Ohio State falls to Oregon despite being heavy favorites, losing 35-28.
Oregon entered the game missing their best two defenders. Yet, the Buckeyes seemed like the team that was down defensive help, as the Ducks gained 505 total yards of offense, 269 of which came on the ground.
Ohio State put up 612 yards of offense, but didn’t have the points to show for it.
The Buckeyes had two drives of 44-plus yards to start the game, but got no points out of them. Even though Ohio State pinned Oregon down at the one-yard line after their second drive, the Ducks drove 99 yards, with a seven-yard rushing touchdown to C.J. Verdell.
C.J. Stroud caught Oregon sleeping to level the score, but the Buckeyes were unable to contain Verdell. He scored the next two touchdowns, and Ohio State never caught back up. This is the second game in the Ryan Day era that Ohio State never had a lead at any point, after the 2021 National Championship Game against Alabama.
This rematch went Oregon’s way in the first meeting between these two side since the 2015 National Championship. This was also Oregon’s first win in the series, improving their record to 1-9 against Ohio State.
Ohio State had every advantage against Oregon outside of the x’s and o’s. The game had an early start, Oregon had a cross-country flight, Ohio State had a long week to prepare, there were 100,000 fans at the Shoe, and Oregon was missing their two best players on defense.
Yet, Ohio State lost the Xs and Os battle, and Ryan Day suffered his first regular season loss.
Ohio State Falls to Oregon
Ohio State took a loss to an out-of-conference opponent in 2014 in Week 2. This led to the eventual matchup against Oregon for the National Title.
So the Buckeyes’ season isn’t over yet. However, if they have any hope of continuing, they have some major adjustments to make.
Not everything went wrong for Ohio State. Stroud is now second all-time in passing attempts, completions, and yards in a single game, behind only Dwayne Haskins in each category. Unfortunately, the defense put the Buckeyes behind the eight ball, and Stroud’s historic day ends up coming in a losing effort.
Coaching was weak all around. It’s easy to point the finger at defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs, but Day had an off game as well. Ohio State entered the third quarter with 452 yards of offense but only 14 points to show for it. That was due, in part, to Ohio State’s zero-for-three fourth down conversion rate early in the game. Part of it comes down to having a young quarterback, but Day didn’t help him as much as he could have.
C.J. Stroud’s Second Start
The Buckeyes’ freshman quarterback looked much more settled than he did against Minnesota. He did have one or two bad drives, but overall, he was about the only thing to go well for Ohio State.
Stroud attempted 54 passes, completed 35, and passed for 484 yards. Ideally, a young quarterback shouldn’t have to throw that many times, but since they were behind, they had to pass.
The big knock against Stroud is that he tended to overthrow some receivers. He missed on a couple of throws that Justin Fields would have made. Again, this wouldn’t have mattered if the defense could stop the run at any point during the game.
The saying goes, “once is a mistake. Twice is a pattern. Three times is a habit.”
In the overall scope of the season, this is the second game where the Buckeyes have been absolutely gouged by the ground attack. Last week, Ohio State could have used the first game excuse. They rotated players, they had injuries, there were excuses.
In game two, there were no such excuses. The problems this time related to bad execution.
Looking at it from the perspective of a series of play calls, Ohio State ventured beyond habit. Minnesota exposed some gaps in Ohio State’s rushing defense that Oregon blew wide open. The Ducks ran the same play at least four times, and they scored three touchdowns and converted a crucial fourth down with it. Ohio State could not stop Oregon, even when they knew what they were going to do.
They ended up gaining 7.1 yards per carry and seemed to gain first downs at will. If someone watched this game knowing that one team was missing two five-star players on defense, they would think Ohio State was the team that was down.
A general trend from this game is that the defensive line did not get much pressure on either the run game or the passing game. This hurt Ohio State in passing defense, as they couldn’t get Anthony Brown off his spot.
This unit is supposed to be one of the best in the country, but they sure didn’t look like it.
The one good thing for the defense was that the boundary corners looked great. Cameron Brown came back from injury, and Denzel Burke got his second straight start. Neither were challenged often, but when they were, they both locked down their receivers.
All in all, this was a very winnable game for Ohio State, and they completely blew it. There will be a lot of work to do before the back end of Ohio State’s arrives.