Ohio State football: 6 Buckeyes we'd like to see more of against Toledo
Ohio State’s opening win over Notre Dame was intense and electrifying. But they can’t all be that way — witness last week’s win over Arkansas State and Saturday’s matchup with Toledo, which Ohio State enters as a 32-point favorite.
Players can’t look ahead on the schedule, but writers and fans certainly can. With that in mind, here are 6 Buckeyes we’d like to see a little more of in the Toledo game.
Kyle McCord, QB
Nobody is advocating for pulling CJ Stroud, but given the nature of football, it would be far from the worst thing if the Buckeyes gained control early enough to allow McCord to get more snaps. Last week, he was 3-for-4 for 19 yards. A year ago, McCord played the entire game against Akron in an apparent move to rest Stroud. Nobody’s saying he has to play 60 minutes, but getting McCord a quarter and a half of competitive football and maybe allowing him to throw more than a handful of passes would be good for the health of OSU’s season.
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Dallan Hayden, RB
Much as above, the Buckeyes are in good hands with TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams. But that’s also twice as many OSU backs to face potential injury. With Evan Pryor gone for the season, Hayden could well end up playing meaningful snaps down the stretch of Big Ten play. He had 4 carries for 13 yards against Arkansas State, but OSU would do well to get him 8-10 rushes and give him a chance to flash big-play ability on Saturday.
Jayden Ballard, WR
With Jaxon Smith-Njigba out, the Ohio State passing game has leaned heavily on Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka. Nothing wrong with that, but with Smith-Njigba and Julian Fleming again likely either out or limited on Saturday, another shot at receiver depth is present. Ballard caught 2 passes for 14 yards against Notre Dame. The 6-2 Ballard could be a big asset for OSU on the outside, and there’s no time like the present to see him get more snaps.
Tyleik Williams, DT
A season ago, Tyleik Williams was one of the top performers on the OSU defense in terms of disruptive plays. His 5 sacks and 2 pass break-ups attest that while Williams wasn’t a four-downs type of player, he made a significant impact as a bench performer. A year later, Williams has 3 tackles and no tackles for loss so far this season. Yes, Mike Hall has stolen some of the thunder, but Williams could be an important component part for the Buckeyes.
Jack Sawyer, DE
After 2 games, Sawyer has just 2 tackles to his credit. A year ago, he seemed on the verge of breaking through, managing 3 sacks and 13 tackles as a true freshman. While Ohio State’s defense has been good, a better pass rush certainly wouldn’t hurt, and Sawyer is a player who could certainly make a statement in that area.
Denzel Burke, CB
Most of the players on this list are young guys or depth guys looking to enhance the guys above them. On the other hand, Burke had a bit of a struggle against Arkansas State, drawing a couple of pass interference flags and ultimately getting benched for JK Johnson. A year ago, Burke broke up a dozen passes are earned all-Big Ten selection. He’s got to get more consistent or he might be on the bench more than occasionally.