It took some time for Ohio State to get into a groove, but it was eventually able to pull away from Indiana in a 23-3 win in Bloomington to kick the season off with a victory. Here are the players we thought were deserving of Buckeye Leaves following Saturday’s contest.
Patrick Engels: Ohio State featured a balanced rushing attack in their season-opener, and that backfield production starts with senior Chip Trayanum.
With the offense stagnating early in the third quarter, Trayanum helped ignite the team with a couple of big runs midway through the period. The Akron native recorded two rushes of 10 yards or more on Ohio State’s mid-third quarter drive, first dashing towards the sidelines with a 14-yard gain and then adding another 12-yard rush four plays later. His efforts helped the Buckeyes enter the red zone, leading to a touchdown from Miyan Willaims that would essentially put the game away.
Trayanum finished with eight rushes for 57 yards in the season-opener, an impressive start to his senior campaign that may earn him more playing time down the road.
Braden Moles: I’m sending out two Buckeye Leaves to a pair of players that were consistent even when Ohio State struggled in the early stages of the game.
First up is cornerback Denzel Burke, who had a lockdown performance against the Hoosiers. He got a hand on seemingly every ball that came his way, finishing with two pass breakups along the way, reflecting a focus from the staff this offseason for Ohio State’s cornerbacks to be more physical and get to the ball faster. He was just one part, though, of an impressive performance from the secondary that allowed just 82 passing yards between Indiana redshirt freshmen quarterbacks Brendan Sorsby and Tayven Jackson.
Going to the other side of the ball, tight end Cade Stover deserves some recognition after finishing with a career-high five receptions for 98 yards, including a 49-yard reception in the third quarter that helped Ohio State’s offense find a groove en route to the win. He was not able to offer quite the contributions as a blocker, but Stover was still a significant part of Ohio State’s passing attack that struggled at times when he was not being targeted.