Oregon vs Ohio State Instant Reaction: 10 Thoughts On The 35-28 Duck Win

By Pete Fiutak

Oregon vs Ohio State Instant Reaction. 10 thoughts on upset win by the Ducks to crank up the season for the Pac-12.


Oregon 35, Ohio State 28: Instant Reaction

10. The narrative will be all about the Ohio State run defense that got hammered by Minnesota last week and gave up 269 yards and over seven yards per carry against Oregon.

To be fair, Minnesota’s Mohamed Ibrahim might have been the Big Ten Player of the Year had he not suffered an Achilles heel injury, and Oregon’s CJ Verdell is a future – to go very, very generous – Alvin Kamara-like NFL starter. However …

9. Yeah, the Ohio State defense needs to be far, far better. The adjustments didn’t come quickly enough, there wasn’t any accounting for Verdell and the stretch-zone play on the outside, and now …

8. 118 points. 52 in the national title loss to Alabama last year, 31 to Minnesota, and 38 to Oregon. The 118 points are the most ever allowed by Ohio State over a three-game stretch in the history of the program, barely beating the 114 given up over a late run in 2018 and obliterating any other three games.

7. Ohio State is still very, very, very good. What gets lost in this is just how great Oregon is and was supposed to be coming into the game. The Ducks have talent, they have speed, and they have next-level guys from years of strong recruiting classes.

This shouldn’t come across as that massive a shock – Oregon has the guys. How good and how talented is this team? They won without two NFL starting defenders with Kayvon Thibodeaux and Justin Flowe out.

6. The Buckeyes got away from the running game. CJ Stroud had a strong performance with 484 yards and three touchdowns – forgetting about the rough late pick that all but sealed the game – but the coaching staff didn’t rely enough on the great offensive line.

Throwing it 54 times isn’t supposed to be how this is supposed to work with all the home-run hitting talent in the backfield. The OSU O line is outstanding, but the Buckeyes ran just 31 times for 128 yards.

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5. The old man got the job done. Anthony Brown started his career at Boston College as a solid freshman in 2017, threw for over 5,000 yards, had injury problems, and left for Oregon in 2020.

He wasn’t flashy and he missed more than half of his throws, but he didn’t throw any picks, kept things moving, tossed two touchdown passes and ran for 65 yards. No, he’s not the superstar talent that other top teams have, but he knows what he’s doing. It also helped that …

4. Where was the Ohio State pass rush? Oregon was able to come up with a few sacks without Thibodeaux, but Ohio State came up with a grand total of zero sacks and one tackle for loss. One. Brown had way too much time to work – although he was at least hurried a bit late in the game – and there wasn’t any getting to Verdell and the running game before it could get going.

3. This is hardly any sort of a deathblow to Ohio State’s College Football Playoff chances. Of course the defense has to be stronger, but it’ll still be a double-digit favorite the rest of the way. The toughest remaining road game is at … Michigan? Please.

Penn State and Michigan State aren’t easy outs, but there’s no Wisconsin and no Iowa from the West. The Buckeyes might not necessarily control their own CFP destiny, but you all know how this works – win your Power Five conference, go 12-1, and the committee will like you.

2. And now it’s all there for Oregon. Like Oklahoma in 2017 – when it came into Ohio State and won 31-16, which allowed for a buffer when it lost to Texas a few weeks later – on the way to the CFP, this was the game that bought the Ducks a whole lot of breaks.

They still have to win the Pac-12 title and go at least 12-1, but now they can afford a loss to a UCLA, Washington, or Utah on the road. There’s no USC or Arizona State from the South to face, so the spotlight is on and the expectations are ramped up.

If you can beat Ohio State in Columbus without your two best defensive players, you can get through this slate

1. Absolutely nothing against Ohio State, but this really is a good thing for college football. Between UCLA’s win over LSU and this, the Pac-12 has suddenly become relevant to a nation that tends to ignore the conference that plays way too many games when people are sleeping.

Oregon matters now. UCLA matters. USC matters. The Pac-12 matters, and again, that’s a good thing for a sport that needed a little bit of a disruption from the norm.

Ohio State and Clemson lost and we’re just two weeks in. This is going to be one wild year of college football.

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