COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Third-ranked Ohio State (3-0) had no problem beating one of the best teams in the Mid-American Conference, the Toledo Rockets (2-1), Saturday night at Ohio Stadium, putting on a clinic that saw the Buckeyes waltz away with a 77-21 victory.
This is the final non-conference game for the Buckeyes before Big Ten play starts, so they will look to head into league play with momentum.
The Buckeyes have never lost in three meetings against Toledo, and won 27-22 in the last contest between the two squads in 2011.
It appears that Ohio State will have the services of Jaxon Smith-Njigba against the Rockets, as he is back from a leg injury suffered early in the opening victory over Notre Dame.
Ohio State dented the scoreboard first, going up 7-0 on a seven-yard jaunt by TreVeyon Henderson with 11:11 remaining in the quarter. The touchdown was set up by a great throw up the sideline from Stroud to Cade Stover that covered 38 yards. The Buckeyes covered 82 yards in eight plays.
Toledo answered on a 50-yard scoring strike from Dequan Finn to Thomas Zsiros, covering 75 yards in four plays and less than a minute. One knock on Jim Knowles aggressive defense is that it can allow big plays, and that was an example. Cam Brown was in man coverage with no help deep and got beat on a post route.
Henderson has left the sideline and was headed to the locker room with an undisclosed injury. Miyan Williams takes over backfield duties. The Buckeyes answered Toledo’s score with one of its own, an eight-yard strike from Stroud to Marvin Harrison Jr in the left corner of the end zone. Harrison Jr used his outstanding wingspan and superlative toe tapping skills to make the catch despite solid coverage by Toledo’s cornerback. Ohio State covered 75 yards in six plays and leads 14-7 with 7:52 left in the quarter.
Stroud has been magnificent, going 8-of-8 for 132 yards and a touchdown.
OSU was much better on its second defensive series, forcing a three-and-out and a Toledo punt.
Stroud set the Buckeyes up in great position with a 42-yard dart to the sideline to Harrison Jr, who eluded a safety and got to the three yard line, bringing up first and goal.
OSU pushed its lead to 21-7 in just over a minute on a jet sweep to Emeka Egbuka from the three, capping a three-play, 59-yard drive. Stroud had his first misfire of the night after nine straight completions when he overthrew a wide open Stover in the right corner of the end zone.
Toledo had the ball third-and-one but OSU LB Tommy Eichenberg stoned Rockets runner Peny Boone for no gain, forcing another punt.
Ohio State closed the quarter with a fourth touchdown in four red zone trips, Stroud rolling out and fitting it into an ultra-small window to Julian Fleming from five yards out. It was Fleming’s first catch of the season.
Ohio State rolled up 287 yards in the quarter and averaged nearly 11 yards per play.
Toledo converted a crucial fourth-and-five to DeMeer Blankumsee, moving the ball to OSU’s 27 yard line on its first series of the quarter. Finn did a great job evading inside pressure and rambled 23 yards for a touchdown, cutting the deficit to 28-14 with 10:41 left until halftime. It was Finn’s fourth rushing touchdown of the season. Toledo covered 75 yards in 11 plays, eating up nearly four and a half minutes.
The Buckeyes kept up the offensive fireworks as Stroud hit Smith-Njigba and Egbuka on consecutive strikes to move the ball into Toledo 35 yard line. OSU has seven plays of 20+ yards to this point in the contest.
Ohio State capped its fifth scoring drive in as many possessions when Stroud threw a seed to Harrison Jr near the back line of the end zone, and the sophomore wideout got his feet down and completed the catch for his second TD of the night. OSU went 75 yards in seven plays to widen its lead to 35-14 midway through the quarter. Williams picked up 25 tough yards on the drive and has 77 yards on 10 totes.
Stroud launched a rocket to Julian Fleming, who got open out of a bunch formation, for a touchdown just before halftime, increasing the lead to 28 points. OSU went 89 yards in 9 plays, with Stroud going five for five on the drive.
