Ohio State football: 3 takeaways from win over Youngstown State

COLUMBUS, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 9: Kyle McCord #6 of the Ohio State Buckeyes throws a pass during the third quarter of the game against the Youngstown State Penguins at Ohio Stadium on September 9, 2023 in Columbus, Ohio. The Buckeyes beat the Penguins 35-7. (Photo by Lauren Leigh Bacho/Getty Images)
COLUMBUS, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 9: Kyle McCord #6 of the Ohio State Buckeyes throws a pass during the third quarter of the game against the Youngstown State Penguins at Ohio Stadium on September 9, 2023 in Columbus, Ohio. The Buckeyes beat the Penguins 35-7. (Photo by Lauren Leigh Bacho/Getty Images) /
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COLUMBUS, OHIO – SEPTEMBER 9: The Ohio State Buckeyes run out onto the field before the start of the game against the Youngstown State Penguins at Ohio Stadium on September 9, 2023 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Lauren Leigh Bacho/Getty Images)
COLUMBUS, OHIO – SEPTEMBER 9: The Ohio State Buckeyes run out onto the field before the start of the game against the Youngstown State Penguins at Ohio Stadium on September 9, 2023 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Lauren Leigh Bacho/Getty Images) /

3. Ohio State’s offensive line took a step forward

One of the question marks heading into the season was the offensive line. Replacing three starters, all of whom were drafted in the 2023 NFL draft, was going to be key for Day and his offensive coaching staff this season.

Midway through fall camp, Day announced that they flipped Jimmy Simmons and Josh Fryar from one offensive tackle position to the other. Fryar, who was the backup tackle last season, filled in for Dawand Jones at right tackle for one start last year and played well. At left tackle this fall, he looked out of place. Simmons, a transfer from San Diego State, played right tackle last season as well but appeared to be the more athletic of the two, so he was given the opportunity to start at left.

Last week didn’t look so good. The offensive line had trouble picking up the blitz, and when on several key third and fourth down attempts, whiffed on their blocks completely. It was a different story today. The line is beginning to gel and seems to be communicating better. It helped that Day called a more aggressive game throwing the deep ball early, which opened up running lanes for the offense. The Buckeyes had six different ball carriers who ran 27 times for 123 yards. Starting back TreVeyon Henderson led the way with two rushing touchdowns.

If Ohio State plans on winning in South Bend in two weeks, this offensive line is going to need to take another step forward. The Buckeyes have had one of the better offenses in college football under Day’s leadership, but this season it feels like they have taken a major step backward.

Whenever you replace three NFL talents on the line and a starting quarterback who was the second pick in the draft, it’s going to look and feel different. But there are still plenty of weapons on offense, starting with Harrison Jr. and Egbuka. If McCord has enough time to get them the football, then there isn’t a team in college football that the Buckeyes can’t hang with.

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