. Harrison then grabbed the game’s first touchdown.
2. But, after that early drive, Marv struggled more than we’ve seen him before. Three, maybe four, balls that I know he would think he should catch, including bobbling a would-be touchdown. Xavier Johnson and Julian Fleming also had drops, it was not the cleanest game from the receivers.
3. Building off of that, box scores can be deceiving when looking at QB play. For example, if you just looked at the box score last week against Maryland, you would think Kyle McCord had his best game of the season, but for a good chunk of that game it was a struggle. In this one, the completion percentage isn’t going to do him justice. Conservatively, I would say there were five drops out there. Knowing what a high standard this receivers room holds itself to, that internal number is likely higher. I thought McCord was really, really sharp today and the completion percentage won’t really show that. A lot of completions and yards left on the field today by the receivers.
4. You hope some of the running back stuff right now is precautionary. I’m a big Dallan Hayden fan, but being out your top three running backs for the huge matchup with Penn State next Saturday would not be ideal. It feels like it is precautionary with Henderson for sure, and likely Miyan, but that was a scary hit Trayanum took today and you have to wonder if he’ll be good to go in just seven days.
5. Hayden gets my game ball today though. Tremendous performance. He’s still likely going to keep his redshirt, but this is someone who was essentially shelved until next year, getting a quick call up and not just going out there and not screwing it up, but having maybe the best game we’ve seen an Ohio State running back have this season. Hayden averaged seven yards per carry today and had 2 or 3 outstanding runs showing vision, wiggle, and toughness. While, again, I expect him to keep the redshirt, I think this could be worth revisiting as the games become more and more meaningful.
6. The Ohio State defensive line finally got home today and now we’ll spend all week wondering if this is something that is trending in the right direction or if it was more a result of the competition. But as I always say in these situations, success breeds confidence and confidence breeds production so we’ll see if the good vibes carry over to next week. This was definitely the most active that Jack Sawyer has been all season.
7. And the same thing goes with the offensive line, which wasn’t perfect in pass protection but was generally solid there and was opening more holes in the run game than at any other point of the season. So we’ll wonder if this more of a Purdue thing than an Ohio State has figured some things out type of thing, but good to see nonetheless.
8. Ultimately, House of Horrors resolved. I expected Ohio State to win and cover this week and they did. Different team, different coaching, and this Purdue team just isn’t very good and talented. It was a good tune up for Ohio State, a really good “get right” game to have some success in areas that they have been struggling in.
9. How good is the future of the Ohio State receivers room looking? Once again we’re going to watch a plethora of NFL guys leave the program and nobody should be concerned about it. Carnell Tate continues to prove he’s going to be the next big name and Brandon Inniss now taking advantage of his opportunity today with a tremendous route, catch, and run for a touchdown. Add the Rogers/Rodgers brothers and Jeremiah Smith and there is absolutely nothing to worry about next fall.
10. You guys thought I was going to forget, didn’t you? A FREAKING QB SNEAK! What a time to be alive. Not only did it work, it was executed exactly how I’ve been screaming it should be executed all season, getting Caden Curry from the fullback position to push the pile. This should be the default play call in all 3rd and 4th and less than a yard situations.