The Buckeyes’ defense dropped the chunky yardage again, but the hopewell, Va. Setback ran for 277 yards and three touchdowns in 24 carries to erase Archie Griffin’s freshman mark in a single game.
Columbus – There were so many issues on opening day that left angry spectators in long lines to enter the Ohio stadium that the sports department added 27 pedestal ticket scanners, 80 portable ticket scanners, more police and metal detectors, and asked engineers to strengthen WiFi Connections.
But all that added high-tech gadget was unnecessary with tens of thousands of seats unoccupied for a game against Tulsa on Saturday.
Put simply, Buckeye Nation was a no-show for the team’s lowest attendance since 1971. The crowd of 76,540 would have been a great home for a spring game, but not for one that mattered.
Those who choose to eat their tickets and watch on their flat-screen TVs have avoided the 90-degree heat on kickoff, the accompanying sunburns and, more importantly, a football team that might as well. well be in a straitjacket that she is fighting herself.
Kerry Coombs, the Buckeyes’ defensive coordinator in the hot seat, did not have to apply sunscreen during his exile in the press gallery. Secondary coach Matt Barnes called the signals from the sideline.
Head coach Ryan Day vowed further structural and personal changes to turn the team around after a loss to Oregon, but Ohio State still stuttered and stumbled on both sides of the ball like a vehicle with a faulty computer system.
Ultimately, the man who saves the Buckeyes from their version of the Appalachian State of Michigan is a teenager.
Tailback TreVeyon Henderson ran for a freshman team-record 277 yards on 24 carries, including 5, 48 and 52 yard touchdowns, in a 41-20 victory that wasn’t near the rout as the score indicates. It was the third highest race in team history.
Archie Griffin’s 239 yards against North Carolina in 1972 had been one of the oldest records on the books.
“There is still a lot to work on on both sides of the ball,” Day said. “It’s a long journey, but we’re headed in the right direction.
How did he feel?
“As I always do after a win – relieved,” he said.
Day first admitted that a lot of the team’s issues are growing pains.
“We have a lot of kids playing early,” he said.
For a very long time, the Golden Hurricane (0-3) seemed to have the right assets behind quarterback Davis Brin to lead a non-Power 5 team to a victory over the Buckeyes for the first time since the Air Force in the Liberty. Bowl 1990..
Brin completed 31 of 54 passes for 428 yards and two touchdowns.
Tulsa was at 27-20 with 12:07 to go after Josh Johnson caught a 22-yard touchdown pass.
Ohio State responded when quarterback CJ Stroud completed a seven-play, 65-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Garrett Wilson on a crossover pattern in the end zone.
But the game wasn’t sealed until defensive back Cameron Martinez made his best Jim Thorpe moves swinging and weaving 61 yards for a touchdown on an interception with 1:50 to go.
“My name was called and I had a blast,” Martinez said of his first extended playing time in college.
The popular buzzword these days is that there is a lot to unbox and this game had a full storage unit.
Ohio State was playing without injured defensive end Zach Harrison, safety Josh Proctor, linebacker Teradja Mitchell and center Harry Miller. Proctor is out for the season.
Then left guard Thayer Munford fell with an apparent injury to his right leg in the first quarter and did not return.
The penalties – there were eight for 81 yards – have killed many practices. On just one practice in the third quarter, Henderson received a face mask penalty, center Luke Wypler got an illegal snap and goaltender Matthew Jones had a false start.
Possession ended with Stroud’s fumble loss.
A 47-yard catch on the Tulsa 20-yard line by Chris Olave in the fourth quarter was overturned by a face mask penalty on right guard Paris Johnson.
“We have to stop the penalties,” Day said.
In the end, Henderson turned out to be the difference for Ohio State. He looks as explosive as Ezekiel Elliott and faster than JK Dobbins, and both are in the NFL.
“I wasn’t expecting something like this,” said Henderson, originally from Hopewell, Va. “I didn’t expect to have a lot of litters.
Archie Griffin texted Tim May from Lettermen Row website saying Henderson was going to be a special player.
Henderson, who watched Griffin’s video, wasn’t basking in the glory. He said the record is one of the goals he set for himself in the preseason.
“I have to continue like this,” he said. “I can’t let this be a unique thing. I know I’m playing with a group of (talented) dogs so I don’t get nervous. ”
Left tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere said the players were talking about what Henderson was doing on the sidelines.
Coaches told Henderson just before the game he would start ahead of Miyan Williams.
“He’s probably one of the best players we’ve got here,” Petit-Frere said of Henderson.
Henderson provided the team’s explosive first play when he ran 48 yards for 20-6 with 12:12 left in the third quarter.
His third score was a 52-yard rush as time ticked by in the third quarter for a 27-13 lead.
“When he gets to the second level, he gives us the opportunity to hit home runs,” Day said of Henderson.
Otherwise, the offense was so messy and staggered that Olave didn’t catch a single pass.
Stroud said the Hurricane “did strange things” playing a 3-3-5 defense and sometimes leaving as many as eight players in the pass cover. He was 15 for 25 for 185 yards.
“It was hard to find a rhythm,” he said. “If you get greedy, you’ll return the ball. “
Even though Stroud has started three college games, incredibly there has been some criticism. He remained calm and patient in making decisions.
“I’m only 19 and I’m in the first year of the red shirt,” he said. “I keep learning. Every time I go out I give him my blood, sweat and tears. I don’t worry about the negativity. I know I’m a great player.”
Asked about playing with a sore right throwing shoulder, Stroud downplayed the injury by saying that no player is ever 100%.
“It hurts, but life hurts,” he said.
The defense had two turnovers and tackle Cormontae Hamilton had a sack for a 17-yard loss to stifle a practice.
But Tulsa totaled 501 yards on offense and had the ball for 31 minutes and 34 seconds.
It is likely that Barnes will continue to call the defensive signals.
“This is how I see if I go forward,” Day said. “We took a close look at it and had a lot of tough discussions about it. “
Defensive back Ronnie Hickman said the players hadn’t been shaken by such a big move this season.
Coombs is loved by his burdens and an inspiring personality.
“The coaches did a good job of communicating through the headsets,” Hickman said. “I wouldn’t say it was a big change. “