No team has dominated college football like Ohio State this season | Opinion – USA TODAY

  • October 11, 2022

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Another Ohio State game, another blowout victory.
The Buckeyes’ 49-20 win over Michigan State in their first road game of 2022 resembled their previous ones at home over Arkansas State, Toledo, Wisconsin and Rutgers.
Their offense scored touchdowns almost at will. Other than a pick-six by quarterback C.J. Stroud, Ohio State had touchdowns on seven consecutive possessions against the Spartans.
OSU’s defense stuffed the run game and again played with purpose and confidence.
The Buckeyes are at the midway point of their regular season and have barely been tested. Only the Notre Dame game was ever in doubt, and that season-opener feels like a long time ago.
Ohio State held steady at No. 3 in the USA TODAY Sports AFCA Coaches Poll and moved up to No. 2 in the Associated Press media poll. But a strong case could be made for the Buckeyes to be No. 1. Unlike every other top team, Ohio State hasn’t had a game go to the wire. Top-ranked Georgia trailed mediocre Missouri last week for almost the entire game before pulling it out. The Bulldogs even struggled with Kent State. Alabama has barely staved off upset bids by Texas and Texas A&M.
Clemson needed two overtimes to beat Wake Forest. Michigan got a scare from Maryland.
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Ohio State now has an off week, and it’s well-timed. The Buckeyes will have extra time to prepare for Iowa’s stingy defense. (They might need a half-hour to prepare for the Hawkeyes’ putrid offense.)
More importantly, the break will give players an opportunity to heal. There’s hope wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba (hamstring) will return. Running back Miyan Williams didn’t play against Michigan State, and TreVeyon Henderson was injured on his first carry of the second half. Ohio State coach Ryan Day said Henderson could have played if the game were closer, but some days off will do him good.
Ohio State leads the country in scoring at 48.8 points per game, and they’ve done it without some of their key players.
Add Smith-Njigba and healthy running backs to this offense? Yikes.
“It’s scary to me, so I can only imagine what it is to the rest of the country,” said receiver Marvin Harrison Jr., who had three touchdown catches against Michigan State to become the only Buckeyes player ever to have that many in three different games.
The defense, with one glaring exception, is playing superbly. The front four swarms. Linebackers Tommy Eichenberg and Steele Chambers are playing at an All-Big Ten level. Eichenberg might be playing at an All-American level.
Jim Knowles describes his defense as a safety-driven one, and Ronnie Hickman, Tanner McAlister, Josh Proctor and Lathan Ransom have been up to the task.
The one problem is at cornerback. The Buckeyes have only six scholarship players at the position and were counting on sophomore Denzel Burke and senior Cam Brown to be stalwarts. Instead, they’ve struggled. They’ve gotten beaten regularly on 50-50 plays and called for penalties too often.
“I keep looking at it, and we’re there,” Day said. “We just don’t seem to be making the play. We’ve got to figure that part out. If it’s something where (receivers) are creating separation and we can’t cover anybody, that’s one issue. The issue seems to be that we’re there, we’re just not quite making the play.
“We’ve got to address it. I know we can do that. We have the right guys over there. They’re pressing a little bit, but that’s OK. And they’re doing some really good things.”
Fortunately for the Buckeyes, Burke and Banks have the talent to rebound, and OSU’s schedule is hardly loaded with opponents able to exploit them if they continue to struggle.
“I’m looking forward to getting to the bye week and to getting guys healthy and reflecting on the things that we did well in the first six games,” Day said, “but also projecting where we need to be and where we need to go.”

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