Across The Shield: Two Former Ohio State Quarterbacks Top 300 Yards on Same Day for First Time, But Jonathon Cooper Spoils Justin Fields’ Career Day

By Dan Hope on October 3, 2023 at 10:10 am
C.J. Stroud
Troy Taormina – USA TODAY Sports

For the first time ever, two NFL quarterbacks from Ohio State threw for more than 300 yards in the same day.

C.J. Stroud topped the 300-yard mark for the second time in just four NFL starts as he completed 16 of 30 passing attempts for 306 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions in the Houston Texans’ 30-6 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Justin Fields, meanwhile, topped the 300-yard mark for the first time in his three-year NFL career as he completed 28 of 35 passing attempts for 335 yards and four touchdowns, both career-highs, in a 31-28 loss to the Denver Broncos.

For Stroud, Sunday was a continuation of one of the best starts ever for an NFL rookie quarterback. He has now thrown 151 passing attempts without an interception, the fifth-most ever to start an NFL career behind Dak Prescott (176), Tom Brady (162), Kyle Allen (159) and Tua Tagovailoa (153). His 1,212 passing yards are the second-most ever for an NFL quarterback through four games behind only Cam Newton (1,386).

He is only the sixth quarterback in NFL history to average more than 300 yards per game without throwing a single interception in the first four games of a season. The only other five quarterbacks to accomplish that feat are five of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game: Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers.

Stroud’s latest performance was highlighted by a perfectly thrown deep ball to Nico Collins that went for a 52-yard touchdown to seal the Texans’ victory.

Fields started out in spectacular fashion Sunday as he completed his first 16 straight passes of the game, breaking the Chicago Bears’ franchise record for consecutive completions, for 231 yards and three touchdowns. After throwing an incompletion on his final pass of the first half, Fields completed his first seven attempts of the second half to improve to 23-of-24 for 285 yards and four touchdowns through less than three quarters.

His career day as a passer wasn’t enough for the Bears to earn their first win of the season, however, as the Broncos finished the game with 24 unanswered points to come back from a 28-7 deficit. The game flipped in the Broncos’ favor when a fumble by Fields with just under seven minutes to play was recovered by his former Ohio State teammate Jonathon Cooper and returned for a 35-yard touchdown.

The Broncos sealed the victory when Fields was intercepted by Broncos safety Kareem Jackson, bringing Fields’ interception total to five in just four games this season.

Cooper’s touchdown was his first since high school, as he did not score any touchdowns in his Ohio State career nor had he done so in his NFL career before Sunday. In recognition of his game-changing play, which came on a day where he also sacked Fields and recorded five total tackles, Cooper earned our Pro Buck of the Week award for Week 4.

Pro Bucks of the Week
Week Player Stats
Week 1 Saints CB Marshon Lattimore 1 INT, 3 PBU, 2 tackles
Week 2 Texans QB C.J. Stroud 30-47 passing, 384 yards, 2 TD
Week 3 Saints WR Chris Olave 8 catches, 104 yards
Week 4 Broncos OLB Jonathon Cooper 5 tackles, 1 sack, 2 QB hits, 35-yard fumble return TD

Wilson, Ruckert impress on Sunday night

Garrett Wilson tied his career-high for receptions in the New York Jets’ Sunday night loss to the Kansas City Chiefs by catching nine passes for 60 yards. While he didn’t gain more than 14 yards on any of his nine catches against the Chiefs, his spectacular hands and body control were on display for the national audience as he made several impressive grabs throughout the night, including one beautiful fingertip catch on the sideline for a 6-yard gain late in the first half.

Wilson wasn’t the only former Buckeye pass-catcher to show his receiving skills for the Jets on Sunday night as Jeremy Ruckert had the first multi-reception game of his NFL career with two catches for 26 yards, highlighted by a spinning 23-yard grab along the right sideline early in the third quarter.

McLaurin, Samuel and Young make plays for Commanders

The Washington Commanders came up just short in their bid to upset the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, falling 34-31 in overtime, but their trio of Buckeyes all made their share of plays throughout the game to give them a chance to hand the Eagles a surprise loss.

Terry McLaurin had his most productive game of the season to date by catching eight passes for 86 yards, highlighted by a leaping 14-yard grab on the Commanders’ opening drive.

