Ohio State football: Oregon game likes and dislikes

Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Garrett Wilson (5) catches a long pass from Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) during Saturday's NCAA Division I football game against the Oregon Ducks at Ohio Stadium in Columbus on September 11, 2021.Osu21ore Bjp 35
Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Garrett Wilson (5) catches a long pass from Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) during Saturday's NCAA Division I football game against the Oregon Ducks at Ohio Stadium in Columbus on September 11, 2021.Osu21ore Bjp 35 /

Oregon is to be congratulated. They came into Ohio Stadium, took it to the Ohio State football team, and came away with a win. It is a huge victory for their program and PAC 12 in general.

If you’ve come here looking for fan boy takes full of rainbows and unicorns, you’ve come to the wrong place. I’m going to be honest and tell you exactly what I think regardless of it is good or bad. Here are some of my likes and dislikes for the Oregon game.


Receivers – Lost in the scramble for the Buckeyes to stay in the game yesterday was the performance of the wide receivers. Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba were all over one hundred yards. They combined for 27 catches for 388 yards and three touchdowns. Those amazing numbers would be even more amazing if C.J. Stroud had not missed on multiple deep throws. This will not be the last time you see this from these guys.

Denzel Burke – The true freshman has turned into the team’s top cover corner. You know a guy is covering well when a team doesn’t throw the ball his way too often. The Ducks didn’t test Burke much.

TreVeyon Henderson – The more I watch, the more I’m impressed. Two plays stuck out to me. He didn’t just recognize a blitzing linebacker while in pass protection, he got the guy on the ground with his block. Pass blocking is the most difficult thing for a young running back to learn and he seems to have a handle on it so far.

The second play that impressed me was when he took a handoff and was met well in the backfield by an Oregon defender. Henderson broke the tackle and got up the field for positive yardage. He has that ability to make something out of nothing.

J.T. Tuimoloau – Like Henderson, two plays stuck out and gave a glimpse of his potential. When Oregon’s left guard pulled and tried to kick out the nation’s top 2021 recruit, Tuimoloau put the guy on his back and made the tackle. We’re talking about a 300-pound offensive lineman getting destroyed by a true freshman playing in his second game.

The other play that got my attention was in the fourth quarter when the Buckeyes’ defense needed to get a stop, Tuimoloau batted away a pass at the line of scrimmage. You can see he is becoming more comfortable and active.

Palaie Gaoteote – the USC transfer linebacker made his debut after finally being granted his eligibility by the NCAA. His play was no better or worse than most others on the defense, but it was great to see him on the field.

Related Story. Ohio State Football loses thanks to poor defense. light


Defense – Defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs said there is nothing wrong with the scheme. The astronomical amount of yards and points given up in the Ohio State football team’s last four games beg to differ. This defense has a long list of issues and it begins with a complete lack of aggression being shown.

This defense does not fly around and make plays. They are very passive and allow offenses to control them. I’m a firm believer that in today’s game a defense needs to force an offense to do things sooner than they want or do things they don’t want to do at all.

This defense does neither. Other things on that long list include the defensive line being shoved around, linebackers continually being caught in traffic, players out of position, little to no pass rush (1 sack in two games), offenses easily getting to the perimeter, giving up long runs in short yardage, and looking lost most of the time.

Obviously, this isn’t a national championship or even a Big Ten championship defense. There is an awful lot of work to be done here and I’m not convinced what we’re seeing is going to improve THAT much.

Missed opportunities – 612 yards of offense and only 28 points. The Buckeyes spent an awful lot of time in Oregon territory without adding to their scoreboard total. While the defense was atrocious, the offense has to take part of the blame in the loss as well. There is too much talent on this unit to come up short on that many trips onto an opponent’s side of the field.

Stroud criticism – He threw for 484 yards (second-most in school history), showed improvement from the previous week, and helped keep his team in the game. But, too many want to put this loss on him because he made a bad decision late in the fourth quarter. There is plenty of room for improvement (better accuracy on deep passes, being more decisive when forced out of the pocket), but blaming him for the loss to Oregon is off base.

Proctor injury – Safety Josh Proctor did not start the game due to an injury he suffered last week. When he finally did make an appearance the difference between him and his replacement, Bryson Shaw, was noticeable. Proctor made as many tackles in far less time than Shaw, before being injured.

Unfortunately, that injury appears to be serious. He was carted from the field with an air cast on his lower leg and Ryan Day said it does not look good. The concern here is the drop-off to Shaw is considerable right now. On a defense with a myriad of problems, this is one more they really don’t need.

Playoff talk – I’ve seen all kinds of discussion on the Ohio State football team still having a path to the playoff. Really? I feel exactly like former Colts’ head coach Jim Mora when he gave his legendary answer when asked about his team making the playoffs,

“What’s that? Ah – Playoffs? Don’t talk about – playoffs? You kidding me? Playoffs? I just hope we can win a game!”

There are few things more ridiculous to me right now than talk about the Buckeyes still having a path to the playoffs. Put that kind of talk out of your mind and focus on this team doing things to improve its defense each week and working towards becoming playoff-caliber. I firmly believe the Buckeyes are talented enough to put themselves in a position to make the playoff, but talk of this right now is very premature.

Targeting – Will someone please explain this rule to me? I  know the Big Ten said the officials missed one in the Minnesota game that benefitted the Ohio State football team, but that play in question had some gray area to it. The hit on Chris Olave had none.

The Oregon defender lead with the crown of his helmet and drilled Olave in the back. I’ve heard their explanation of the defender turned his head at the last second and don’t buy it based on what we saw from multiple angles. I can’t stand this rule. It has done little to alleviate the issue of players leading with the crown of the helmet.

Next. Ohio State Football: Winners and losers vs. Oregon. dark

As I said, I’m not here to sugarcoat. I’ll tell you exactly what I think and I think yesterday there were some good things, but far too much not good. Some can be corrected. I’m not convinced others will. Tulsa is next. Nothing is going to be easy until this hold-your-breath defense (you hold your breath each play) improves.