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Akron - Offensive Play-by-Play Analysis

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saltybuck61's picture
September 29, 2021 at 4:00pm


Here is an offensive play-by-play analysis of the Akron game, a continuation of a series I have done here for the last several weeks. I did one for Tulsa last week here. You can find the Oregon game as well by following a link chain. Also, this format is borrowed from MgoBlog, the latest of which can be found here, if you fancy scouting the enemy.

Before we get to the play-by-play, let’s recap the major storylines going into Akron, the biggest being Kyle McCord’s first start following CJ Stroud’s injury. This is an extension of the other major storyline this year: the offense’s lack of cohesion and the questions CJ Stroud’s performance. Also, in the play-by-play chart, I accidentally used Belly Zone/Inside Zone instead of Duo a lot. Forgive this mistake; I am still learning the differences.

So, how did the backup quarterbacks do? Should McCord start over Stroud? Can you really learn anything from playing Akron? Here’s the play-by-play:

Play-by-Play Analysis of Offense vs. Akron
Time Yard Line Down Distance O Formation D Package Front High Type Box Play Player Yards Notes
First Quarter                          
12:56 OSU 9 1 10 Gun 3W 4-2-5 Over 1 Run 6 Split Zone Henderson 12 Johnson (+1) and Dawand Jones (+0.5) clear a hole for Henderson (+1) who squeezes through the hole and gets some yards after contact.
12:47 OSU 21 1 10 Gun 3W 4-2-5 Over 2 Pass 6 Curls Rollout Wilson 0 Kyle McCord throws an inaccurate pass to Wilson, where the ball is uncatchable.
12:37 OSU 21 2 10 Gun 4W Trips Bunch 4-2-5 Boundary 1 RPO 6 RPO Screen Olave -6 Kyle McCord makes a good read on an RPO, but throws an innaccurate and uncatchable pass to Olave.
12:25 OSU 15 3 16 Gun 5W 4-2-5 Over 2 Pass 5 Smash Smith-Njigba 0 Kyle McCord makes an innaccurate and uncatchable pass to Smith-Njigba. Punt
7:27 OSU 25 1 10 Gun 3W 4-2-5 Under 1 Pass 7 Jet Sweep Smith-Njigba 22 Ruckert (+2) with an excellent block on the edge to give Smith-Njigba (+1) space. JSN shows good patience on this play to wait for the blocks to develop outside.
7:06 OSU 47 1 10 Gun 3W 4-2-5 Under 2 RPO 6 RPO Power Henderson 8 McCord makes a good read to hand it off to Henderson. Johnson (+1.5) makes an excellent block to spring Henderson.
6:52 AU 45 2 2 Pistol 3W 4-2-5 Over 1 Pass 6.5 PA Comeback Olave 0 McCord makes a bad read, and Olave can't make the spectacular catch.
6:38 AU 45 3 2 Pistol Twin TE 4-3 Field 2 Run 7 Mid Zone Henderson 35 Stover (+1) gives Henderson (+2) some room. Henderson uses his speed to get around the edge, and breaks a couple tackles.
6:07 AU 10 1 10 Pistol Twin TE Bunch 3-4 Under 0 Run 8 Inside Zone Henderson  5 Stover (+0.5) and Wypler (+0.5) have good blocks to give Henderson a hole, while Petit-Frere (+1) has a good block in the hole, but Henderson (-1) cuts the wrong way for a mere game of 5.
5:33 AU 5 2 5 Gun Twin TE Goal Line BTN 0 Pass 9 Jet Sweep Pop Pass Olave 5 Ruckert (+2) blocks three Akron players. Rossi (+0.5) cleans up. Touchdown.
1:08 OSU 28 1 10 Gun Twin TE 4-2-5 Boundary 1 Pass 7 Screen Wilson 56 McCord makes a good pass to Wilson (+2), who makes a routine catch. Wilson gets a great block from Olave (+1) and Ruckert (+1), and breaks a few tackles downfield afterward.
