After a Week 1 performance of five catches for 98 yards, Ohio State tight end Cade Stover didn’t have a single catch in the Week 2 win over Youngstown State. It seemed like his team-leading production might have been a one-week fluke.
Then he came back against Western Kentucky with another five catches, this time for 90 yards, and seven catches against Notre Dame for 52 yards. He has become a favorite target for Kyle McCord and he has proven that he deserves to be with how well he has been catching the ball and the way he keeps plays going after the catch.
“What a great leader and what a great captain,” Ryan Day said “He symbolizes everything we stand for on this team. Just his toughness, the way he was finishing off some runs early, the way he’s blocking some of the defensive ends.”
Day has been very impressed with what he’s seen from Stover this season. Not only has he been a great pass-catching tight end, but he has been great blocking when that’s required of him as well. Day said on his radio show that the Notre Dame game was a challenge for Stover because the Fighting Irish defensive ends were trying different things to try to get to the quarterback, but he still did a great job in protection.
Last season, Stover finished with 36 receptions for 406 yards and five touchdowns, a reliable end zone target for C.J. Stroud. With McCord this year, he has 17 receptions for 240 yards, outpacing his catches per game mark from last year by 1.5. The touchdowns haven’t come for him yet, but when the Buckeyes get into the red zone, McCord has still been looking for Stover.
On the fourth-and-1 on the goal line they couldn’t convert in the second quarter was a pass intended for Stover that was tipped before he had a chance to catch it, but he was able to get open and McCord was looking for him on a play that looked like it was designed for him.
Voted as a captain by the team before the season, Stover has shown why he earned that honor along with Xavier Johnson and Tommy Eichenberg. In his fifth season with the Buckeyes he has become one of the more reliable receivers and blockers on this team, and McCord’s safety net when he needs to look in the middle of the field.
“His overall leadership has been tremendous,” Day said. “And I know Buckeye Nation loves Cade Stover, but he’s a tremendous Buckeye. But his play was excellent, too. And he’s a huge part of this offense and a real leader of this team.”