COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said he wanted to come out and get a fast start against Toledo. Starting out with the decision to receive the ball after winning the coin toss, there’s no question that quarterback C.J. Stroud and his offensive weapons followed orders and found a rhythm early on.
Ohio State’s offense was firing on all cylinders, racking up 763 yards of total offense, just short of the program record of 776 yards set against Bowling Green in 2016. The Buckeyes scored a whopping 11 touchdowns, good for 77 points and the 77-21 win.
“The combination of the run game and pass game early on allowed us to get some momentum,” Day said following the win.
Ohio State’s offense was so explosive that it didn’t have to punt until its eighth possession — in the third quarter of the game.
Stroud relied on his long list of offensive weapons including veteran receiver Julian Fleming, Emeka Egbuka, and Marvin Harrison Jr., to accumulate 441 yards of offense and 42 points in the first half of the game alone.
Harrison Jr. showed his freakish abilities as Stroud thread the needle to target Harrison Jr. consistently Saturday night. Harrison Jr. had 100-plus receiving yards, and 2 touchdowns for the second straight week in a row. He had 102 yards on six catches, with two toe-tapping touchdowns.
Egbuka also had a two-touchdown night, leading all receivers with 116 yards on seven receptions. Becoming a reliable target for Stroud, Egbuka also had his second week in a row with over 100 receiving yards.
Fleming, in his return to the field, scored two touchdowns for the Buckeyes on just three targets.
Stroud also used the ground to get things done with freshman Dallan Hayden leading the Buckeyes with 108 yards and his first career touchdown on 17 carries, good for an average of 6.4 yards per carry. He helped contribute to Ohio State’s first 100-yard rushing game of the season.
After halftime, everyone on the offense got their time to shine and contribute. There were enough touches and touchdowns for a lot of young offensive players to each get one of their own. Freshman walk-on running back TC Caffey recorded a touchdown along with starting running back TreVeyon Henderson and receiver Jayden Ballard.
While Fleming and standout receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba returned to this game after both missing the first two games of the season, having to find offense without them forced Ohio State to be a bit more creative in practices and in prior games, especially in the red zone.
“Not having Jaxon [Smith-Njigba] play really the second half of the first game and game two, and not having Julian [Fleming] available has allowed us to build some depth but also look at a couple of different packages,” Day said.
The Buckeyes had two touchdowns out of the I formation, their offense featured a couple of quarterback runs, and there was a fullback touchdown by Mitch Rossi. Day had everything working offensively, and the Buckeyes looked like they had fun doing it.
Ohio State scored more touchdowns than Toledo had allowed in its first two games of the season combined. But while it may have looked like this was everything in an offense and more, the challenge for Ohio State is to continue to bring it moving forward, as it enters Big Ten play.
“As good as the offense might look, the offense isn’t good until the end of the year and you can see how tough and how consistent it is,” offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said after the win.
That challenge continues as the Buckeyes face Wisconsin next Saturday, its first conference opponent.
Photo via Ohio State Buckeyes.