After Saturday's thrashing of Cincinnati in the Shoe, Ohio State head coach Ryan Day conducted his usual Tuesday afternoon press conference yesterday as the Buckeyes continued preparation for the first Big Ten game of the season, a roadie in Bloomington.
With nearly everything going according to plan in a complete domination of the Bearcats, there wasn't a lot for Day to harp on.
A key factor in the big win over Luke Fickell's squad, Day's receiving corps, in partnership with Justin Fields, hauled in 22 catches on 26 targets for 238 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Senior X-receiver Binjimen Victor was right in the middle of things leading the team with 69 yards on five catches and Day is excited about what Victor has shown through the first two games.
Q. Binjimen Victor has had a strong start to the season. What have you seen out of him?
RYAN DAY: I think Ben is important for us as we go forward. That one drive, we threw a back-shoulder fade to him. That kind of got us going. He’s the X receiver. If he’s in a one-on-one matchup, he can win that, that changes schematically how teams are going to defend us.
But he’s got to be that guy. He’s got to be the Terry McLaurin for us, Parris Campbell, Johnnie Dixon. When he makes those big plays, that got us going on those drives. He’s done that so far. Now that we get into the conference play, he’s got to continue to do that.
As Day noted, with the departures of McLaurin, Campbell and Dixon, Ohio State's offense needs veteran receivers like K.J. Hill, Austin Mack and Victor to deliver and the 6-foot-4, 199 pounder out of Pompano Beach is doing his part early on.
Victor had just two catches against Florida Atlantic but flashed the big play ability he's none for with a 32-yard touchdown catch putting Ohio State in front 21-0 not even midway through the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Victor was back at it, this time hauling in a 33-yard toss from Fields on a 3rd-and-5 play from Ohio State's own 16 yard line.
Combine his production against FAU with last Saturday's effort against the Bearcats and Victor currently leads the Buckeyes in receiving yards (134), receiving yards per game (64.0) and yards per catch (19.1) while slotting second with those seven total receptions.
|YEAR||REC (TEAM RANK)||REC YARDS (TEAM RANK)||YDS/REC (TEAM RANK)||LONG||REC YDS/GAME|
|2017||23 (6)||349 (5)||15.2 (4)||48||24.9 (6)|
|2018||21 (7)||354 (5)||16.9 (2)||47||25.3 (6)|
|2019||7 (2)||134 (1)||19.1 (1)||33||64.0 (1)|
Victor's five catches versus Cincinnati tied a career-high he set last year in the loss to Purdue and his 69 yards bettered his previous career-high of 67, also in the embarrassing loss to the Boilers.
Last year, after that career-night in West Lafayette, Victor had just seven receptions over the final four games of the season despite playing in a pass-happy offense featuring Dwayne Haskins.
This year, as a starter and key figure in the receiving corps, the challenge for Victor will be to achieve greater consistency than he's shown in the past as a rotational reserve.
If Victor can continue to beat his man in 1-on-1 matchups and be a big play threat, his presence will only help open up opportunities for other key receivers on the roster, most notably Chris Olave, Mack and Hill.
The next step in Victor's mission to be a consistent producer for the Buckeyes comes Saturday as the Buckeyes take on a Hoosiers defense that gave up nearly 300 yards passing in a season-opening win over Ball State but just 64 yards through the air against FCS Eastern Illinois last week.