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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Sport
Michael Chen

The day after: Lasting thoughts on Ohio State football’s win over Purdue

It wasn’t the biggest win in Ohio State football history, but it’s win on the road against Purdue did carry some significance.

It somewhat exorcized some West Lafayette demons, kept the Buckeyes undefeated and was a great tune up ahead of their tilt at home against Penn State. Both major pregame shows will be in attendance, so you know it’s a big game.

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We wait six days every week for Buckeye football to return on Saturday during the season, so there is always plenty of time to think about what transpired the previous game. Here are my day after thoughts following Ohio State football’s impressive road 41-7 win against Purdue.

Team’s health

Thoughts

Before we get to celebrating the win, let’s acknowledge that it is officially Penn State week. Head coach Ryan Day made the right move by holding out multiple contributors against the Boilers, but potentially lost a few more during the game as well. Running back Chip Trayanum and cornerback Denzel Burke were injured, two integral pieces of this team. We won’t know until later in the week how hurt these players are. It’s not ideal to be down so many players against PSU.

Offensive play calling

Thoughts

In my eyes, this was the best offensive game plan executed all season. The motion used wasn’t just window dressing, moving around Marvin Harrison Jr., Xavier Johnson and others to get them the ball was great. The utilization of Devin Brown as a goal line and short-yardage change of pace quarterback is something that I’ve mentioned since the spring. It seems like Day and offensive coordinator Brian Hartline are starting to mesh with their play calling.

Running back Dallan Hayden

Thoughts

There is conundrum with what is happening with Hayden. He looks like one of the best backs on the team, but this room is loaded with talent. It might be time to admit that the team needs him to win and can’t use a redshirt this season. If that is the case, they might not ever redshirt Hayden, he’s forcing the coaches hand for more playing time, which is a great development.

Kyle McCord’s growth

Thoughts

While many still have issues with Kyle McCord’s throwing, I certainly don’t. He was great once again, three touchdowns to no interceptions. Yeah, I’m a bit worried about his fumbling issues, but he has to get hit, make the mistake, and learn to sense those going forward. McCord didn’t seem bothered by Brown playing when the game wasn’t out of hand, a sign of a good teammate. He’s starting to move in the pocket better, which will result in less sacks. McCord is heading on the right path.

Wide receiver Julian Fleming

Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Thoughts

It’s officially time to call the former 5-star recruit a bust. The senior will never live up to his billing, and didn’t have much of an impact with more opportunities without Egbuka on the field. One catch for 9 yards, a few drops mixed in was his day. Fleming still can be an effective player, but wasn’t on Saturday.

Hello freshman wide receivers

Thoughts

It was great to see the impressive two young receivers in Carnell Tate and Brandon Inniss step up. The duo accounted for 4 receptions for 137 yards, highlighted by Inniss’ 58-yard touchdown. It’s safe to say that the pipeline of wide receivers will be continuing for years to come.

Pass rush

Why

This is what we expected coming into the season against Purdue. Constant pressure, resulting in sacks and tackles-for-losses. It was just one stand out performance too, J.T. Tuimoloau, Jack Sawyer, Tyleik Williams and Michael Hall Jr. all played at a high level. It was great to see, the unit getting confidence before next week.

Rush defense

Thoughts

This aspect of the defense wasn’t nearly as good as the pass rush. Devin Mockobee is a solid back, but not one that should run for over 100 yards against the Buckeyes. Overall they did a good job, but they should have been able to shut this rush offense down completely. The linebacker play was spotty at best, which is becoming a bit of a theme this season. A solid effort but we were left wanting more.

Punt return

Mandatory Credit: Joseph Scheller-The Columbus Dispatch

Thoughts

It has not been a strength for the Buckeyes in numerous years and this year looks to be no different. Egbuka has been average at best and if he’s the best option back there, it showed. Jayden Ballard filled in and did not do a good job. With so many electric receivers on the roster, you’d expect at least one of them to be able to make big plays here, but there isn’t. Maybe it’s the return schemes, but either way, this aspect of the team has to be better.

Ryan Day’s intensity

Thoughts

Following last year’s College Football Playoff loss to Georgia, it seemed like Day wanted to ditch the idea that he was too nice. Well, it’s safe to say that the mission is close to being accomplished. the intensity we saw in the CFP game carried over to this year, singling out Lou Holtz, and keeping the fire this week. I love this and hope it continues for the remainder of Day’s tenure with the Buckeyes.

Contact/Follow @BuckeyesWire on X (formerly Twitter), and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Ohio State news, notes, and opinion. Follow Michael Chen on X.

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