0:33 AU 16 1 10 Gun 3W 4-2-5 Under 2 Run 5.5 Pitch Henderson 13 Johnson (+1) makes a good block downfield as Henderson (+1) is able to outrun a defender in the backfield. Dawand Jones (+1) and Wypler (+0.5) make nice blocks to clear the way.
0:15 AU 3 1 3 Gun 3W 4-2-5 Over 0 Run 8 Belly Zone Henderson 3 Johnson (+0.5) and Wypler (+0.5) gets a decent block at the point of attack. Henderson (+0.5)  runs through a defender to get the last yard.
Second Quarter                          
14:45 OSU 30 1 10 Pistol 4W 3-2-6 Field 2 Run 5 Inside Zone  Williams 2 Wypler (+1) and Matthew Jones (+1) create a huge hole, but Williams (-2) cuts back way too early, getting tackled near the line of scrimmage instead of an easy first down. Johnson (+1.5) has a great block near where Williams went, but Dawand Jones (-1.5) doesn't get his hand on anyone.
14:22 OSU 32 2 8 Gun 3W BTN BTN 2 Pass 6 Spacing Olave 7 McCord throws a good pass to Olave who makes a routine catch.
14:05 OSU 39 3 1 Gun 3W 3-3-5 404 Tite 2 Run 6 Belly Zone Williams 4 Wypler (+1.5) gets a block downfield to free williams up. Johnson (+1) and Matthew Jones (+1) clear a hole for Williams, who gets the first down. 
13:42 OSU 43 1 10 Pistol 3W 4-2-5 Over 1 Run 6.5 Counter Trey Williams 9 Williams (+1) breaks a tackle after a modest hole created by Johnson (+1).
12:59 AU 49 2 1 Gun Twin TE 3-4 Stack 2 Pass 7 PA Ohio McCord 0 McCord throws it away. Evacuated the pocket early, protection +1.
12:51 AU 49 3 1 Ace Twin TE 3-4 Stack 1 Run 7 QB Sneak McCord 5 Wypler (+1) and Johnson (+1) get a big push to get McCord the first down.
12:26 AU 44 1 10 Gun 3W 3-4 Over 2 Pass 7 Jet Motion Flat Smith-Njigba 8 McCord looks downfield, but dumps it off to Smith-Njigba. He throws a good pass which is caught for a routine catch.
11:47 AU 36 2 2 Gun 3W 3-3-5 Stack 1 RPO 6 RPO Screen Wilson -10 McCord makes a good RPO read, as the defensive back crashes on the run action. He throws a good pass to Wilson who makes a routine catch. Smith-Njigba (-2) can't block the defender and gets called for holding for good measure.
11:28 AU 46 2 12 Gun 3W Y Flex 3-3-5 Stack 1 Pass 5.5 Spacing Wilson 8 Williams (+1) has a good blitz pickup. McCord throws a good pass to Wilson for a routine catch.
11:04 AU 38 3 4 Pistol 3W Tight 3-3-5 Wide 2 Run 7 Belly Zone Williams 4 Johnson (+2) seals off two defenders while Wypler (+1) helps create the hole. Williams gets the first down.
10:32 AU 34 1 10 Gun 3W Y Flex 4-2-5 Over 1 Pass 6.5 Smash Smith-Njigba 34 McCord throws a good pass to Smith-Njigba, who makes a difficult catch. This pass is barely good. JSN was looking over his right shoulder, so missing right, while making the catch much harder and risking an incompletion, was ultimately the right place to miss. Touchdown.
8:17 AU 40 1 10 Gun 3W 3-3-5 Stack 1 RPO 6 RPO Split Zone Henderson 3 Matthew Jones (+1) gets a good block. McCord makes the wrong read on the RPO in my opinion.
7:51 AU 37 2 7 Gun 3W 3-3-5 Stack 1 Pass 6.5 Double Dig Smith-Njigba 23 McCord throws a good pass to Smith-Njigba who makes a routine catch. Protection +1
