Ohio State walked to a fairly comfortable 45-12 victory over Arkansas State on Saturday, utilizing big games from wideouts Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka to spur the Buckeyes to a win.
Buckeye Sports Bulletin is taking a look back at the biggest questions entering the game and analyzing how things turned out for Ohio State.
1. Will Jaxon Smith-Njigba or Julian Fleming play?
For the second-straight week, Ohio State was left without wide receivers Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Julian Fleming, who remain on the mend due to injury.
It was no matter, though, as Ohio State’s receivers stepped up to lead the Buckeyes to victory. Harrison finished with 184 yards and three touchdowns on seven receptions, and Egbuka hauled in four catches for 118 yards and a touchdown. If the duo has to maintain the large share of receiving duties, it seems Ohio State is in capable hands.
Even so, Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said he hopes to have Smith-Njigba and Fleming – as well as fifth-year wide receiver Kamryn Babb, who has yet to make his season debut – available against Toledo.
2. How late do Ohio State’s starters play in the game?
It ended up being a surprising decision, but Ohio State’s starters remained in the game well into the fourth quarter. The offensive backups – led by second-year quarterback Kyle McCord and first-year running back Dallan Hayden – got just one drive of action, and the defensive backups got just a series or two of work.
It’s possible the Buckeyes are hedging their bets in that next week against Toledo will provide a better opportunity to rest the starters and let the backups see the field, as this game was still a one-score contest with just a few minutes remaining in the first half until Ohio State took over and pulled away for the 45-12 finish.
3. Does Kyle McCord or Devin Brown make a statement?
Relating to the second question, there was significantly less McCord or freshman quarterback Devin Brown than expected. McCord was in for just one series – the final one of the game for Ohio State – completing 3 of 4 passes for 19 yards. The majority of that work went to Hayden, who hauled in two passes for 13 yards and rushed four times for 13 yards.
Brown did not see the field, and if he doesn’t next week against Toledo, a redshirt could be in the cards for the freshman out of Corner Canyon in Draper, Utah.