Three Key Stats: Phenomenal Receivers, 3rd and 4th Down Conversions, and a Struggling Rushing Defense

By Jared Naughton on September 12, 2021 at 10:15 am
Cody Simon and Palaie Gaoteote combine for a tackle.

A feeling we are not used to.

This game hurt; plain and simple. Oregon pulled of the 35-28 upset in Columbus, which is the first home loss since Oklahoma beat the Buckeyes in 2017. 

In today's Three Key Stats, we'll explore the exceptional play at receiver, the lack of 3rd and 4th down offense, and the lackluster rushing defense. 

129.33 yards

That's the average yardage for Ohio State's top three receivers. Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba combined for 388 yards on the day. This gave the Buckeyes three, 100-yard receivers on the day. That is a first in school history.

Even with shaky play from Stroud at times, the air attack has been supported by one of the best receiving cores in the nation. Hopefully, Stroud can find a way to consistently get his top-tier receivers the ball.


Ohio State's offense went 8/20 on third and fourth down plays. This is a statistic that needs to improve greatly if there is going to be any success this year. 

Many of these 3rd and 4th downs were from distance, but there were some very manageable ones too. When the game was on the line in these situations, the offense disappeared.

Ohio State came out aggressive, and this did not change as seen by five fourth-down attempts. While many of these were warranted, that could show a lack of trust on the other side of the ball. 

7.1 yards per carry

Oregon averaged 7.1 yards per carry against the Buckeye defense. While many of us were concerned with the secondary, the front seven struggled greatly in this game. 

One of the main problems was the inability to seal the edge. Oregon found great success with outside runs and short screens. The linebacker play needs to improve in order to get off the field. 

With Oregon able to rush effectively on most plays, this set them up well for many 3rd down conversions. The Ducks were able to stay ahead of the chains, which allowed for more freedom offensively. 

There were many opportunities for Ohio State to pull off a win here. There are many question marks going forward. How does the front seven stop the run? Can we create more of a pass rush? Can Stroud become the confident quarterback we need?

At the end of the day, it is the second game of the season and Ohio State can rebound before going into Big Ten play, but this is a feeling none of us want to get used to. 


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