7:23 AU 14 1 10 Gun 3W 3-3-5 Stack 2 Run 6 Pitch Henderson 14 Dawand Jones (+2) has a great combo block to take out two defenders. Henderson (+1.5) completely erases the angle from the safety and the corner. Touchdown.
2:38 OSU 36 1 10 Pistol Twin TE 3-4 Over 1 Pass 7 PA Double Dig Wilson 20 McCord makes an okay throw to Wilson who makes a spectacular catch. I can't decide between a bad read and a good throw, as he throws it away from the defender. Also, hanging your receiver out to dry is not great. Protection +1.
2:12 AU 44 1 10 Gun 3W 4-2-5 Over 1 Pass 7 Verticals McCord -8 Dawand Jones (-1.5) and Henderson (-1) don't give McCord enough time for the long developing play (protection -2).
1:45 OSU 48 2 18 Gun 3W Y Flex 4-2-5 Under 2 Pass 6 Slant Smith-Njigba 5 McCord makes a good pass to Smith-Njigba, who makes a routine catch.
1:14 AU 47 3 12 Gun 3W Y Flex 4-2-5 Over 2 Pass 6 Dig McCord -6 Johnson (-2) needs to come off of double teaming the 1-tech. He makes this mistake way too much (protection -2).
0:14 OSU 47 1 10 Gun 3W Y Flex 4-2-5 Field 2 Pass 5 Double Move Fade Wilson 39 McCord throws a good pass to Wilson who makes a routine catch.
Third Quarter                          
15:00 OSU 25 1 10 Gun 3W 3-3-5 Tite 2 Run 6 Split Zone Teague 4 Petit-Frere (+0.5) and Matthew Jones (+0.5) get good blocks to open a small hole.
14:37 OSU 29 2 6 Gun 3W 3-3-5 Under 2 Pass 6.5 Checkdown Teague 5 McCord (+1) moves up in the pocket, and throws the checkdown to Teague on the run.
13:59 OSU 34 3 1 Pistol Twin TE 3-4 Stack 1 Run 7 Belly Zone Teague 17 Wypler (+1) gets a nice block in the hold, while Matthew Jones gets a good block on a linebacker. Teague (+1) shows some nice burst to erase an angle.
13:30 AU 49 1 10 Gun 3W 3-3-5 Stack 2 Pass 6 Shallow Cross McCord INT McCord doesn't process this play all that well and throws an inaccurate pass to Stover, who can't make the uncatchable grab. Interception
11:29 OSU 12 1 10 Gun Twin TE BTN (Pope Story) BTN 1 RPO 7.5 RPO Glance Egbuka 85 Great read by McCord on the RPO, who throws a good pass to Egbuka (+3), who makes a routine catch, and gets a ton of yards after catch.
11:02 AU 2 1 2 Gun Twin TE Y Flex 3-4 Over 0 Run 8 Inside Zone Teague  2 Matthew Jones (+1) gets a decent block, but the offensive line doesn't do a ton on this one. Teague (+0.5) finishes the run for a touchdown, so it didn't matter.
7:01 OSU 15 1 10 Gun 3W 4-2-5 Under 1 Run 5.5 Split Zone Teague 6 Wypler (+0.5), Johnson (+1) and Dawand Jones (+1.5) make good blocks to give Teague an easy six yards.
6:28 OSU 21 2 4 Pistol 3W 3-3-5 Tite 2 Run 5.5 Counter Teague 10 Teague (+2) shows a ton of patience to wait for his blocks on the edge, beats one man on the edge, and gets a good gain. Not a ton of great blocks, Petit-Frere (+0.5) gets a decent one.
6:02 OSU 31 1 10 Gun 3W 3-3-5 404 Tite 2 Pass 6 Seam Stover 25 Miller throws a good (perfect?) pass to Stover, who makes a routine catch across the middle for a big game.
5:40 OSU 44 1 10 Gun 3W Trips Bunch 4-2-5 Over 1 Run 6 Inside Zone Teague 10 Petit-Frere (+1) has a nice block to create a hole with a double team from Wypler (+0.5) and Matthew Jones (+0.5). Teague (+1) gets an extra few yards after the first hit.
5:22 AU 36 1 10 Gun 3W Y Flex 4-2-5 Field 1 Pass 6.5 Fade Scott 12 Miller throws a perfect pass to Scott for a difficult catch due to the adjustment.
