The ninth all-time meeting between the Buckeyes and Zips featured true freshman quarterback Kyle McCord making his first career start. He's only the fourth true freshman to start a game for the Buckeyes at QB. After a shaky early start during which he appeared nervous and rushed at times, he settled down nicely and put together a solid performance through two and a half quarters.
As far as how to interpret the following grades:
- A: National Championship-level play ... dominates the opponent and executes at the highest level.
- B: Big Ten Championship-level play ... consistently beats opponents, but leaves a few areas to grow.
- C: Bowl Eligble-level play ... does enough to win in a close game to just get bye. Needs to improve quickly.
- D: Home for the Holidays-level play ... Exposed multiple times and a major liability to the greater whole.
- F: Losing-level play ... unit was dominated in many facets of the game and is a major detriment to success. Major changes needed immediately.
If you missed our defensive grades, you can check those out here. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the grades across the offense that had its best game of the season so far.
Kyle McCord looked like a freshman out of the gates and was serenaded with the boos that have showered Ohio Stadium the past three weeks. Credit to Ryan Day in settling McCord down with the running game and continued faith in the throw game.
McCord executed a 2-minute situation to setup the field goal at the end of the half. He opened the second half with an awful decision of stepping up and forcing a throw that resulted in an interception. Take the first three throws and the interception out, he played a solid game. He accounted for 319 yards and two touchdowns and made a few really nice throws, showcasing his arm talent.
Jack Miller III entered the game and looked like he belonged as well. He connected with a young group of receivers and demonstrated that he can play at this level. It is a good problem to have for the Buckeyes going forward.
Offensive Line: B+
The Buckeye front five was able to push the smaller Akron front around in the run game. It paved the way for running lanes for the three headed monster of TreVeyon Henderson, Master Teague and Miyan Williams.
For the second week in a row the Buckeyes had to play without Thayer Munford who limped around on the sideline in street clothes. He still appears a couple weeks off from back to playing. Credit to the Akron defensive front getting home twice in the first half. The sack by Ryan Johnson was Paris Johnson’s responsibility off a twist when the two internal defensive lineman exchanged responsibilities. The unit allowed Ryan Day to be more balanced in his attack, which will be important as Big Ten play is re-ushered in next week.
Tight End: B+
Jeremy Ruckert was Jeremy Ruckert. He blocked incredibly well and flashed from that perspective. I sound like a broken record every week, but he is doing everything that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet. He finishes every block with authority. Cade Stover has followed in suit. It was disappointing to see the ball out of his reach from Jack Miller in the end zone. He is developing nicely.
Running Back: A-
The unit had a field day, running downhill all night long against the Zip Defense. The unit was physical and added to the protection plan.
TreVeyon Henderson picked up where he left off. He was smooth and physical. He also looked more confident in protection this week as well. Master Teague ran well and utilized help upfront. Miyan Williams proved he still belongs with the monster 17-yard run that was called back and the ability to generate yards after contact. They averaged 6.8 yards a carry on Saturday night. I’d be remiss to not mention Evan Pryor’s first career touchdown and 7 yards per carry. Next week will be a greater test for the group.
Wide Receiver: A
This unit is like a well: deep and nourishing. To Brian Hartline’s credit, he has recruited the most talent rich wideout group in the country. It was encouraging to see Garrett Wilson do what he normally does each and every Saturday. Chris Olave made an impact in his few series and Jaxon Smith-Njigba is an outstanding football player.
However, the applause this week goes to the previously unproven players in this unit. Emeka Egbuka had the most explosive play of the night, while the fans got a sneak peek of Marvin Harrison Jr. and Jayden Ballard. They all flashed in their own unique ways. This group will continue to generate production going forward and will be fun to watch for years to come.
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