Notes on Saturday’s Ohio State-Toledo game from Joey Kaufman:
Game in hand
• Short attention span summary: Ohio State gave CJ Stroud even more targets. This included his favorite. He threw more touchdowns. Another passing clinic followed. The offense is humming on the eve of Big Ten play. The Buckeyes endured some Dequan Finn highlights, or lowlights for their defense. But four touchdowns in three non-conference games is a big improvement on that side of the ball.
• Pre-game buzz: A good bar question might be the last time Ohio State lost to an in-state opponent. The answer, then, is Oberlin College in 1921. A century later, Toledo was the latest team from Ohio to try to make history, pulling off a mammoth upset of the Buckeyes — or at least a 2011 scare.
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• Spread the wealth? Do you like betting on the Buckeyes? It finally paid off. Those who scored 31 points collected. It didn’t make anyone sweat it either. When Mitch Rossi got into the end zone to cap the first drive of the second half, OSU led by 35 points and kept rolling.
• Strategically speaking: To play or not to play? That was the question for several of the Buckeyes’ defensive starters heading into the final non-conference game. The Buckeyes were ultimately cautious. Safeties Tanner McCalister and Josh Proctor stayed away. So is defensive tackle Mike Hall. The only sign Ohio State was looking at heading into next week was injury management.
How the team sees it: Four quarters to feel good.
How will the pollsters see it?: It’s time for a measure-up against Big Ten competition.
How Buckeye Nation will see it: Thanks for not facing Dequan Finn again.
Hey, what did Ryan Day say?
What he said: “Look at the scoreboard, we’re proud of what we did.”
What it means: Seventy-seven points speak for themselves.
They said it
Pre-game chatter: “We’re growing up. We’re not perfect. But tonight the message is to dominate. It’s time to start dominating.” Ryan Day, to the fans at the pregame Skull Session.
Talking heads: “The only Knowles I know who was a bigger rock star last year was Beyonce.” FOX’s Spencer Tillman on Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles.
Ohio State Football:Julian Fleming scores two touchdowns in OSU football’s season debut against Toledo
Numbers for dummies
77: Points scored by the Buckeyes, most since Ryan Day took over the program in 2019.
763: All-time rushing yards by Ohio State, second most in a game in school history.
7: Back-to-back possessions the Buckeyes’ offense scored a touchdown to start the game.
256.8: Stroud’s rating, the second-highest of 15 Ohio State starts.
108: Rushing yards by freshman Dallan Hayden, the first running back this season to top 100 yards.
5: Touchdowns by Marvin Harrison Jr. this season, including two others caught against Toledo.
223: Total yards of offense by Toledo quarterback Dequan Finn, accounting for nearly three-quarters of the Rockets’ production.
31%: Converting on third downs by Toledo offense.
2: Turnovers forced by Buckeyes defense.
1: Penalties committed by Ohio State after scoring a combined 16 times in the first two games.
56: Margin of victory for Ohio State, largest since 73-14 win over Maryland in 2019.
At the tap
Wisconsin returned to Ohio State’s schedule after two seasons. Next weekend’s game at Ohio Stadium marks the first meeting between the teams since a pair in 2019 that included the Big Ten championship game. Need a refresher on the Badgers? It’s still a run-heavy, ball-control offense with Braelon Allen serving as the final feature back. Allen has rushed for 332 yards and five touchdowns in three games and looks to be the biggest test yet for the Buckeyes’ rebuilt defense.
Joey Kaufman covers Ohio State football for The Columbus Dispatch. Contact him at email@example.com or on Twitter @joeyrkaufman
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This article originally appeared in The Columbus Dispatch: Ohio State football analysis: How OSU beat the Toledo Rockets