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Smith-Njigba Talks Bond With C.J. Stroud, Says He's Ready for Challenge Against Penn State

The sophomore slot receiver has had a brilliant season so far, giving the Buckeyes yet another weapon in the passing game.

Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba has already begun to make a name for himself in Columbus, despite only being a sophomore.

Smith-Njigba had multiple crucial catches in the 54-7 win at Indiana last weekend, even while having to compete for playing time against several older offensive weapons, including fellow receivers senior Chris Olave and junior Garrett Wilson.

If you asked Smith-Njigba why he was able to get so many looks against the Hoosiers, he’d say it was partially due to his special connection with quarterback C.J. Stroud.

“We came in together and we’ve gotten a lot of reps together,” Smith-Njigba said, “It’s finally paying off and hopefully we can keep it going.

Both Stroud and Smith-Njigba are in their second year with the Buckeyes, a commonality that has led to the two growing closer as their careers have progressed.

Smith-Njigba hauled in six receptions against the Hoosiers that were good for 99 yards. This performance bumped his total season yards to 551 and improved his yards-per-catch average to 19.

The real test for the native Texan will be this week against Penn State, a team with one of the strongest secondary's in the country, and arguably the toughest on Ohio State’s schedule.

However, Smith-Njigba says he’s ready for the challenge and looks at the game as an opportunity for the Buckeyes to cement themselves as the best offense in college football.

What Does Ohio State Have To Prove Against Penn State?

“We know they’re a good defense and we respect them a lot,” Smith-Njigba said, “We’re just going to go out there and prove what we try to prove every week: that we’re the best offense in the country.”

Penn State’s defense is ranked third in the Big Ten conference, and has an allowed-points-per-game average of 14.71.

Meanwhile the Buckeye offense has been on a tear, scoring over 50 points in their last four games. These points have come both through the air from receivers like Olave and Wilson, but also on the ground from running backs like TreVeyon Henderson.

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Smith-Njigba is more than eager to see where Ohio State’s rolling offense stacks up against the defensive backfield of the Nittany Lions.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge,” Smith-Njigba said, “We’re looking forward to the challenge just to see where we’re at and to keep it going.”


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