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Scarlet & Gray Matter analysis

Observations on Saturday’s Ohio State-Toledo game by Joey Kaufman:

The game at hand

Short-attention span synopsis: Ohio State gave CJ Stroud even more targets. That included his favorite one. He threw more touchdowns. Another passing clinic ensued. The offense is humming on the eve of Big Ten play. Buckeyes withstood a few Dequan Finn highlights, or lowlights for their defense. But four touchdowns over three non-conference games is a big improvement for that side of the ball.

Pregame buzz: A good bar trivia question might be the last time Ohio State lost to an in-state opponent. The answer, well, is Oberlin College in 1921. A century later, Toledo was the latest team from Ohio looking to make history by pulling off a mammoth upset of the Buckeyes — or at least a 2011-esque scare.

Ohio State football:Five things we learned from Ohio State’s 77-21 win over Toledo

Rob Oller:Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud sensational in blowout win against Toledo

Ohio State football:Dallan Hayden exceeded expectations while filling in against Toledo

Spread the wealth? Like betting on the Buckeyes? It paid off at last. Those who laid the 31 points cashed in. Ohio State had been unable to cover the point spreads in its first two games this season. It didn’t make anyone sweat it out, either. When tight end Mitch Rossi dove into the end zone to cap his first drive of the second half, OSU went ahead by 35 points and continued to pour it on.

Strategically speaking: To play or not to play? That was the question for several of the Buckeyes’ defensive starters for the final non-conference game. The Buckeyes ultimately exercised caution. Safeties Tanner McCalister and Josh Proctor were held out. So was defensive tackle Mike Hall. The only sign Ohio State was looking ahead to next week was with its management of injuries.

The View

  • How the team sees it: Four quarters to feel good about.

  • How the pollsters will see it: It’s time for a measurement against Big Ten competition.

  • How Buckeye Nation will see it: Thankful not to face Dequan Finn again.

Hey, what did Ryan Day say?

  • What he said: “You look at the scoreboard, we’re proud of what we did.”

  • What it means: Seventy-seven points speak for themselves.

They said it

  • Pregame chat: “We’re growing. We’re not perfect. But tonight the message is to dominate. It’s time to start dominating.” Ryan Day, to fans at the pregame Skull Session.

  • Talking heads: “The only Knowles I know who was a bigger rock star last year was Beyonce.” FOX’s Spencer Tillman, on Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles.

Sep 17, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes defensive coordinator Jim Knowles enters Ohio Stadium prior to the NCAA Division I football game against the Toledo Rockets. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-The Columbus Dispatch

Ohio State football:Julian Fleming catches two touchdowns in season debut for OSU football against Toledo

Numbers for dummies

77: Points scored by the Buckeyes, the most since Ryan Day took over the program full-time in 2019.

763: The total yards from Ohio State, the second-most in a game in school history.

7: Consecutive possessions the Buckeyes’ offense scored a touchdown to start the game.

256.8: Stroud’s quarterback rating, the second-highest of his 15 starts at Ohio State.

108: Rushing yards by freshman Dallan Hayden, the first running back this season to surpass 100 yards.

5: Touchdown catches by Marvin Harrison Jr. this season, including two more caught against Toledo.

223: Total yards of offense by Toledo quarterback Dequan Finn, accounting for nearly three-fourths of the Rockets’ production.

31%: Conversion on third downs by Toledo’s offense.

2: Turnovers forced by the Buckeyes’ defense.

1: Penalties committed by Ohio State after being flagged a combined 16 times in the first two games.

56: Margin of victory for Ohio State, its largest since a 73-14 win over Maryland in 2019.

where cap

Wisconsin is back on Ohio State’s schedule after going off for two seasons. Next weekend’s matchup at Ohio Stadium marks the first meeting between the teams since a pair in 2019 that included the Big Ten championship game. Need a refresher on the Badgers? It’s still a run-heavy, ball-control offense with Braelon Allen serving as the latest feature back. Allen has rushed for 332 yards and five touchdowns in three games and looms as the biggest test to date for the Buckeyes’ rebuilt defense.

Tweethearts

Joey Kaufman covers Ohio State football for The Columbus Dispatch. Contact him at jkaufman@dispatch.com or on Twitter @joeyrkaufman

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This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Ohio State football analysis: How OSU beat the Toledo Rockets

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