5:07 AU 22 1 10 Gun 3W 4-2-5 Over 1 Pass 6.5 Verticals Stover 0 Miller throws an okay pass to Stover, who can't make the spectacular catch.
5:02 AU 22 2 10 Gun 3W Y Flex 4-2-5 Under 2 Run 6 Power Teague 7 Matthew Jones (+1.5) makes a nice block as a pulling guard to help Teague (+1) reach the second level, at which point he gains yards after first contact.
4:33 AU 15 3 3 Gun 3W Y Flex 3-3-5 404 Tite 2 Run 5.5 Split Zone Teague 15 Matthew Jones (+0.5), Wypler (+1.5) and Johnson (+1) make good blocks in the interior to open up a big hole for Teague, who scores an easy touchdown.
1:50 OSU 25 1 10 Gun 3W 3-3-5 Tite 1 Run 7 Counter Williams 0 Williams (+2) gets hit in the backfield and manages to get a first down. Rossi (-0.5) doesn't finish his block. Ballard (-1) has a holding call.
1:30 OSU 25 1 10 Gun 3W 3-3-5 Under 2 Pass 6 Omaha Harrison 6 Miller makes a good pass to Harrison, who makes a routine catch.
0:59 OSU 34 2 2 Gun 3W Trips Bunch Y Flex 3-3-5 404 Tite 1 Run 6 Zone Read Williams 3 Miller makes an incorrect read, but Toby Wilson (+1) makes a nice block, and Williams gets the first.
0:36 OSU 37 1 10 Gun 3W 3-3-5 Under 2 Pass 6 Flood Miller 0 Miller (+0.5) saves an errant snap from Wilson (-0.5). Miller throws it away.
0:26 OSU 37 2 10 Pistol 3W 3-3-5 404 Tite 2 Run 6 Split Zone Williams 0 The line did not get a great push, and Williams isn't able to do much more.
Fourth Quarter                          
15:00 OSU 37 3 10 Gun 3W 3-3-5 Over 2 Pass 6 Hitch Ballard 4 Miller makes a good throw to Ballard, who makes a difficult catch. Williams (-1.5) holds up little resistance to the blitz. Pressure -1.5.
6:54 OSU 25 1 10 Gun 3W 3-3-5 Stack 2 Run 6 Split Zone Pryor 5 Donavan Jackson (+1) creates a bit of a hole for Evan Pryor.
6:39 OSU 30 2 5 Gun 3W Trips 3-3-5 Tite 2 Run 6 Inside Zone Pryor 4 Fryar (+2) gets a pancake.
6:15 OSU 34 3 1 Gun 3W 3-3-5 Tite 2 Run 6 Inside Zone Pryor 6 Toby Wilson (+1.5) clears a big hole in the middle. Jackson (+0.5) and Matt Jones (+0.5).
5:44 OSU 40 1 10 Gun 3W 3-3-5 Tite 2 Pass 6 Spot Booker 15 Booker (+1) gets extra yards after a good pass from Miller and a routine catch. 
5:20 AU 44 1 10 Gun 4W 3-3-5 Tite 2 Run 5.5 Counter Miyan Williams 1 Matt Jones (-0.5) needs to get to the second level eventually.
4:46 AU 43 2 9 Gun 3W Trips 3-3-5 5-1 Over 2 Run 6 Inside Zone Miyan Williams 15 Matt Jones (+1) along with a combo block from Fryar (+0.5) and Jackson (+0.5) give a crease. Miyan Williams (+2) beats a man in the backfield and jukes another defender in the box to get the first down.
4:09 AU 28 1 10 Gun 4W 3-3-5 Tite 2 Pass 6 Spacing Booker 0 Miller gets good protection (protection +1) and makes a good throw to Booker, who drops a routine catch.
4:01 AU 28 2 10 Gun 4W Trips Bunch 3-3-5 Tite 2 Run 6.5 Zone Read Miller 8 Miller(+1) makes a good read on the linebacker, who stays inside. Wiglusz (+1) and Booker (+1) make good blocks.
3:39 AU 20 3 2 Gun 4W Trips 3-3-5 Tite 2 Run 6 Counter Pryor 8 Matt Jones (+1.5) gets a big block on the edge to spring Pryor.
3:06 AU 12 1 10 Pistol 3W 3-3-5 3-4 Tite 2 Run 7 Split Zone Pryor 12 Vimahi (+1) has a good block on the edge. Wiglusz (+1.5) has a good block to give Pryor daylight. Pryor (+2) makes a nice move to get behind Booker (+1) to get the touchdown.
End of Game                          

