Andy Anders: Red Wolves Left Scarred
In my purview, this is the easiest game on Ohio State’s schedule.
Even with a blowout win over FCS Grambling State to open its season, Arkansas State is fresh off a 2-10 campaign in which it posted the seventh-worst scoring defense in college football. Butch Jones enters year two and the team added some talent from the transfer portal, both of which should mean improvement, but the Red Wolves aren’t even considered a favorite in their Group of Five conference, the Sun Belt.
The Buckeyes should be able to do whatever they want on offense. I expect that means they’ll aim to get third-year quarterback and preseason odds-on Heisman favorite C.J. Stroud back in rhythm, airing it out to coast away from Arkansas State early. Ohio State takes a lead of 35 or more into halftime and gets plenty of experience for its depth pieces in the second half.
Ohio State 63, Arkansas State 7
Jack Emerson: Ohio State Dominates In All Phases
I whiffed on my prediction last week as I claimed the Buckeyes’ offense would not skip a beat to start this season after its dominant run in 2021. Ohio State’s offense struggled through the early goings before finding its footing in the fourth quarter of a slugfest with Notre Dame. This week, though, I feel pretty confident in saying that the Ohio State offense will emulate what we saw from their dynamic attack last season from the jump.
Although it is uncertain whether wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba and center Luke Wypler will play or not, Ohio State still boasts the depth and firepower needed to dominate an Arkansas State defense that allowed 38.6 points and 505.9 yards per game last season.
Arkansas State showed that they’ve improved in year two under head coach Butch Jones with a 58-3 win over Grambling State to open the season, but this game should still come as a breeze for Ryan Day and company.
Ohio State 63 Arkansas State 3
Braden Moles: Butch Jones Gets Sent Back To Jonesboro
A lot of words have rightfully been produced about the status of Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Julian Fleming – as well as center Luke Wypler, though he’s expected to go – missing the game against Arkansas State. At the end of the day, though, their presence on the field won’t make a difference.
Arkansas State was one of the worst teams in college football last season, allowing nearly 40 points and over 500 yards of offense per game. Ohio State – even if the Red Wolves’ defense has marginally improved – should easily surpass those numbers. If the defensive performance against Notre Dame was any indication, Arkansas State’s offense – led by experienced quarterback James Blackman – won’t be able to make much of a dent.
I will take a more conservative shot than my peers, guessing that the Ohio State offense is done at the half and the second- and third-stringers don’t do much in the game’s third and fourth frames. Shutouts are hard to pull off even against bad teams – Ohio State’s defense hasn’t pitched one in over three years – so I’ll spot the Red Wolves a touchdown to be fair.
Ohio State 55, Arkansas State 7