Ohio State grade card: Strong finish raises Buckeyes’ grades


A grade card on Ohio State’s 21-10 season opening win over Notre Dame:

OFFENSE: B

Ohio State’s 21 points were the fewest it had scored since a 22-10 win over Northwestern in the 2020 Big Ten championship game. Its 395 yards of total offense was the fewest it had gained since it totaled 341 yards against Alabama in the national championship game in the 2020 season.

The standard is set high for OSU’s offense as demonstrated by some people thinking quarterback C.J. Stroud had an off game after he was 24 of 34 for 223 yards and two touchdowns without an interception.

The Buckeyes’ run game was inconsistent early when Notre Dame took a 10-7 halftime lead. But that changed during touchdown drives of 70 yards and 95 yards in the second half when the line opened holes and TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams ran through them.

Emeka Egbuka (9 catches, 90 yards) was Stroud’s go to receiver when Jaxon Smith-Njigba played only briefly following a hard hit on a catch in the first half.

DEFENSE: A

Ohio State’s defense played like a unit that had something to prove after a major overhaul under new defensive coordinator Jim Knowles.

Notre Dame had only 253 yards of total offense. OSU’s defense held the Irish scoreless in the last 41 minutes, 56 seconds of the game. It limited the them to 72 yards overall in the second half. Notre Dame ran only seven plays in the fourth quarter.

Linebacker Tommy Eichenberg (9 tackles, 2 sacks) led the way. Safety Lathan Ransom, who suffered a broken leg in the Rose Bowl, continued his rapid recovery with seven tackles.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B

Ohio State’s kicking game and kick coverage were strong. Notre Dame started 6 of its 10 drives at or inside its own 15-yard line.

In the extra effort category, Xavier Johnson made the tackle on the kickoff after his first career touchdown catch. Noah Ruggles, who hit 20 of 21 field goals last season, missed a 39-yard attempt.

OVERALL: B

Ohio State played a below average first half and a good, but not great second half against a good, but not great Notre Dame team.

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