It’s funny how a few hours can change the perspective of a game’s outcome.
On Saturday afternoon, flight 45-12 in Ohio over Arkansas looked disappointing. Sure, it was a comforting victory. The attack was clicked despite Jaxon Smith-Njigba’s absence, and the Buckeyes defense kept the Red Wolves out of the end zone.
But the Red Wolves trailed by only eight points late in the second quarter, and the Ohio State penalties reached the point where Ryan Day’s hair could have been excused from turning gray immediately.
Regarding victory whether it was a glass half full or a glass half empty, it was understandable.
Ohio Degrees:How did the Buckeyes do against the Red Wolves?
Then the rest of college football happened. Alabama was lucky to beat Texas, a three-point loser, with a field goal in the last second. Notre Dame lost #8 to Marshall, and took some of the sparkle out of OSU’s victory over the Fighting Irish in the opening match. No. 6 Texas A&M lost to Appalachian State. Georgia Southern beat Nebraska, which turned its loss in close matches under Scott Frost into a technique so skewed that Kornhusker’s side kicked him out on Sunday.
The Conference That Produced Those Three Upheavals: The Sunbelt Conference, home of Arkansas. Fans of these schools should turn to SBC! hymn.
Football in Ohio:Nitpicking comes with the OSU area.
Two weeks into the season, college football appears to be almost untied. Clearly, Alabama is invincible. When Crimson Tide crushed Utah State in the opener, it was considered a win over a decent opponent. Utah State lost 35-7 to Webber State on Saturday. Defending champion Georgia beat Alabama for first place in an Associated Press media poll.
In the Big Ten, it’s often too early to make final judgments, although Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh saw enough to name quarterback JJ McCarthy over current Cade McNamara after a 56-10 defeat in Hawaii.
more:Scarlet and Gray Matter by Joey Kaufman
How bad is Hawaii, by the way? In the previous two games, Vanderbilt and Western Kentucky won 112-27.
The power imbalance between East and West in the Big Ten remains the same for now. All seven teams in the Eastern Division are 2-0, though mostly against overrun opponents. In the West, Minnesota is the only one undefeated.
Those within Ohio’s program may look at the national scene with bewilderment, but the Buckeyes’ focus will be on improving them. Few teams look like end products after two games in one season. Ohio is no exception.
more:Freshman DE Caden Curry flashes in Buckeye’s debut.
“I don’t think I’m really satisfied,” quarterback CJ Stroud said after throwing 351 yards and four touchdowns against Arkansas State. “I don’t think anyone in attack or defense will ever be satisfied, no matter if we have a perfect match, that will never happen. You never play perfect.
“I don’t know if we’re supposed to be where we are. I don’t think we’re where we’re supposed to be, which is a good thing. We’re definitely where we’re supposed to be in certain aspects, but we have to improve in other aspects.”
The pass game looked better than the Notre Dame game. Marvin Harrison Jr played a quiet game against the Irish. He had seven passes for 184 yards and three touchdowns, which showed his road progression, pace, and hands.
Stroud averaged nearly 22 yards per touch finish on 16 of 24 passes. Arkansas State directed its defense toward stopping a running game, but TreVeyon Henderson still averaged 8.7 yards in 10 campaigns with two scores, and Mian Williams added 46 yards.
But the crime was far from flawless. The Buckeyes have gone three and four times.
In terms of defense, Ohio State did not allow the landings, but the Red Wolves took time with four engines that led to field targets. The running defense was gritty, but Buckeye’s players struggled. Ohio State needs Denzel Burke to get back to his level in 2021.
But what angers Day most are the sanctions. Ohio State committed a nine for 85 yards, which doesn’t tell the full story. A penalty kick to Teradja Mitchell for jumping over a punt shield gave Arkansas State a first defeat, disallowing Emeka Igboka’s kick to return to touchdown. (The Buckeyes were also called up for a block in the back of the play.)
“This is unacceptable,” Day said of the sanctions. “We have to fix that.”
Next week’s game against Toledo is the last chance to do so before the next week’s Big Ten game against Wisconsin begins.
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Scarlet and gray matterAnalysis of the Buckeyes’ win over Arkansas State, XCminimum: How did Ohio State come out after Saturday’s game? XCAP . survey: Ohio is still No. 3 in the polls, XC