COLUMBUS — The 2023 Ohio State Buckeyes (1-0) hosted the Youngstown State Penguins (1-0) in their home-opener on Saturday, Sept. 9.
The Buckeyes were coming off of a 23-3 victory over Indiana, while the Penguins enjoyed a 52-10 victory over Valparaiso in week one.
After a relatively quiet game against Indiana, Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. exploded for 160 yards receiving and two touchdowns on seven receptions as the Buckeyes rolled the Penguins, 35-7.
After OSU quarterback Kyle McCord hit a wide open Harrison Jr. for a 71-yard touchdown strike to start the scoring affair, YSU responded with a methodical drive that ended with Penguin quarterback Mitch Davidson running into the end zone from one yard out.
The Buckeyes would score the remaining four touchdowns in the contest including a 39-yard touchdown reception by Harrison Jr., a 13-yard touchdown rush by TreVeyon Henderson, a 28-yard touchdown reception from Emeka Egbuka, and a 30-yard touchdown rush from Henderson.
Statistically for the Buckeyes, McCord was 14-for-20 with 258 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. Backup quarterback Devin Brown was 7-of-13 for 1-1 yards.
On the ground, Henderson led the way with 56 yards and two touchdowns on just 5 carries.
As mentioned previously, Harrison Jr. led the Buckeyes in receiving, followed by Egbuka with five receptions for 94 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, linebacker Tommy Eichenberg led with six tackles including a sack and one tackle for loss. He also forced a fumble in the contest.
Defensive lineman Mike Hall Jr. also had a sack for the Buckeyes.
OSU head coach Ryan Day spoke with the media following the victory. He talked about the quarterback play.
“I thought Kyle had poise coming into his second game and that Devin came out a little anxious. But then I think for him (Brown), once he gets hit and gets a little tired, he calms down a little bit. Kyle came out pretty efficiently overall, and I thought that we made some plays.”
“It’s hard to compare to other quarterbacks, but the more you play, the better you see it. I remember C.J.’s first game against Minnesota. C.J. struggled in that first half and calmed down in the second half, then he did much better in the Oregon game. There was enough in that game to say, ‘We might have something here’, even though we lost the game. Sometimes over time, you just find the flow of the game, and we talk to our guys about that. If you’re too slow, not good. If you’re too fast, not good. That’s part of playing this game.”
He spoke about the team’s progression thus far.
“We have urgency, and we want it now. You’re not going to wait around and say, ‘We’ll get it next week’; we have to get it fixed now. There were some good things we did for sure, but to use your term about linear improvement, it’s about consistency. I know we have the talent; our guys are very talented. All we’ve asked them to do was play really hard and execute. Effort and execution are things we focused on all week.”
Youngstown State head coach Doug Phillips shared some comments following the loss.
“We put a plan to win, try to execute, and then there’s some mistakes there in the first half, whether it was on the third and 25 and, just that we allowed drives to continue. Offensively, we moved the ball and then stalled. I thought we were a lot better this week than we were a week ago. And now we got to take that next step.”
“I told our kids, surrender the outcome. Don’t even look at the scoreboard, focus on the next play. If we do what we need to do when we walk off the field, it will be in our favor. It’s a loss. We have to learn from it and we got to get better.”
Ohio State (2-0) is back at home next Saturday, Sept. 16 at 4 p.m. to take on the visiting Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (1-0).
Youngstown State (1-1) plays Robert Morris at home next Saturday at 2 p.m.