He also scored his second touchdown of the season in unusual fashion when he recovered a fumble by his teammate Brian Robinson Jr. in the end zone.

Curtis Samuel scored his first touchdown of the year in more traditional fashion when he took his lone carry of the day into the end zone on a jet sweep from the 1-yard line.

Samuel also caught a season-high seven passes for 51 yards in Sunday’s game.

Chase Young also made an impact for the Commanders in Philadelphia, recording a sack among three total tackles and two total quarterback hits against the Eagles.

Quick Hits

  • Kendall Sheffield made his season debut on Sunday after the San Francisco 49ers, who signed Sheffield to their practice squad last week, elevated him to their active roster for Week 4. The former Ohio State cornerback recorded three total tackles with a tackle for loss and also downed a punt at the 1-yard line in the 49ers’ 35-16 win over the Arizona Cardinals.
  • Shaun Wade made the first start of his NFL career and recorded six tackles – tying his total tackles for his career entering Sunday’s game – in the New England Patriots’ 38-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
  • Jordan Fuller forced his second fumble of the season and recorded three tackles in the Los Angeles Rams’ 29-23 overtime win over the Indianapolis Colts.
  • Dre’Mont Jones blew up a run by New York Giants running back Matt Breida for a 5-yard loss in the Seattle Seahawks’ 24-3 Monday Night Football win.
  • Chris Olave had the quietest game of his NFL career as he caught only one pass for four yards in the New Orleans Saints’ 26-9 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
  • Dawand Jones embraced his “Big Thanos” nickname by wearing a shirt of the supervillain to the Cleveland Browns’ game against the Baltimore Ravens.
  • Paris Johnson Jr. treated Ohio State’s current offensive linemen to a dinner at Giuseppe’s Ritrovo, an Italian restaurant in Columbus.


  • The Los Angeles Chargers placed Corey Linsley on the non-football illness list with what the team described as a “non-emergent heart-related medical issue.” No timeline has been stated for his potential return, though he will be sidelined for at least four games.
  • The Dallas Cowboys added former Ohio State center Billy Price to their practice squad last week.
  • The Atlanta Falcons released former Ohio State offensive tackle Isaiah Prince from their active roster last week.
  • Nicholas Petit-Frere has been reinstated and will be eligible to play for the Tennessee Titans in Week 5 after the NFL and NFLPA reached an agreement last week to reduce the penalty for betting on non-NFL sports at team facilities to two games for a first offense. The former Ohio State offensive tackle – along with former Ohio State-turned-Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams, who was also reinstated Monday – was initially suspended for the first six games of the season for violating the league’s sports betting policy.

Statistics for every former Ohio State player from Week 4 and for the entire 2023 season can be found in the table below compiled by Eleven Warriors researcher Matt Gutridge. (Note: The table only includes players who finished their college careers at Ohio State.)