Alright, so there is much to take away that, even though it is just Akron. First, Ryan Day does not look to be shaving, and is growing the off-season beard. Ominous.

With all of the offensive success, it should be nothing but positives, but there were a couple of concerning points on the individual player charts, primarily with the quarterbacks. First, let’s discuss the passing chart, as this is the biggest storyline on offense so far. I have started to not chart screens/swing passes, as they skew the downfield passing chart to favor screens and short passes over downfield throws. Additionally, those plays are in essence extensions of the run game rather than an element of the downfield passing game. I am still charting check downs though, as they are closer to extensions of the scramble, or, that is to say, they are salvaging pass plays rather than glorified runs.  I also didn’t like that Stroud’s Tulsa and Oregon games looked the same, despite being very different performances. This has also lead to a weighted scores system, where perfect passes and bad reads are doubled in terms of impact to reward phenomenal throws and punish throwing into coverage. I have re-charted the last two weeks’ games accordingly. Here are this week’s passing charts:

CJ Stroud Passing First Two Weeks
CJ Stroud Perfect Good Scramble Pressure Okay Batted Throw Away Inaccurate Bad Read RPO Zone Read Score Weighted Notes
Oregon 9 23 1 2 5 0 0 8 3 5/5 0 74.4% 74.5% He's the real deal. Will be a Heisman Finalist.
Tulsa 1 12 0 2 3 0 1 3 1 3/3 1/1 72.2% 70.0% Day decreased the degree of difficulty after some early misses. I may have missed some hand-offs on the RPO. May also need to add a weighted score.
Kyle McCord Passing Chart
Kyle McCord Perfect Good Scramble Pressure OK Batted Throw Away Inaccurate Bad Read RPO Zone Reads Score Weighted Score Notes
Akron 0 10 0 0 1 0 1 4 1 4/5 0 62.5% 58.8% Based on this performance, a good step or two down from an injured Stroud, let alone a healthy one.
Jack Miller Passing Chart
Jack Miller Perfect Good Scramble Pressure OK Batted Down Throw Away Inaccurate Bad Read RPO Zone Reads Score Weighted Score Notes
Akron 1 5 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 1/2 83.3% 87.5% Genuinely looked excellent, though it was Akron.

I am going to say something that brings me no joy, but Ryan Day was being generous when he said that Kyle McCord played OK considering the competition. I think it was mostly to keep him positive and confident. A good game should not have been expected by a true freshman. Having said that, this was a performance that was average at best against the second worst team in college football. For these scores, an average-to-decent day is between 60-70%. 70-80% is a good to great game. 80% and above is elite. McCord’s weighted score was below 60%, which is not good. I even gave him the benefit of the doubt with the charting. I thought the touchdown pass to Smith-Njigba with 10:32 left in the second quarter was a pretty borderline throw. I called it a good pass, even though I thought he missed his spot, especially since JSN looked to confirm the inaccuracy of the pass in the postgame interview. JSN still caught it, and it was a touchdown, so I gave it to him. I also called the interception with 13:30 to go in the third an inaccurate pass instead of a bad read, which would have hurt his weighted score. Finally, I didn’t love the throw to Garrett Wilson that was caught one handed either, as, although he did throw the ball away from the safety, Wilson had to make a circus catch and got hammered by the defender. This pass was also one I considered calling a bad read, but decided to call it okay instead. Even with these concessions being made, he still scored significantly more poorly than Stroud has this year.

This performance leads me to my mildly spicy take of the week: an injured CJ Stroud is a better option than a healthy Kyle McCord, and Stroud needs to be the starter. For a quick PFF comparison, McCord’s passing game against Akron was rated at a 55.6, with Stroud at Minnesota (his worst game) being rated at a 74.1 passing grade. This gap is nearly twice the size of the gap between Tommy Eichenberg (57.1) and Cody Simon (66.7). I haven’t seen anyone call for Eichenberg to play over Simon yet, but maybe I haven’t been paying attention.

