This Ohio State team has grown considerably over the beginning of the season. While they've had lots of players and position groups step up and play better, nobody has taken a bigger jump forward than Buckeye redshirt freshman quarterback C.J. Stroud.
Stroud's first two games of the year were above average performances, but there was plenty of reason to be a little skeptical. Stroud was dealing with an injured shoulder and it prevented him from playing with peak confidence in his ability. Plus ... it's really hard to play quarterback at Ohio State in the first place.
But these last two weeks from Stroud have been darn near flawless.
Stroud has combined for 736 passing yards, 10 touchdowns and zero interceptions while they boat-raced Rutgers and Maryland.
“I’m just being more comfortable, being myself," Stroud said postgame. "I’m really just relaxing back there. My teammates have really helped me and my O-line does a great job of keeping the pocket clean. I just had to do my job and part. We’re starting to roll and get momentum.”
As the Buckeyes head into the bye week, Stroud's attention to detail continues to get better and it's turning into fantastic execution on the field.
“I think his preparation has been excellent," head coach Ryan Day said of Stroud's preparation. "I think he sees the field well, he’s got some good players around him and he’s also making some really good throws. His timing’s been right, he’s seeing the field, he’s making good decisions, so that’s allowing us to run the offense and be very efficient.”
“We have a lot more work to do," Stroud said. "I mean, I definitely think that we’re putting up the numbers and we’re doing the right things. We practice harder than anybody, so we grind and it just feels good for it to pay off. If we can be the best offense in the country, I think that’s something that we can reach. We just need to keep the same momentum and keep practicing well and I think we can achieve that.”
I appreciate his humility ... but that's a scary thought. The Buckeyes have the nation's top-ranked offense and they're only going to get better with more reps.
Perhaps the funniest postgame comment came from Maryland head coach Mike Locksley, who gave the Buckeyes high praise because Stroud and his receiving corps were in such incredible rhythm.
“Our coverage technique was obviously poor," Locksley said. "It looked like guys were falling out of airplanes they were that wide open ... We made that adjustment at the end of the half and started playing cover two, which took away the deep ball. We needed to stop the deep ball. We gave up too many yards. It was like 7 vs. 7 out there in the first half.”
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