Redshirt freshman C.J. Stroud is guiding the Buckeyes on a path that few Buckeye teams have ever traveled.
The analytics of Ohio State's offensive production through seven games are actually a little bit hard to believe.
The Buckeyes have scored 49.3 points per game through seven contests this season and have been especially good over their last four games. They've beaten Akron 59-7 (without C.J. Stroud, mind you), Rutgers 52-13, Maryland 66-17 and Indiana 54-7 in a driving rainstorm.
I don't really care to hear the argument that "the Buckeyes are beating up lesser quality defenses." That's valid if you do it once or twice. But you don't accidentally average nearly 50 points per game through more than half of the season.
Look at what C.J. Stroud is doing since he's come back from his week off against Akron to rest his injured right shoulder:
- Stroud vs. Rutgers: 17-of-23, 330 yards, 5 TD's, 0 INT's
- Stroud vs. Maryland: 24-of-33, 406 yards, 5 TD's, 0 INT's
- Stroud vs. Indiana: 21-of-28, 266 yards, 4 TD's, 0 INT's
- Totals through last three games: 62-of-84, 1,002 yards, 14 TD's, 0 INT's
He has absolutely inserted himself into the Heisman Trophy conversation. The Buckeyes continue to lead the country in total offense (559.3 yards per game) and scoring offense (49.3 points per game). They lead all Power 5 schools in yards per play (8.44).
For reference, the 2020 Alabama Crimson Tide offense averaged 48.5 points per game, 541.6 yards per game and 7.81 yards per play. Joe Burrow's dominant LSU Tigers offense that won the national title two year ago averaged 48.4 points per game, 568.4 yards per game and 7.89 yards per play.
Those teams did it with veteran quarterbacks. The Buckeyes are doing it with a guy who's started only six games in his career.
The Buckeyes still have good defenses in front of them on the schedule in three of the next five weeks. Michigan (No. 11 in total defense), Purdue (No. 12) and Penn State (No. 26) are all respectable units. But I'd also argue none of those teams have played an offense with the combination of speed, power, physicality and depth that Ohio State has right now.
If the Buckeyes stay healthy, we may be talking about one of the all-time great offenses in college football history by the time the season is over. Who would've thought that was realistic after Justin Fields left for the NFL and Ohio State's new quarterback (no matter who won the job) had never thrown a collegiate pass before the season began?
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