COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State’s blowout victory over Iowa Saturday left fans with a few concerns.
First off, the Buckeyes finished with 360 yards of total offense. It was Ohio State’s lowest output of the season.
Secondly, the offense had to settle for four field goals, despite being in the red zone five times in the first half.
Although quarterback C.J. Stroud finished the game with four touchdown passes, he committed two turnovers.
And that was sort of a head-scratcher, considering Stroud is a Heisman hopeful and arguably the best gunslinger in the country.
Whether it was the bye-week that messed up the rhythm of the offense, or Iowa’s vaunted defense, Ohio State looked rusty early on.
Stroud was well aware of the offensive struggles. The Californian had to regroup at halftime because of his uncharacteristic performance.
“The first half was kind of weird, it’s tough starting with the ball at the 30 and 40, it’s hard to build a rhythm right there,” Stroud said. “So for the first half we just got to execute better.”
After a Hawkeye defender picked him off during the Buckeyes’ first drive of the second half, a light bulb came on for Stroud.
The All-Big Ten performer started picking Iowa’s defense apart piece by piece from that point on. Stroud threw four touchdowns to four different Buckeyes.
He clearly responded to adversity and is proud that his teammates were able to turn it all around. The consistency proved to be vital down the stretch.
“I mean we were just off a little bit, but it wasn’t like they were controlling us,” he said. “At the end of the day I think we have an offense to where we can run the ball, throw the ball, so we just need get that going better.”
After all, Stroud leads the FBS with 28 touchdown tosses. Not to mention he’s No. 1 in the nation in passing efficiency.
Ohio State is second in the country in scoring offense, averaging a jaw-dropping, 49.6 points per game.
Stroud has a plethora of weapons in his arsenal that has helped him put up those video game numbers in 2022.
Wideout Marvin Harrison Jr., has played like a man among boys on the gridiron. Emeka Egbuka has turned into Stroud’s No. 2 target. And Stroud has All-Big Ten rusher TreVeyon Henderson to hand the ball off to.
With five games left in the regular season, Stroud just wants better execution from the Buckeyes’offense.
That means no turnovers or silly penalties, and better protection from the big boys up front.
“The second half of the season is very tough, and you’ll have games like that when you’re not clicking early on, and we had to get it going,” the 21-year old said. “So once we got it going, I feel like we became the dynamic offense that we love.”
Stroud appreciates all of the 104,000-plus fans that were in attendance at the Horseshoe, who kept them inspired and motivated.
He’s just glad the No. 2 Buckeyes were able to deliver a victory. Regardless if the players had to work a little harder for it.
“This is football man, Iowa wasn’t coming in here to give us anything, we had to take it.”