‘Good things’ win out for OSU

COLUMBUS – John Cooper would have called Arkansas State “a scrappy bunch.”

Urban Meyer would have said, “The best thing about being 2-0 is the chance to go 3-0.”

So, what did Ryan Day say after Ohio State’s 45-12 football win over Arkansas State on Saturday at Ohio Stadium that might have been a little closer game than expected?

He said there are some things that needed improvement but that he wasn’t going to let those corrections overshadow the good things he saw.

“There are certainly things to clean up. We’re nowhere near where we need to be. But there was improvement in other areas,” Day said after No. 3 Ohio State raised its record to 2-0.

“We’re playing with toughness. We’re playing with an edge. We’re taking care of the football. Those are all real positive things.

“There were certainly things in this game I would have liked to have seen done better. But there were also a lot of good things that you don’t want to take for granted. You don’t want to take a lot of hard work and good performances for granted,” Day said.

Quarterback C.J. Stroud sounded a lot like his coach when he followed him to the microphone in OSU’s post-game press conference.

“I don’t know if we’re where we’re supposed to be. We’re at where we’re at. We just have to build from that. I don’t think we’re where we’re not supposed to be. We’re where we’re supposed to be in certain aspects but we have to get better in other aspects.” Stroud said.

Ohio State rolled up 538 yards of total offense. Stroud was 16 of 24 passing for 351 yards and four touchdowns. Marvin Harrison Jr. caught three of those touchdown passes on plays of 42 yards, 42 yards and 30 yards.

And the Buckeyes’ defense kept Arkansas State out of the end zone. All of the Red Wolves’ points came on field goals.

But OSU was unrelentingly dominant in spurts more than from start to finish. At least that was the visual.

The Buckeyes scored two touchdowns and a field goal to go up 17-3 in the first minute of the second quarter. But they added only seven points to their side of the scoreboard in that quarter and led 24-9 at halftime.

They started the second half by scoring two touchdowns in the first 4 ½ minutes of the third quarter but got only one more score in the final 25 minutes of the game.

“I thought the way we came out in the second half was good. We came down and scored, got a three and out and scored again. I thought we could have gotten a little more going in the second half but didn’t quite finish it the way we would have liked to have seen,” Day said.

One of the big areas where Day wants to see improvement is in reducing the number of penalties from the nine for 85 yards his team had on Saturday. And there were at least two more that were declined by Arkansas State.

“We had nine penalties. That’s unacceptable. We’ve got to get that fixed,” he said.

TreVeyon Henderson (10 carries, 87 yards, 2 touchdowns) led Ohio State’s running game. Harrison had 7 catches for 184 yards and Emeka Egbuka caught 4 passes for 118 yards.

Arkansas State quarterback James Blackman was 20 of 34 for 188 yards. Wide receiver Champ Flemings caught 10 passes for 105 yards.

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.