TOLEDO PASSING: Finn 7-12, 96 yards, 1 TD
OHIO STATE PASSING: Stroud 18-20, 297 yards, 4 TD
TOLEDO RUSHING: Finn 6-72, TD
OHIO STATE RUSHING: M Williams 10-77; Henderson 4-19, TD
TOLEDO RECEIVING: Zsiros 1-50, TD; Blankumsee 2-19; Maddox 2-15
OHIO STATE RECEIVING: Harrison Jr 6-102, 2 TDs; Stover 3-83; Egbuka 3-46; Fleming 3-23, 2 TDs
TOTAL OFFENSE: TOLEDO 27 plays, 174 yards, 6.4 Yards Per Play; OHIO STATE 42 plays, 441 yards, 10.5 Yards Per Play
Ohio State has its first turnover of the season as Ronnie Hickman intercepts Finn on a middle throw into double coverage. Ohio State is set up at the Toledo 48 yard line.
Dallan Hayden galloped 45 yards on OSU’s first play, cutting back inside on a toss right, putting the ball at the Rockets three. Fullback Mitch Rossi took it in from the one on a basic dive play, putting the Buckeyes ahead 49-14 less than two minutes into the quarter. OSU went 48 yards in four plays, notching its seventh touchdown in seven possessions.
Finn did his best Johnny Football impersonation, spinning away from pressure and throwing deep to Jerjuan Newton, who caught it at the three and spun into the end zone for a score. Toledo went 75 yards in six plays, and continues to fight despite being out of the contest.
Toledo’s touchdowns have come from 50, 23 and 40 yards.
Ohio State’s Jesse Mirco punted for the first time in the game, deftly placing the ball at the Toledo two yard line after 37 yards in the air. OSU forced a three and out and got the ball at the Toledo 39.
Stroud opened the drive with a 29-yard strike to Egbuka, who went over 100 yards for the game, and two plays later found Egbuka open in the end zone for a seven yard scoring strike. The sophomore has seven grabs for 116 yards and a touchdown, as well as a rushing score. Stroud’s night is over, and what a superlative night it was — 22-of-27 for 367 yards and five touchdowns.
Hayden eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark, the first Buckeye to do so this season, and added his first career touchdown on a one-yard plunge right over center. OSU covered 68 yards in 11 plays, with Hayden getting six carries on the drive. Hayden has 108 yards on 17 carries.
Jayden Ballard scored his first career touchdown on a nifty catch and run for 72 yards, off a pretty pass from Kyle McCord. The Buckeyes went 74 yards in two plays and 43 seconds. The 70 points scored by OSU is the most since putting up the same total against Maryland in 2019.
Ohio State gained its second turnover of the evening when Javonte Jean-Baptiste stripped Toledo quarterback Tucker Gleason, with the fumble recovered by Palaie Gaoteote. The Buckeyes have the ball at the Toledo 45 yard line with 8:43 left to play.
Highly touted quarterback Devin Brown is now in for Ohio State, which appears content to run out the clock — but walk-on running back TC Caffey had other ideas, scoring on a 49 yard run that included a pair of broken tackles.
The Buckeyes have 762 total yards, the second highest figure in school history.
Ohio State converted 11-of-13 third downs and punted just one time.
TOLEDO PASSING: Finn 10-19, 153 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
OHIO STATE PASSING: Stroud 22-27, 367, 5 TD
TOLEDO RUSHING: Finn 7-70, TD; Boone 8-41
OHIO STATE RUSHING: Hayden 17-108, TD; Williams 10-77
TOLEDO RECEIVING: Zsiros 1-50, TD; Newton 2-42, TD
OHIO STATE RECEIVING: Egbuka 7-116, TD; Ballard 4-113, TD; Harrison Jr 6-102, 2 TD; Fleming 3-23, 2 TD
TOTAL YARDS: TOLEDO 307 yards, 5.4 Yards Per Play; OHIO STATE 763 yards, 9.78 Yards Per Play