Ohio State grade card: Offense and defense get good grades

A grade card on Ohio State’s 52-21 win over Wisconsin:

OFFENSE: A

Ohio State had scored four touchdowns by a minute and a half into the second quarter to take a 28-0 lead and the game was over. Quarterback C.J. Stroud led the fast start by hitting his first eight passes. Stroud cooled off a bit later but if completing 17 of 27 passes for 281 yards and five touchdowns is considered a so-so game, the standards are set high. Julian Fleming made back-to-back catches in the second half which showed why he was a 5-star recruit. TreVeyon Henderson (121 yards), Miyan Williams (101 yards) and the offensive line led a run game that picked up 258 yards.

OSU’s offensive game plan seemed to neutralize Wisconsin’s best defensive players, linebacker Nick Herbig and defensive lineman Keeanu Benton, who combined for 0 sacks and 0 tackles for losses.

DEFENSE: A

OSU’s defense made Wisconsin’s offense one dimensional and even that dimension didn’t do much for most of the game.

Wisconsin got only 94 yards passing from starting quarterback Graham Mertz. His first pass was picked off by OSU’s Tanner McCalister and things didn’t get much better for him after that.

Running back Braelon Allen gained 165 yards, but 75 of those yards came on a touchdown run with seven minutes left in the game and most of OSU’s starters out of the game. As a team Wisconsin netted 192 yards, but 107 yards of those yards were gained in the fourth quarter.

Redshirt freshman J.K. Johnson and freshman Jyaire Brown started at cornerback and did well when starters Denzel Burke and Cam Brown were listed as unavailable.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C+

The kicking parts of special teams were good, but there were issues elsewhere. Noah Ruggles hit his only field goal attempt. Neither of Jesse Mirco’s punts was returned. But Chip Trayanum fumbled the opening kickoff and Ohio State had to start from the 10-yard line. Sonny Styles got a personal foul on a punt return and Wisconsin had a kickoff return of 38 yards.

OVERALL: A

Ohio State was impressive on offense for a second week in a row and improved defensively.

Jim Naveau has covered local and high school sports for The Lima News since 1978 and Ohio State football since 1992. His OSU coverage appears in more than 30 newspapers. Naveau, a Miami University graduate, also worked at the Greenville Advocate and the Piqua Daily Call. He has seen every boys state basketball tournament since 1977. Reach him at [email protected] or 567-242-0414.