COLUMBUS – Is this season going to be like 2014?
That seemed to be the predominant theory after Saturday’s 35-28 upset loss to Oregon at Ohio Stadium.
Just a refresher on that 2014 season.
OSU opened with a 31-17 win over Navy, then preceded to lose the next week at home against Virginia Tech 35-21.
The Buckeyeswent on to run the table, with third-string quarterback Cardale Jones at the helm, winning the Big Ten Championship 59-0 over Wisconsin, 42-35 over Alabama in one of the college football playoff semi-finals and 42-20 in theNational Championship game over Oregon.
I certainly would not want OSU’s third-string quarterback playing this season because the first two quarterbacks were injured. In that season, everything had to go right to win the national championship and one can’t expect to replicate that success in 2021.
Speaking of the Ducks, Oregon arrived from the west coast and dominated the Buckeyes.
The Ducks imposed their will in various ways. They ran right up the middle, hit quick passes in the flat and used an array of crossing patterns to confuse OSU’s much maligned defense. The Ducks showed great balance with 269 yards rushing and 236 passing. Quarterback Anthony Brown connected with 11 different receivers.
While Oregon was efficient on offense the Buckeyes showed inconsistencies.
Quarterback C.J. Stroud thew oneinterception, a multitude of high passes and he looked indecisive at times. As the passing game was solid, the rushing aspect was not. Ohio State gained a meager 128 yards on the ground. While the Buckeyes came up with big plays in a 45-31 win over Minnesota on Sept. 2, that was not the case Saturday. The Buckeyes also left potential points on the field. Twice, OSU turned the ball over on downs, including at the Oregon eight-yard line in the third quarter. Stroud, however, threw for 484 yards, which is the second most yards in school history, and three TDs.
Chris Olave snared 12 receptions for 126 yards, Garrett Wilson had eight receptions for 117 yards, and Jaxon Smith-Njibga had a breakout game with seven catches for 145 yards and two touchdowns. The Buckeyes had 612 total offense yards, which is the most earned in a loss in school history.
The damage was bad but as coach Ryan Day said in his post-game press conference, “This is not fatal. Certainly, it hurts.” There is still a long season which will have its ups and downs, but these Buckeyes are not finished yet. They can’t worry about if 2014 will happen again, they just need to focus on fixing the errors and preparing for the next game.
Michael Greco runs the Star Beacon sports section he can be reach at email@example.com.