What They’re Saying Following Ohio State’s Win Over Tulsa

Local and national pundits react to the Buckeyes’ 41-20 victory over the Golden Hurricane on Saturday.
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Ohio State bounced back from its first regular-season loss since 2018 with a 41-20 win over Tulsa on Saturday afternoon.

The Buckeyes were led by running back TreVeyon Henderson, who broke Archie Griffin’s record for rushing yards in a single game by a freshman, as well as redshirt freshman safety Cameron Martinez, who had a pick-six with 1:50 remaining in the game.

With that said, local and national college football analysts shared some of their thoughts on the game, and BuckeyesNow has compiled some of the best reactions below:

Max Olson, The Athletic

“TreVeyon Henderson lived up to all the five-star hype on Saturday with 277 rushing yards and three touchdowns, setting a new single-game freshman school record. And yet, somehow, Ohio State only led Tulsa by seven points with five minutes left.

“Ohio State rectified that in the final minutes with a Garrett Wilson touchdown and a Cameron Martinez pick six to save face and make the final score of its win over Tulsa 41-20. But the struggles in this one are still worth noting. In Matt Barnes’ first game calling plays for the Buckeyes’ defense, they did a better job of making adjustments but still got burned for a career-high 428 passing yards from Golden Hurricanes quarterback Davis Brin.

“Based on the schedule ahead, we’re not going to have a great sense of how good this defense actually is until the Oct. 30 showdown with Penn State. That unit getting its act together decides this team’s College Football Playoff ceiling. This week brought hard changes for Ryan Day and his staff, so maybe an underwhelming performance was to be expected during this transition. The offense is too talented and explosive to fail, and the emergence of Henderson only makes C.J. Stroud’s job easier. Nobody will be surprised if Day’s team flips a switch and goes on a long winning streak.

“Still, between the flaws they’ve flashed and the hot starts from Penn State and Michigan, this Ohio State team also looks capable of losing more than once this season. The Tulsa game was a small step in the right direction.”

Bill Bender, Sporting News

“Ohio State's defense didn't alleviate too many concerns after allowing 487 yards in a 41-20 victory against Tulsa that was a one-score game with 12:07 left in the fourth quarter. Ryan Day said defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs did not make the play calls this week, leaving them to secondary coach Matt Barnes. 

“The good news? It won't be easy to outrun the Buckeyes when freshman TreVeyon Henderson is loose. Henderson totaled 270 yards, the third highest single-game total in Buckeyes' history. He scored on TD runs of five, 48 and 52 yards. Henderson has 339 yards through three games, and it is not too early to peek at that Ohio State freshman rushing record. 

"J.K. Dobbins set that with 1,403 yards in 2017, which broke the record of 1,237 yards set by Maurice Clarett in 2002. Henderson can be that kind of difference-maker.”

Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY Sports

“Ohio State has dominated the Big Ten for so long and with such brute force that it's hard to picture another team stepping into the Buckeyes' place as the league's leading candidate for the College Football Playoff.

“Three weeks of the 2021 season has made it easier to imagine. The door has opened for another team to win the conference: OSU scuffled again on Saturday, following up last weekend's disappointing loss against Oregon by struggling to put away Tulsa, while two East division rivals — Penn State and Michigan — look ready to supplant the Buckeyes as the team to beat.

“Just as Clemson's early loss and questionable offense has brought randomness to the ACC, the Buckeyes' inability to rediscover last year's form could bring chaos to what has been a boringly predictable playoff chase.

“In a young season when even Alabama has looked vulnerable — though the Crimson Tide are still the team to beat — this year's national semifinals could be filled out by a power program such as Penn State and Michigan. 

“Even before getting into the postseason, the idea that a team other than OSU could win the Big Ten goes against almost every preseason prediction and the past decade of results. Since hiring Urban Meyer in 2012 and promoting Ryan Day in 2019, the Buckeyes have lost just four regular-season conference games and claimed the past four conference championships.

“Now the Nittany Lions and Wolverines are poised to take advantage of an OSU team that has failed to look the part of a playoff contender in games against the Ducks, Golden Hurricane and Minnesota.”

Ralph Russo, Associated Press

“Ohio State (2-1) is past the point of needing just a tuneup. The Buckeyes pulled away from Tulsa in the fourth quarter thanks to freshman phenom TreVeyon Henderson (270 yards rushing and three TDs).

“Those defensive issues that had coach Ryan Day being asked about the status of defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs after the Oregon loss? Still there. Tulsa passed for 428 yards.”

Tom VanHaaren, ESPN

“The Buckeyes lost to Oregon in Week 2, then came out flat against Tulsa and ended up in a dog fight with a team that was 0-2 coming into the game.

“There were mistakes across the board for Ohio State with penalties and issues in coverage on defense, plus quarterback C.J. Stroud didn't play his best.

“The team has Akron, Rutgers, Maryland and Indiana before facing Penn State in Columbus. This didn't look like a top-10 team against Tulsa, and the staff has a lot to work on if they want to finish the season without any more losses.”

Ben Axelrod, WKYC

“My biggest Ohio State takeaway to this point in the season is that Justin Fields was the best quarterback in school history and I can’t believe anyone argued otherwise.”

Chris Renne, Land-Grant Holy Land

“The underclassmen won this game for Ohio State. The future is now and I don’t care about the seniority/feelings. Ohio State has some dudes waiting to get their chance.”


Be sure to check out our new message boards, Buckeye Forums. We'd love to have you part of the conversation during the season.


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Ohio State Falls To No. 12 In USA TODAY Sports Coaches Poll After Win Over Tulsa

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