Ohio State vs. Notre Dame score, takeaways: No. 2 Buckeyes battle back to overcome No. 5 Fighting Irish

No. 2 Ohio State overcame a lackluster performance and an injury to one of its star players while fighting back and finally beating No. 5 Notre Dame 21-10 in an exciting season opener.The Buckeyes trailed at halftime and the third quarter before Ohio State’s offense had its best drive of the night late in the game, with star quarterback CJ Stroud completing 24 of 34 passes Passing for 223 yards and two touchdowns

That 10-game 70-yard drive ended with Stroud’s 24-yard touchdown pass to Xavier Johnson that seemed to wake up the Buckeyes and 100,000 spectators at Ohio Stadium. However, it was the last moment they had to cheer, as Ohio State followed with a better kickoff, advancing for 95 yards in 14 games and putting the game out of reach.

After losing star receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba to a leg injury in the first quarter, the Buckeyes struggled to find an offensive rhythm, but Emeka Egbuka and running backs TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams stepped up to fill the void.

The Irish Fighting offense got off to a solid start, advancing for 54 yards in the first game of the night, but only 199 in the following games. Tyler Buchner (177 passing, 18 rushing) hit some balls, but Notre Dame was never consistent against Ohio State’s defense.

Tommy Eickenberg finished with two sacks for Ohio State, while Mike Hall had another sack and two tackles. With their second-half comeback, the Buckeyes were able to avoid becoming the first top-two team to lose their season opener since No. 1 Miami fell to BYU at the start of the 1990 season.

Let’s take a look at the key takeaways from Ohio State’s Week 1 win over Notre Dame.

Ohio State’s defense wins the game

There are questions about Ohio State’s performance in Jim Knowles’ first game as defensive coordinator. Early returns are very promising. While the Buckeyes ended up winning with some ease, that was only because their defense was lackluster offense time and time again. While Notre Dame occasionally hit big runs in the air, the Buckeyes didn’t allow the Irish to string together important drives. It looks nothing like the one last season that often had teams moving the ball up the field in key positions.

The most notable difference is pressure. Knowles made various disguises on the inexperienced Buchner. All of this — blitzes, stunts and pass rushers like Zach Harrison into coverage — is designed to keep Buchner guessing and unsure where to take the ball. In most cases it worked. The Buckeyes finished with six failed tackles and three sacks as they held Notre Dame to 5.3 yards per game. More importantly, it allowed the Irish to convert only 3-pointers on 13 3-point attempts, while forcing them into a 3-point and long-ball situation all night. That kept the Irish from sustaining the drive and bought the Buckeyes’ offense more time to work things out.

Ohio State’s wide receiver depth is an issue

Who would have thought we would say that? ! Ohio State’s receiver team should be the best in the country, but Smith-Njiba suffered an undisclosed leg injury in the team’s first series and saw only a few games the rest of the night. Julian Fleming has been bumped. That means the Buckeyes have to play with a lot of inexperienced catchers, it shows. There was a miscommunication about where they should be on the route, and it didn’t match Stroud’s time.

Still, things improved in the second half, with Egbka the most reliable target. Egbuka had nine catches for 90 yards and a touchdown. Marvin Harrison Jr. caught five passes for 56 yards and Johnson only had two, but his 24-yard touchdown proved the game-winning. In the end, six receivers (two catches, 3 yards) other than Smith-Njigba caught Stroud’s pass on the night.

Notre Dame must find a running game

At night, I think Notre Dame’s problem on offense is a lack of explosiveness in the passing game, which makes it difficult to keep up with Ohio State’s strong offense. While they weren’t consistent all night, Buchner and his receivers completed four passes for at least 20 yards, including one with Lorenzo Steyer in Game 1 of the game. 54 yards of the connection. The problem is that there is nothing the Irish can do on the ground. Ohio State’s defense pushed Notre Dame’s 30 carries for 76 yards. Adjusting for sacks, that number only improved to 95 yards on 27 carries (3.5 yards per touch).

A young quarterback is making his first away start in difficult circumstances, and ideally the Irish should get more from their ground game to take the burden off Buchner. Instead, Buchner has to take responsibility, and in the long run, it will evolve as you would expect it to.

Stroud can – and must – do better

Frankly, Stroud looked average in the first half and started to falter in the second half. He didn’t seem to find a rhythm until midway through the third quarter, and from there, Ohio State took control. Stroud’s final stats won’t get a lot of attention (not for the right reasons, anyway), but he’s throwing big shots when he has to and helping his team A crucial victory.

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