Thursday night’s season opener against Minnesota was far from smooth sailing for Ohio State, but the hard-fought provided plenty of growth opportunities for the Buckeyes.

In all honesty, the nature of the game should not have been surprising. Ryan Day’s squad is breaking in a number of young players at key positions, including redshirt freshman C.J. Stroud at quarterback.

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Through 2 quarters, Stroud looked like one would expect from a player making his first career start on the road in a conference game. Combine those facts with a Minnesota team playing with a chip on its shoulder after 2020 and it was a perfect storm early.

Fortunately, Stroud settled in and went on to throw for 294 yards and 4 touchdowns. After the game, Stroud admitted to his struggles before halftime but felt like he settled in over the final 2 quarters.

He also went on to say that such an early test was a good “learning experience” heading into a Week 2 visit from Oregon. That is expected to be a much tougher task for the Buckeyes.

Stroud also took time to highlight the receiving duo of Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, his two favorite targets from Thursday’s opener. Olave and Wilson combined for 9 receptions for 197 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Now, the Buckeyes turn their attention to Oregon next Saturday. That contest is set to kick off at 12 pm EST on FOX.