Five things we think we learned from Ohio State's win over Arkansas State

That’s more like it from the Ohio State offense. After putting up just 21 points against Notre Dame last Saturday,

C.J. Stroud and his wide receiving corps put up a bushel of points and yards against the Red Wolves in a 45-12 win.

Now, it wasn’t a coaching clinic by any means. There are plenty of things to clean up.

However, the performance should calm at least some of the whispers and negativity coming from the national media about the Buckeyes’ offensive showing in the first game of the season.

There are plenty of observations and takeaways from this one, and we get paid to bring them to you, so it’s time to earn the paycheck.

Here are five things we think we learned about Ohio State’s showing against the Arkansas State Red Wolves Saturday afternoon.

1. That's more like it from C.J. Stroud Last week, the national media and opposing fan bases were ready to jump all over C.J. Stroud for having an average week against Notre Dame. 

1. That's more like it from C.J. Stroud He still tossed two touchdown passes and completed over 70% of his passes, but lacked the big play we’ve grown accustomed to.

1. That's more like it from C.J. Stroud Not today. Stroud passed for 351 yards and threw four touchdown passes to have a so-called bounce-back Saturday. 

1. That's more like it from C.J. Stroud There’s really not much to criticize despite the level of competition. If Bryce Young can get praised for his work against a cupcake in Week 1, Stroud gets the same, or should.

2. Meanwhile on defense The defense didn’t look horrible against Arkansas State, but for anyone that thought this unit was simply going to be a dominant force every week as a finished product, it might be time to realize there’s still work to be done.

2. Meanwhile on defense There were too many wins for the Red Wolves in space, and that will not likely sit well with defensive coordinator Jim Knowles. 

2. Meanwhile on defense Not only that, but Arkansas State was able to get some things cooking through the air in 1:1 machups. With an aggressive defense like what OSU is rolling out there this year, those plays have to be made more often than what we saw today.

3. The young receivers are breaking out With Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Julian Fleming out with injuries, someone had to step up on the outside.

3. The young receivers are breaking out Color me unsurprised that Marvin Harrison Jr. showed us what he’s made of with one whale of a day. 

3. The young receivers are breaking out However, Emeka Egbuka also had his number called often. And when it was called, he answered the bell.

4. Denzel Burke will have better days I’ll be the last one to express too much concern from what we saw from cornerback Denzel Burke today, but if it becomes a trend, maybe we start to wonder what’s going on.

3. The young receivers are breaking out Both guys went for more than 100 yards through the air. Harrison Jr. led everyone with 184. As a reminder, both of those guys will be back next year, and the experience they are getting now will be invaluable when the receiving corps gets healthier.

4. Denzel Burke will have better days Burke had a couple of early pass interference calls to keep drives going for Arkansas State, and he was beat deep on the above play as well. 

4. Denzel Burke will have better days He’s usually about as lock down as you can be, and there’s going to be more 1:1 matchups against him going forward because of how the Buckeyes’ defense attacks downhill. He’ll need to be much better against better competition, and I suspect he will.

5. The penalties and mistakes have to get better You can sort of get away with it against the caliber of team we saw today, but if you think penalty issues and mental mistakes won’t matter in the win/loss column against more superior teams, think again.

5. The penalties and mistakes have to get better The Buckeyes committed nine penalties for 85 yards, some at very inopportune times to extend drives for Arkansas State, while killing scores and drives on offense. There was also a muffed punt and blown assignments on defense.

5. The penalties and mistakes have to get better Ryan Day clearly wasn’t happy with the penalties and mistakes in an interview heading into halftime, and you can almost bet on it being a point of emphasis this week in prepping for Toledo.


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