Ohio State football: Takeaways from the season opener

The Ohio State Football team has a star running back in TreVeyon Henderson.Ceb Osu21min Kwr 47
The Ohio State Football team has a star running back in TreVeyon Henderson.Ceb Osu21min Kwr 47 /

The Ohio State football team opened up their season Thursday night on the road against Minnesota. The Golden Gophers gave them all they could handle before the Buckeyes pulled away in the second half. Here are some takeaways from Ohio State’s 45-31 win:

Don’t overthink the backfield

On Ohio State’s first offensive possession, Miyan Williams took a counter run for 71 yards to the house. I’m not sure why there was any uncertainty from that point on, but the coaching staff proceeded to rotate three running backs over the next two drives.

It was evident that this impacted the passing game. Until the second half, there was no continuity in the backfield, preventing anyone back from gaining a rhythm and opening up the passing game to make life easier for CJ Stroud.

Later, on a 3rd and 5 early in the fourth quarter, Stroud hit TreVeyon Henderson on a swing pass out of the backfield, and the freshman proved why he was the top-rated running back in the country. Henderson shot out of a cannon and scored 70 yards later.

Master Teague is a great buckeye, but he isn’t the answer to the running game. There is no reason that Ohio State’s backfield should consist of anything but a one-two punch of Miyan Williams and TreVeyon Henderson.

The offense is as advertised

C.J. Stroud had a tough start to the game, to say the least. The freshman signal-caller was 8/14 at the half with an interception to go with it – not exactly Justin Fields-esque. He was overthrowing, underthrowing, and flat-out missing open receivers.

And while half of Buckeye Twitter was calling for a Kyle McCord appearance on social media, Stroud came out of halftime and responded to the adversity. He wasted no time, finding Olave for six on one of his signature crossing routes on the first drive of the third quarter. Stroud went 5/8 for 236 yards and 4 touchdowns in the second half, and while he benefited from being surrounded by lethal offensive weapons, Stroud showed resilience in his first-ever start.

The Silver Bullets (and maybe the coaches) have room to improve

While defensive backs Sevyn Banks, Marcus Williamson, and Cam Brown were nursing injuries and did not see the field, the Ohio State football team’s defense showed some of the same weaknesses that plagued this team in their title run a year ago.

Tanner Morgan and the Minnesota wide receivers were able to find early success targeting the inexperienced members of this secondary. P.J. Fleck did what he does best, controlling the time of possession for much of the game. The second half saw some improvements out of Kerry Coombs’ unit.

Zach Harrison started to apply the pressure, forcing a fumble in the 3rd quarter that led to a Haskell Garrett scoop-and-score, providing a key momentum swing. The game progressed and key pieces of the secondary like Ryan Watts, Denzel Burke, and Lathan Ransom settled in and improved in coverage.

At points, it was hard to keep track of who was on the field for the Buckeyes defense. The coaching staff seemed to be rotating linebackers and defensive backs as if they themselves didn’t know who the starters were. I can’t imagine this helped their cause as they struggled to get comfortable.

Next. Ohio State Football: Offensive line as good as advertised. dark

There will be growing pains, but the talent is there and this unit will only grow as the season progresses.