This isn’t to say that McCord didn’t have his moments. I thought he made a nice dump-off pass to Smith-Njigba, who was coming off of Jet Motion, with 12:26 in the second quarter. I say it was a nice dump-off because JSN was clearly not his first read, and he showed poise by making the throw after going through his progressions. There was no panic. I also liked that, with 0:14 to go in the first half, he made an easy throw to a wide open Wilson to set up the field goal, which is what he is expected to do. His throw to Egbuka with 11:29 left in the third quarter was also good, not so much for the throw, but making the correct read with the RPO Glance route, and putting the ball just over the defender. He also clearly saw/understood the defender’s leverage, and where Egbuka was going to be after the read occurred. He was good with reads all day, only missing one charted.

There were still issues. The aforementioned interception was not good, and his two sacks weren’t great either, though one of them was not his fault at all. He doesn’t seem to get rid of the ball as quickly as Stroud. Some of my disappointment was a lack of any real eye-popping plays from McCord. Stroud’s lone jaw-dropping play last week was the ball dropped by Olave after somehow escaping a sack, although the deep pass to Olave that was called back was also impressive. Against Oregon, he had 9 throws that were difficult, NFL-level throws based on ball-placement. McCord had none of these moments against Akron.

One of the biggest frustrations with Stroud is that he overthrows wide open receivers too often. The silver-lining to this is that Stroud is consistently finding wide open receivers. With the exception of Wilson’s route to end the first half, I couldn’t find any throws that were wide open, with the possible exception of Smith-Njigba’s dig route with 7:51 in the second quarter. This would be understandable against any Big Ten opponent, but it was unusual against Akron to see this few receivers wide open.

There is an important caveat here: one game doesn’t tell us that much about his performance in practice over the last 10 months. Only having 18 throws, with about 5 of those being screens/pop-passes, leaves us with 13 passes to evaluate downfield. I evaluated passes also taken away by penalties and the screen pass thrown backwards. This isn’t an acceptable sample size, and I don’t think we know how good McCord really is. His performance in this game only lets me know that he isn’t guaranteed to be better than Stroud, and we have a data point to suggest that his bad performance is much worse than Stroud’s bad performance. That’s it. I still believe McCord has a bright future; the arm talent is undeniable, and the reported work ethic gets me excited. I know he can be a Heisman-caliber quarterback, and potentially a National Championship winner. I don’t think he is better than Stroud right now.

Jack Miller, on the other hand, played great. He looked like a really solid backup, maybe even starter quality, though the Akron caveat applies here. Miller’s first throw to Cade Stover running a seam was beautiful and perfectly read. He also had a perfect back shoulder throw to Scott on an off-sides penalty with 5:22 left in the third quarter.  I even thought his ball to Stover in the back of the endzone the very next play was an OK throw, given the level of difficulty. Miller didn’t throw any screens, and the play-calling was not as easy as the game plan that McCord was asked to execute. PFF seems to agree with me, as they gave him an 81.6, just a hair lower than Stroud at 81.9. While I don’t think he has the same upside as the other two, based on this game alone (which is admittedly worthless), he would be my choice to come in if Stroud were to get injured.

As for why the offense ran so well despite the uneven performance of McCord, the offensive line had its best game to date. Also, Akron.