Buckeyes Around the NFL
ELI APPLE CB DOLPHINS Inactive 9 tackles, 2 PD
JEROME BAKER LB DOLPHINS 5 tackles 20 tackles, 2 QB hits
VONN BELL S PANTHERS 7 tackles 24 tackles, 1 INT, 2 PD
JOEY BOSA DE CHARGERS Inactive 6 tackles, 3 sacks (28 yards), 3 TFL, 3 QB hits, 1 PD
NICK BOSA DE 49ERS 4 QB hits 7 tackles, 1 sack (8 yards), 2 TFL, 10 QB hits
NOAH BROWN WR TEXANS Injured reserve (groin) 3 catches, 20 yards
BARON BROWNING OLB BRONCOS Physically unable to perform Has not played
PARRIS CAMPBELL WR GIANTS 3 catches, 15 yards 14 catches, 62 yards
JONATHON COOPER OLB BRONCOS 5 tackles, 1 sack (6 yards), 1 TFL, 2 QB hits, 1 FR, 1 TD 23 tackles, 3 sacks (26 yards), 1 FF, 2 TFL, 3 QB hit, 1 FR, 1 TD
TAYLOR DECKER OT LIONS Started at LT 2 starts at LT
J.K. DOBBINS RB RAVENS Injured reserve (Achilles) 8 carries, 22 yards, 1 TD
EZEKIEL ELLIOTT RB PATRIOTS 6 carries, 16 yards; 2 catches, 6 yards 34 carries, 138 yards; 8 catches, 27 yards
LUKE FARRELL TE JAGUARS 2 catches, 10 yards 3 catches, 14 yards
JUSTIN FIELDS QB BEARS 28/35 passing, 335 yards, 4 TD, 1 INT; 4 carries, 25 yards  79/113 passing, 861 yards, 7 TD, 5 INT; 28 carries, 134 yards, 1 TD
JORDAN FULLER S RAMS 3 tackles, 1 FF 22 tackles, 2 FF
DaVON HAMILTON DT JAGUARS Injured reserve (back) Has not played
MALIK HARRISON LB RAVENS 3 tackles, 1 QB hit 6 tackles, 1 QB hit
ZACH HARRISON DE FALCONS Played at DE 10 tackles
CAMERON HEYWARD DT STEELERS Injured reserve (groin) 1 QB hit
RONNIE HICKMAN S BROWNS Inactive 1 game played at S
MALIK HOOKER S COWBOYS 2 tackles 14 tackles, 1 INT, 2 PD
SAM HUBBARD DE BENGALS 4 tackles, 1 sack (2 yards), 1 TFL, 2 QB hits 22 tackles, 2 sacks (10 yards), 2 TFL, 5 QB hit
JONAH JACKSON OG LIONS Started at LG 4 starts at LG
CAMERON JOHNSTON P TEXANS Injured reserve (calf) Has not played
DAWAND JONES OT BROWNS Started at RT 3 starts at RT, 4 games played
DRE’MONT JONES DE SEAHAWKS 4 tackles, 1 TFL 9 tackles, 1 sack (2 yards), 2 TFL, 1 QB hit
MARSHON LATTIMORE CB SAINTS 5 tackles 19 tackles, 1 INT, 6 PD
TYQUAN LEWIS DE COLTS 1 tackle, 1 TFL 4 tackles, 1 TFL
COREY LINSLEY C CHARGERS Non-football illness (heart) 3 starts at C
LIAM McCULLOUGH LS FALCONS Played at LS 3 games played at LS
TERRY McLAURIN WR COMMANDERS 8 catches, 86 yards, 1 FR TD 21 receptions, 212 yards, 1 TD, 1 FR TD
THAYER MUNFORD OT RAIDERS Played at OT 1 start, 4 games played at OT
JOSH MYERS C PACKERS Started at C 4 games started at C
JEFF OKUDAH CB FALCONS 3 tackles 3 tackles
CHRIS OLAVE WR SAINTS 1 catch, 4 yards 23 catches, 306 yards
NICHOLAS PETIT-FRERE OT TITANS Reinstated Has not played
ISAIAH PRINCE OT FALCONS Released 2 games played
JEREMY RUCKERT TE JETS 2 catches, 26 yards 2 catches, 26 yards
CURTIS SAMUEL WR COMMANDERS 7 catches, 51 yards; 1 carry, 1 yard, 1 TD 17 catches, 178 yards; 3 carries, 20 yards, 1 TD
TREY SERMON RB COLTS 3 carries, 7 yards 8 carries, 24 yards
KENDALL SHEFFIELD CB 49ERS 3 tackles, 1 TFL 3 tackles, 1 TFL
TYREKE SMITH LB SEAHAWKS Practice squad 1 tackle
JAXON SMITH-NJIGBA WR SEAHAWKS 3 catches, 5 yards 12 catches, 62 yards
C.J. STROUD QB TEXANS 16/30 passing, 306 yards, 2 TD; 4 carries, 16 yards 94/151 passing, 1,212 yards, 6 TD; 14 carries, 51 yards
MICHAEL THOMAS WR SAINTS 4 catches, 53 yards 22 catches, 219 yards
SHAUN WADE CB PATRIOTS 6 tackles 9 tackles
DENZEL WARD CB BROWNS Started at CB 13 tackles, 1 TFL, 5 PD, 1 FF
PETE WERNER LB SAINTS 8 tackles 34 tackles, 0.5 sack (4 yards), 1 QB hit
GARRETT WILSON WR JETS 9 catches, 60 yards 21 catches, 225 yards, 2 TD
LUKE WYPLER C BROWNS Inactive Has not played
CHASE YOUNG DE COMMANDERS 3 tackles, 1 sack (5 yards), 1 TFL, 2 QB hits 9 tackles, 2.5 sacks (13 yards), 3 TFL, 4 QB hits
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