Ohio State Football: Unit Grades and Expectations

The Ohio State football team has played two games this season. Let’s take a look at the grades the offense and defense have earned so far.


The first two weeks for the offense has been an interesting ride. Against Notre Dame they came out looking very sluggish in the first half as Ohio State was out of sync due to an injury to Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Miyan Williams ended up carrying the bulk of the load running the ball with a steady dose of TreVeyon Henderson sprinkled in throughout the night. Stroud ended up having a better night than the stat sheet would indicate, but nonetheless it was not the offense you would expect to see, even with Smith-Njigba missing a chunk of the game.

Last week, the offense started off hot against Arkansas State as Marvin Harrison Jr had a monster day. But there was still something left to be desired as they hit a lull for a good part of the second half before tacking on two scores late. Arkansas State is a solid football team with plenty of talented transfers, but they are still not comparable to Ohio State, which has an offense overflowing with draft picks.

This week will hopefully be the first time Ohio State fields a fully healthy offense with JSN and Julian Fleming returning from injuries. Expect these two to be eased into the game, but still see plenty of action. The hope for Saturday is to see the offense move the ball at will against Toledo, which Vegas believes they will as the Buckeyes are favored 32. From here on out, the expectation should be to see more explosive plays and more pressure being put on defenses on a regular basis heading into conference play.

Offensive Grade: B+


Against Notre Dame the Silver Bullets put together arguably their best performance in nearly two years. Now it’s clear that the Irish may not be the team we thought they were, but the Buckeye defense absolutely suffocated them for the better part of three quarters and that was refreshing to say the least.

Game two was not quite as clean, namely on the pass defense side of things. Denzel Burke had a rough game and his struggles have been chronicled throughout the week. However, Jim Knowles insists that he has the upmost confidence in Burke despite his performance. The cornerback position is full of question marks when it comes to depth past Burke, so his regression would be a concern moving forward.

However, the Ohio State defense is top 25 in both scoring and rush defense after two games. After the past two seasons, that is a massive improvement and the eye test says the same. Mike Hall continues to write his own script in his breakout season thus far and the Silver Bullets under Knowles seem like the brand is restored. I would look for this unit to continue making strides and possibly become the difference-maker during a championship run for the Buckeyes.

Defensive Grade: A-

Ohio State takes on Toledo in its third contest of the season in another prime time battle.

Image Credit: The Ohio State University Department of Athletics