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Kyle McCord Takes Next Step In Still-Developing Quarterback Battle

By April 16, 2023 (12:00 pm)Football

Ohio State’s spring game – which saw the Scarlet (offense) suffer a 40-31 defeat to the Gray (defense) – was a largely unremarkable outing for quarterback Kyle McCord, which is notable in and of itself.

McCord finishing 18-of-34 passing for 184 yards and a touchdown while taking three sacks as quarterback Devin Brown – locked in a battle for the starting job with McCord – was on the sidelines nursing a finger injury that held him out of Saturday’s proceedings but isn’t expected to keep him out for long. For what it’s worth, Tristian Gebbia was 14 of 24 for 127 yards and a touchdown of his own.

The performance for McCord – at least according to his coach – was largely in line with how McCord has performed throughout the spring, with both bright spots and learning moments scattered throughout his first- and second-team snaps.

“I think what you saw in the game was similar to what you’ve seen in practice,” Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said. “Some good things, some things that you’d like to see a little bit better. But he’s growing.”

But that type of performance – one that doesn’t force Day’s hand to name a starting quarterback, as he had hoped to do this spring – leaves the door open for Brown, who will be back soon enough with an opportunity still in front of him.

“I know Devin was excited about playing in this game so not being able to was disappointing for him,” Day said. “But I thought Tristan (Gebbia) and Kyle were both competing…That was a step in the right direction.”

But none of that is to say that there weren’t positives for McCord. While he struggled at times outside the numbers, he found success over the middle of the field – including an impressive throw over a pair of defensive backs to find Marvin Harrison Jr. for a 36-yard gain in the first quarter.

McCord also provided one of the game’s highlights, finding freshman wideout Carnell Tate for a 37-yard touchdown pass, hitting Tate perfectly in stride as he streaked toward the end zone. The defense got the better of the offense throughout the afternoon, but several of McCord’s throws showed why he remains the leader in the race.

“Every year you take a step in the right direction, whether that’s spring and then fall camp or the season,” McCord said. “I think you learn a lot along the way and I think you get out of it what you put into it.

“The more film you watch, the more reps you get, it helps to take those steps,” he continued. “I feel pretty good. I feel like I came a long way from where I was when I first got here, so I feel like I’m in a good spot right now.”

For Brown’s part, despite his injury, he fully intends on being at Ohio State and continuing to compete for the starting job once fall camp commences in August.

“(Transferring) never crossed my mind,” Brown said. “I’ve always been a guy who’s going to stick to my word and where I’m at. I’ve always said from the beginning I came here and I wanted to compete. If that’s how it goes, that’s how it goes. But I’m still a Buckeye and I want to do everything I can to help this team.”

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