Rapid Reaction: TreVeyon Henderson leaves game, Jaxon Smith Njigba returns in Ohio State rout of Toledo
For Ohio State, a non-conference game against Toledo wasn’t an exercise in questioning the outcome. Rather, it was a matter of margin and of personnel. The Buckeyes’ fiery offense provided the margin, reaching the end zone on all 6 first-half possessions en route to an 77-21 victory.
But the personnel news was significant, as the Buckeyes welcomed back Jaxon Smith-Njibga but promptly lost TreVeyon Henderson to an undisclosed injury.
The Buckeyes put up more than 750 yards and 36 first downs, as the Rockets had no answers.
Ohio State’s 6-possession, 6-TD first half was highlighted by the play of Heisman candidate CJ Stroud, who finished 22-for-27 for 367 yards and 5 touchdowns. Developing star wideout Marvin Harrison Jr. continued to shine, topping 100 receiving yards by halftime. Smith-Njigba, sidelined since the first half of the opener against Notre Dame, made his return, making 2 catches for 33 yards in the first half. WIdeout Julian Fleming also saw his first action of the season after early injuries, managing a pair of touchdown receptions.
But along with the return of a couple of Buckeyes came the exit of another, via the injury to Henderson, who had 4 rushes for 19 yards and a touchdown but appeared to suffer some manner of leg injury on the score. He departed for the locker room, from which he emerged just before halftime, but he did not play further. Henderson’s slack was picked up by Miyan Williams and freshman Dallan Hayden, with Hayden surpassing 100 rushing yards.
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Ohio State opened the game with an 82-yard drive following the opening kickoff. It finished on the 7-yard Henderson touchdown scamper which saw the standout sophomore leave the game due to the injury. The key play on the drive was a 38-yard connection from Stroud to tight end Cade Stover on the play before Henderson’s run.
Toledo answered with a 4-play, 75-yard drive, keyed by a pair of runs from QB Dequan Finn and a 50-yard strike from Finn to Thomas Zsiros. The extra point tied the game at 7 with 10:25 left in the opening quarter.
It took OSU 6 plays to retake the lead, with Stroud connecting with Harrison on an 8-yard strike with 7:52 left in the quarter. Earlier on the drive, Stroud and Stover connected for a 34-yard gain. After a Toledo 3-and-out, OSU stretched the lead to 21-7 with a 5-play drive that ended in a 3-yard Emeka Egbuka touchdown run. A 42-yard Stroud to Harrison pass set the stage for the score.
State wasn’t done, finishing the quarter on a 71-yard drive that ended with a Stroud to Julian Fleming 5-yard TD pass. State’s edge was 28-7 with 10 seconds still left in the opening quarter.
Toledo followed with its own scoring drive, reaching the end zone on a 23-yard run from Finn that pulled the Rockets within 28-14 with 10:41 left in the half.
But Ohio State finished the half strong, scoring on a 7-yard Stroud to Harrison dart and then later on an 11-yard hook-up from Stroud to Fleming.
After intermission, the Buckeyes turned a Ronnie Hickman interception into points with Mitch Rossi scoring from a yard out after 3rd string running back Hayden popped a 45-yard gain. It was 49-14 Buckeyes then.
Toledo followed with a 40-yard connection from Finn to Jerjuan Newton to pull within 49-21 with 10:23 left in the third quarter. Stroud found Emeka Egbuka for a 7-yard score later in the quarter to make it 56-21 Ohio State with 5:06 left in the third quarter. Stroud earned the rest of the game off.
Early in the fourth quarter, Hayden scored from a yard out to extend the OSU edge to 63-21.
No. 3 Ohio State moved to 3-0 and will open Big Ten play with a home matchup with Wisconsin next week. Toledo fell to 2-1 and will travel to San Diego State next weekend.