Ohio State vs. Notre Dame rating, takeaways: No. 2 Buckeyes battle again to beat No. 5 Preventing Irish

No. 2 Ohio State overcame lackluster play and an harm to one in every of their star gamers whereas battling again and in the end beating No. 5 Notre Dame 21-10 in an thrilling season opener. The Buckeyes trailed at halftime and into the third quarter earlier than the Ohio State offense put collectively its greatest drive of the evening late within the contest as star quarterback C.J. Stroud accomplished 24 of 34 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns

That 10-play, 70-yard drive that ended with a 24-yard landing move from Stroud to Xavier Johnson that appeared to get up the Buckeyes and the 100,000 in attendance at Ohio Stadium. It was the final second they needed to cheer, nonetheless, as Ohio State adopted with a good higher drive, going 95 yards in 14 performs to place the sport out of attain.

After shedding star receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba to a leg harm within the first quarter, the Buckeyes struggled to discover a rhythm on offense, however Emeka Egbuka and working backs TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams stepped as much as fill the void.

The Preventing Irish offense acquired off to a promising begin, selecting up 54 yards on the primary play of the evening, nevertheless it managed solely 199 yards for the remainder of the sport. Tyler Buchner (177 yards passing, 18 speeding) made some performs, however Notre Dame may by no means discover consistency towards an Ohio State protection that performed with its hair on fireplace.

Tommy Eichenberg completed with two sacks for Ohio State, whereas Mike Corridor had one other sack and two tackles for loss. With their second-half comeback, the Buckeyes had been in a position to keep away from turning into the primary prime two crew to lose its season opener since No. 1 Miami fell to BYU to start the 1990 season.

Let’s check out the important thing takeaways from Ohio State’s huge Week 1 win over Notre Dame.

Ohio State’s protection gained the sport

There have been questions on how Ohio State would carry out in Jim Knowles’ first recreation as defensive coordinator. Early returns are fairly promising. Whereas the Buckeyes ended up successful considerably comfortably, it is solely as a result of their protection picked up a lackluster offense again and again. Whereas Notre Dame hit the occasional huge play by way of the air, the Buckeyes didn’t permit the Irish to string collectively important drives. It regarded like a very totally different unit than the one which too typically allowed groups to maneuver the ball down the sphere in essential spots final season.

Essentially the most important distinction was the strain. Knowles threw all types of disguises on the inexperienced Buchner. All of it — blitzes, stunts, and pass-rushers like Zach Harrison dropping into protection — was designed to maintain Buchner guessing and not sure of the place to go together with the ball; it labored, for essentially the most half. The Buckeyes completed with six tackles for loss and three sacks as they held Notre Dame to five.3 yards per play. Extra importantly, it allowed the Irish to transform solely 3 of 13 third downs whereas forcing them into third-and-long conditions all evening. That saved the Irish from having the ability to maintain drives, and it purchased the Buckeyes offense extra time to determine issues out.

Ohio State’s large receiver depth is a matter

Who would’ve thought we would be saying that?! Ohio State’s receiver corps is meant to be the perfect within the nation, however Smith-Njigba suffered an undisclosed leg harm on the crew’s first collection and noticed just a few extra performs the remainder of the evening. Julian Fleming was already banged up. That meant the Buckeyes needed to play with a variety of inexperienced receivers, and it confirmed. There was miscommunication about the place they had been alleged to be on routes and the timing was off with Stroud.

Nonetheless, issues picked up within the second half with Egbuka rising as essentially the most dependable goal. Egbuka completed with 9 receptions for 90 yards and a landing. Marvin Harrison Jr. caught 5 passes for 56 yards, and whereas Johnson caught solely two passes, his 24-yard landing proved the game-winner. In the long run, six receivers other than Smith-Njigba (two catches, 3 yards) caught passes from Stroud on the night.

Notre Dame should discover a run recreation

Coming into the night, I assumed Notre Dame’s downside on offense could be an absence of explosive performs within the passing recreation, making it troublesome to maintain up with the high-powered Ohio State offense. Whereas they weren’t constant sufficient all through the evening, Buchner and his receivers connected for 4 passes of a minimum of 20 yards, together with a 54-yard reference to Lorenzo Kinds on the primary play of the sport. The issue was the Irish could not do something on the bottom. The Ohio State protection held Notre Dame to solely 76 yards speeding on 30 carries. Alter for sacks, and that quantity solely improves to 95 yards on 27 carries (3.5 per contact).

With a younger quarterback making his first begin on the street in a demanding atmosphere, the Irish would have ideally gotten extra from their floor recreation to take the load off Buchner. As a substitute, Buchner needed to carry the load, and it went about in addition to you’d count on in the long term.

Stroud can — and should — do higher

Frankly, Stroud regarded peculiar within the first half and shaky to start out the second half. It wasn’t till the center of the third quarter that he appeared to discover a rhythm, and from that time onward, Ohio State took management of the sport. Stroud’s closing stat line is not going to show many heads (not for the fitting causes, anyway), however he made huge throws late when he needed to and helped his crew decide up a vital win.