Running/Blocking Chart
Player + - Total Notes
Offensive LIne        
Nicholas Petit-Frere 3 0 0 Good, boring day
Thayer Munford       DNP
Luke Wypler 9.5 0 9.5 Didn't make a mistake, at least that I saw. Flawless.
Paris Johnson Jr. 12 2 10 Got a lot of action today, and he was dominant. Hopefully not just Akron.
Dawand Jones 5 3 2 Not as dominant as I remember. Usually has a much bigger impact.
Matthew Jones 10 0.5 9.5 Continues to play at a high level.
Harry Miller       DNP
Enokk Vimahi 1 0 1 Perfectly fine.
Toby Wilson 2.5 0.5 2 Looked excellent for a walk on.
Donovan Jackson 2 0 2 Looks the part.
Josh Fryar 2.5 0 2.5 Obvious why the coaches like him. Strong.
Total 47.5 6 41.5 Most dominant performance of the season, but, it was Akron.
CJ Stroud       DNP
Kyle McCord 1 0 1 Stepped up in the pocket a couple of times, made a nice throw to the checkdown.
Jack Miller 1.5 0 1.5 Only quarterback they ran the zone read with. Competent runner.
Miyan Williams 6 3.5 2.5 Missed a big blitz pickup and, even though I praised him earlier in the year, he hasn't been great there since then. Still hard to bring down.
Treyveon Henderson 6 2 4 Decent in pass protection. Best pure runner on the team right now. 
Master Teague 5.5 0 5.5 Spectacular day on limited carries. His vision and patience had held him back in the past, but he looked really good at letting blocks develop today. Improved in pass pro.
Evan Pryor 2 0 2 Showed good speed on the touchdown run
Total 22 5.5 16.5 Teague's emergence is a luxury. Three viable running backs. He may have jumped Miyan Williams for real from what I saw.
Chris Olave 1 0 1 Not much chance in this game. Not many downfield throws.
Garrett Wilson 2.5 0 2.5 Spectacular catch on the throw over the middle. Took a big hit too.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba 1 2 -1 Missed a block on a Garrett Wilson screen and got a holding call as well.
Julian Fleming       DNP
Jeremy Ruckert 5 0 5 Good day run-blocking. Definitely a complete tight end at this point.
Cade Stover 1.5 0 1.5 Solid, unspectacular.
Mitch Rossi 0.5 0.5 0 Would have liked to see him out there more. He seems like someone who will get regular playing time at this point, though.
Gee Scott Jr 0 0 0 No points
Emeka Egbuka 3 0 3 Looks dynamic. Didn't quite have the gas for a touchdown, but made a huge play
Marvin Harrison Jr. 0 0 0 No points
Jayden Ballard 0 1 -1 Block in the back early
Sam Wiglusz 2.5 0 2.5 Excellent blocking late in the game. Between that and the catch in the spring game, color me impressed.
Chris Booker 3 0 3 Great blocking. Clear why the coaches like him so much.
Total 20 3.5 16.5 Almost perfect blocking from the receivers.
Protection 4 5.5 -1.5 Not as bad as the score. Some pressure came late in the game, but I missed a bunch of good protections early. I will make an extra effort next week to chart a protection score for every pass play.
Play-calling 0 0 0 Impossible to tell because everything worked, and nothing didn't. Competition may have something to do with it.

The offensive line was dominant, with Johnson Jr. and Wypler having their best games as Buckeyes. Both of the Joneses and Petit-Frere continued their successes, but Johnson and Wypler broke out in a huge way. Contrary to previous weeks when they would struggle in pass protection; they looked competent in that phase of the game. They both looked dominant on the ground. When Paris Johnson Jr. and Luke Wypler are playing at this level, this offense is unstoppable. I don’t think it has performed poorly, but occasional mistakes from the right side of the line have hurt the offense by cutting down long drives. If those two can succeed at this level (or even lower), this offense is going to be the best in the country.

The big question is, what does the lineup look like moving forward with Harry Miller and Munford back? I think Munford needs to play due to his past success, but Matthew Jones has been elite. Dawand Jones has also stepped up outside. That leaves the two interior guys, Wypler and Johnson, who may be moved out for Harry Miller and Thayer Munford. I have no idea what they will do here. I think all seven of those guys have the potential or have shown to be outstanding offensive linemen in their careers. At this point, based on their performances this year, I might move Matt Jones to right guard, put Munford back in at left guard, and leave Wypler in, but it is hard to say. Miller may be a step up at center, as Wypler has struggled in pass protection. It is hard to take either of those guys out following this game, though.

The running backs were also top performers. Henderson is, by now, the unquestioned starter. His emergence in the Tulsa game was a clear sign. He looked excellent today as usual, and he made fewer mistakes. His run in 6:38 remaining in the first quarter showcased how special of an athlete he is, when he got the corner and used his speed to pick up 35.He looks like he’s getting better every week, and is already an elite running back. His touchdown run with 7:23 left in the second quarter was another one where he completely erased an angle from the safety to get an easy touchdown.

