Oregon State took on Ohio State this morning in Columbus and the result was pretty much what everyone predicted. Ohio State enforced their will and walked away with an easy victory. Ohio State’s offense impressed and put up a lot of points, while their defense struggled at times to limit some big Oregon State plays. Buckeye starting quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. looked like a future NFL star in his first collegiate start.
Instead of recapping the many touchdowns that Ohio State scored, instead I thought I’d break down the performances by the Oregon State offense and defense respectively.
The Beavers managed to score 31 points on a very good Ohio State defense and racked up 392 total yards on the day. Jake Luton was injured on the opening drive after taking a shot on a quick pass that went for 25 yards. A turnover killed the drive after a botched Luton snap (probably was still shaken up), but Conor Blount replaced him and looked impressive despite having limited time in the pocket to operate. Blount finished out the half, but not before throwing two touchdown strikes to Trevon Bradford and executing a few screen plays that were very effective against the aggressive Ohio State pass-rush.
In the second half Artavis Pierce broke open two impressive touchdown runs (80 & 78 yards). Jack Colletto replaced Blount for the entire second half and it didn’t appear to be injury related. Conor Blount mostly impressed in the first half and I wonder if the coaching staff wanted to get Colletto some game experience after seeing what Blount could do. After those two big runs by Pierce, the offense mostly stalled. Colletto is a good athlete and kept the ball for some decent runs, but he was not impressive with his arm. He completed just one pass for two yards and played the entire second half.
The offensive line obviously struggled against Ohio State’s fierce pass-rush, but that was to be expected. No tight ends were on the receiving end of a completed pass today, they could have really used a healthy Noah Togiai today. Overall, the offense was pretty good against the Buckeyes. They were only able to score more than 31 points TWICE last season!
Giving up a school-record 77 points is obviously very bad, no matter what the context is. Allowing 721 yards and forcing just one punt (that led to a touchdown) is also not ideal. Oregon State had a tough challenge trying to stop Ohio State’s running game (featuring four impressive RBs) and a potent passing attack. The Beavers offered little resistance to either the running or passing game and the Buckeyes uptempo offense didn’t allow them to regroup early in the game.
Oregon State played a lot of true freshman on defense today and there were numerous miscommunications that led to big-plays for Ohio State. The one time the Beavers were able to get pressure on Dwayne Haskins he threw a interception that lead to my favorite play all game (Shawn Wilson/Kaleb Hayes comical 80 yard return).
The secondary was already dealing with injuries and the inexperience showed today. The defense mostly played a 3-4 and less nickel packages than I expected, but they needed to try to stop the running game. Mike Weber had a huge game for the Buckeyes and had a couple of long touchdown runs.
Overall I think the defense showed some potential in stopping the run. The Buckeyes averaged 7.1 yards per carry, but a lot of those yards came on big plays. Also, if the secondary is able to get healthy they probably won’t face an offensive this talented again all season.
Beaver fans shouldn’t be disheartened by today’s outcome. The offense looked pretty good and while we’ll wait to hear the details on injuries like Luton and others; the offense should be much better than a season ago. Trevon Bradford, Artavis Pierce, Isaiah Hodgins and even true freshman Jemar Jefferson look like real weapons for this Oregon State team. The Beavers will head to Corvallis, get things cleaned up on defense and can try and take out their frustration on Southern Utah next weekend.