After each ohio state match in the 2022 football season, LGHL will offer its market analysis of Buckeyes performance. Using a standard bond rating system, we will rate offense, defense and special teams, according to this formula:
AA: very strong
BB: facing great uncertainty
Then we’ll look at individual players whose performance stood out (in one way or another!) and assign them a stock rating: Blue Chip, Solid Performance, Penny Stock (similar to a junk bond, dangerously high risk).
Last week’s wind, rain and northwest defense had us worried about the state of Ohio State’s offense. CJ Stroud was out, the running game stalled, and the offensive line couldn’t get people out. What a difference a single week can make! Against Indiana yesterday, the OSU offense racked up 662 yards, 27 first downs and 56 points, moving the ball easily on the ground and through the air.
Once again, the Buckeyes got off to a slow start, going three and out on their first practice. But the Bucks came back strong and scored touchdowns in their next three series, essentially determining the first-quarter outcome.
Stroud was still not at his best. He made a few bad pitches and threw a few he probably shouldn’t have made. His career as a running QB appears to have been short-lived, as he “rushed” eight yards on four attempts.
Buckeye’s defense was solid throughout the game and was able to increase the pressure on IU’s quarterbacks when they wanted to. Indiana really only had one good streak (out of 16 possessions), a 75-yard drive late in the first quarter. Other than that, it was pretty much nada, with one or two weird and enjoyable games.
All in all, it was a dominating performance for the Buckeyes, and, right now, I don’t care if the Bucks peak or the competition is just awful. I will take this victory.
Overall rating: AA very strong
I’m sure there will be quibblers who will find fault with Buckeye’s attack. I mentioned Stroud, for example. He only completed 61% of his passes, a little below his average for the season. But he still threw for nearly 300 yards and completed five touchdown passes to four different receivers.
The OSU racing game was the best I’ve seen in quite a while. Until his injury in the second quarter, Miyan Williams was a star, gaining 147 yards on 15 carries. Freshman Dallan Hayden picked up where Williams left off and gained more than one hundred yards himself. And there were also big racing games. Hayden’s long rush was 20. Williams had 48 yards. And Xavier Johnson switched to running back from wide receiver and took off for 71 yards and a touchdown on his only rush. 340 net yards rushing, averaging 7.9 yards per carry. Impressive!
The Buckeyes had 15 possessions and recorded touchdowns on eight of them, though they got plenty of help on a drive from a blocked punt that gave the Bucks the ball to Indiana 2. OSU probably could have opened the game up even more; apparently the Hoosiers had no answer for anything the Buckeyes did.
Overall Rating: A Strong
I was tempted to give the defense the same better score as the attack. Like I said, IU only had one good drive and threw 12 times, only picking up 10 first downs along the way. They were 3 of 17 on third attempts, 0 to 1 on fourth attempts.
But there was that one drive. And there were missed tackles and missed pass coverage. For the second week in a row, the Buckeye D has nothing to take away. There are still problems in the secondary. Cam Brown and Jordan Hancock played most of the corner snaps and, to be honest, they often lost their men. It’s an area that needs to be firmed up – I know, it’s kind of a broken record.
Overall Rating: BB Adequate
If it hadn’t been for Lathan Ransom’s blocked punt in the third quarter, I should have rated the special teams play even lower.
Punt comes back? All season they have been a problem. Emeka Egbuka is a talented guy, and I always expect him to be able to return a kick for a TD (although he never does). But he’s not good as a punt returner. He missed a few and therefore seems reluctant to throw punts, usually letting them bounce and roll, losing 15 or 20 yards in the process. When the game got out of control, the Bucks inserted receiver Reis Stocksdale to return the punts. He fumbled on both of his attempts, losing the second to the Hoosiers, a turnover that led to their second touchdown.
You’d think that with all the receivers and defensive backs on the roster — all of whom likely returned kicks in high school — the Buckeyes could find someone to stand there and line up a good catch cleanly. Other teams are able to do this without a problem.
Jesse Mirco’s punt was decent (five for an average of 40.4) but not up to par with his performance last week. Noah Ruggles didn’t attempt a field goal, but he did land all eight of his extra kicks.
Kam Babb. Number 0 finally has a chance. After everything Kamryn Babb has been through (four ACL tears), he finally stepped onto the court. And he caught an eight-yard TD pass from Stroud. It was really heartwarming to see the love from his teammates. I hope the rookies were watching because that brotherhood is what it means to be a Buckeye.
Xavier Johnson. Here’s another unlikely hero. Johnson once rushed for 71 yards, caught two passes for 47 more and played well on special teams. In fact, it was Johnson who recovered the blocked putt on Hoosier’s two-yard line. With the running back position somewhat depleted, we could see more Xs as RBs.
miyan williams. He only played one half, and we hope his injury is not serious. But what half! Averaging 9.8 yards per carry, Williams gained 147 yards before his injury. My, my, he runs hard.
Marvin Harrison, Jr.. FOX announcers were certainly very attached to Harrison, Jr., and, as usual, he had a solid game. Although Stroud missed him a few times, Harrison, Jr. had seven receptions for a team-best 135 yards and a touchdown. His 58 yards was the longest pass of the day.
Lathan Ransom. It was a big day for safety. He had nine total tackles, a sack and a half and a blocked punt. It really makes a difference when he’s on the pitch – and he usually is.
Tommy Eichenberg. Aside from a few quarterback rushes, Indiana has never had a running game. And it was because of Eichenberg. He had seven total tackles, including three for losses.
Steele Rooms. Quick? You bet. Chambers had ten tackles for the game, a half sack and a tackle for a loss. He is catching up so quickly.
Jack Sawer. There were a few second-half Hoosier possessions that Sawyer almost thwarted on his own. He finished the game with a sack and a half for his three tackles.
Dallan Hayden. Hayden was the second Buckeye rusher to gain more than 100 yards in the game. Once Williams was out, Hayden became the workhorse and carried the ball 19 times for 102 yards. He also scored the Buckeyes’ second touchdown with a 14-yard run.
Cade shorts. I love watching Stover chase after a take. And – I wouldn’t want to have to try to knock him down. Always giving full effort, Stover caught three passes for 45 yards and two touchdowns.
C.J. Stroud. Like I said, it wasn’t one of Stroud’s best games. But 300 yards and five TD passes certainly qualify as “solid.”
Reis Stocksdale. Didn’t see much of Stocksdale in the game, but his two attempts to catch punts were more than enough. The Buckeyes likely brought him in to gain experience, but it looked like he needed more time in practice before he was ready for the game.
Julien Fleming. I’ve been a longtime Fleming fan and have written about how much I think of him, but for the second week in a row he’s been dropping passes. Yesterday he was targeted five times but only caught two passes for 24 yards. His ratio was even worse last week. We know he has the talent to make a difference in attack, so let’s hope he tightens things up for the latter part of the season.
Injuries continue to rise, especially, of course, among the ball carriers. Ryan Day, when asked about the situation, bragged about the Buckeyes’ depth. We will see. But it would certainly be best if everyone was healthy and on the pitch for the November 26 showdown. 10-0 and on the way!