Teague looks like he is improving too. I normally don’t think there is much to learn from a game like this, but his run with 6:28 in the third quarter was a perfect example of his improvement. It was a counter play where he waited for his blocks to develop, continuing to work outside. He never received a great block, but showed patience until he could stiff arm the corner and get 10 yards. I hope to see more patience from him like that. He has ridiculous strength and speed, but his agility and acceleration sometimes prevents him from taking advantage his unique skill set, especially when they run Duo. If he can be a bit more patient and wait to hit the hole, he can potentially become a great running back in his own right, though this will be difficult to achieve. Right now, he is a perfectly acceptable changeup to Henderson. Based on his performance, I even think he might have jumped over Miyan Williams with his improvements in pass protection.

Williams looks good too. He is about the same size is Teague, but has a lot more agility and can accelerate pretty quickly. His top speed isn’t as good, but as a running back, it doesn’t need to be. I am assuming that the decrease in playing time is not football related. It isn’t really much of a concern. As long as Henderson is healthy, he is the best of the three, and deserves the lion’s share of the carries.

The receivers did fine as well. Here is the chart.

Receiver Chart
Player Uncatchable Spectacular Difficult Routine Notes
Chris Olave 0/1 0/1   1/1 Not targeted much today either. They also didn't throw much, to be fair.
Garrett Wilson 0/1 1/1   4/4 Catch over the middle one-handed was insane.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba 0/1   1/1 3/3 Another good game
Julian Fleming         DNP
Jeremy Ruckert         Not Targeted. Probably should have been.
Cade Stover 0/1 0/1   1/1 Decent day. Nice route down the seam.
Miyan Williams         Not targeted
Treyveon Henderson         Not targeted
Gee Scott Jr.     1/1   Great catch on the back shoulder fade.
Mitch Rossi         Not targeted
Master Teague         Not targeted
Emeka Egbuka       1/1 Great run after catch. Showed his dynamism.
Marvin Harrison Jr.       1/1 Nice route and catch. I hope to see more from him in the coming weeks.
Jayden Ballard     1/1   Made a short, contested catch.
Sam Wiglusz         Not targeted
Chris Booker       1/2 Love seeing walk-on's getting catches.

These are always tougher to comment on. It is still frustrating that Olave has gotten little action for the second week in a row, though I don’t expect this to continue. I already discussed a couple of JSN’s plays in the quarterback section, but that adjustment to the ball thrown too far inside on the touchdown was impressive. Similarly, Wilson’s spectacular catch on the incoming safety with the throw behind him was stunning. The starters are all elite.

Egbuka had a really nice catch and run, though he definitely did the true freshman thing of not having enough gas to make it for a touchdown. Dobbins used to do that all of the time back in 2017. It’s normal before you have years in the strength and conditioning program.

The tight ends played well too. Ruckert, in particular, had his best game blocking. As I have said many times this post, it was against Akron, but he and the rest of the offensive line did a nice job blocking. He didn’t get enough targets, which is a shame, but he did show off his versatility here.

Overall, it is hard to take too many positives away from the game because of the competition. However, the offense might genuinely be the best in the country this year, even if it hasn’t seemed like it. Offense is down across college football, regardless of conference. Some of this may be due to the new trends across defenses, like the 404 Tite formation that Iowa State helped popularize, which basically replaces a defensive end with a third safety. These formations have been run by Oregon, Tulsa, and Akron to some extent or another, with Tulsa using it the most. When Stroud was talking about how that defense gave them some problems, he was telling the truth. This has become the defense designed to stop the modern day spread attacks. While I haven’t seen the numbers after Akron, Ohio State was the #1 offense in the country according to SP+ after Tulsa, and they have looked excellent. The cohesion has been better than it looks, especially with Stroud. The offensive line is the key to making the offense go to a new level. While I thought they looked good against Akron, I want to see more success against Rutgers with their unusual defensive front.

I will try and have the defensive one out tomorrow. I will also try to do cumulative charts for the year after next week. Thank you for reading!

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