The Buckeyes are now six games into their 12-game regular season schedule with an open week up next, which means that now is a good time to take a look at where things stand numbers-wise for the Ohio State offense.
This is a high-powered group that puts up numbers in a variety of ways, so there are some interesting statistics of note going on. The Buckeyes are running and throwing at an impressive rate and the individuals doing it are posting numbers that aren’t exactly normal.
And what exactly are they doing? Let’s take a look at some numbers of note to get an idea.
CJ Stroud Is Very Much Alive
Despite dealing with a shoulder issue early in the season, CJ Stroud is now No. 3 nationally in passing efficiency (191.15), and his October has been the best in the Power 5. In two games this month, Stroud is completing 73.2% of his passes and throwing for 368 yards per game. He has thrown 10 touchdowns and zero interceptions.
For an October comparison, in Justin Fields’ first two October games in 2019, he completed 72.9% of his passes for 400 yards total with six touchdowns and one interception. In 2018, Dwayne Haskins completed 75.0% of his passes in his first two October games for 867 yards with nine touchdowns and two interceptions.
Yeah, it’s a small sample size, so let’s get back to the bigger sample size of Stroud’s five starts this season.
Stroud is also second nationally in yards per attempt (10.8) and fifth in touchdown passes (18), despite missing a game.
In the Big Ten, Stroud’s 18 touchdown passes are four more than any other quarterback, his pass efficiency rating is 18 points higher than any other quarterback, and his 339.8 yards passing per game are 44 yards more than any other quarterback.
In conference play only, those numbers get even more skewed. Stroud has thrown 14 touchdown passes. The second-place quarterback has thrown five. His .692 completion percentage is tops in the B1G, as are his 13.2 yards per attempt and 343.3 yards passing per game.
TreVeyon Henderson An Impressive First Impression
TreVeyon Henderson has exceeded expectations for the Buckeyes, and it’s not like those expectations weren’t significant. He has taken over the starting job and clearly has no intention on giving it up. He currently leads the team with 605 yards rushing, averaging 101 yards rushing per game despite carrying the ball just a little over 11 times per game.
Among players averaging at least 10 carries per game, Henderson’s 8.77 yards per carry is the best in the nation. He is also fourth in the nation in rushing touchdowns (9) and third in total touchdowns scored (11).
JK Dobbins set the Ohio State freshman rushing record with 1,403 yards in 2017. Should Ohio State win the Big Ten East and play at least 14 games this year, Henderson is on pace to break Dobbins’ record. Of course, Henderson may not need as many games, should the Buckeyes start finding themselves in closer games and allowing Henderson to actually play four entire quarters.
Henderson still leads the nation in rushes of 30 yards or more (6), despite not having any such carries against Maryland. He is tied with two other players — Missouri’s Tyler Badie and ECU’s Keaton Mitchell — in that category.
Ohio State has only had five 1,000 yard receivers in school history. Here is the full list.
1,435 – David Boston (1998)
1,411 – Terry Glenn (1995)
1,127 – Cris Carter (1986)
1,076 – Michael Jenkins (2002)
1,063 – Parris Campbell (2018)
The Buckeyes are currently on pace to have three this year alone. Granted, that would require Jaxon Smith-Njigba’s current 75.3 yard-per-game average to jump up to 76.9 yards yards per game (over a 13-game schedule).
Garrett Wilson is leading the team with 31 receptions and 546 yards, and has tied his career-high in touchdown catches with six. Olave is second on the team with 30 catches for 494 yards with a team-high seven touchdown receptions. Smith-Njigba has 23 catches for 452 yards and three touchdowns.
If you would like to prorate that over a, say, 15-game schedule, those numbers would end up looking like this.
Garrett Wilson: 77 receptions for 1,365 yards with 15 touchdowns.
Chris Olave: 75 receptions for 1,235 yards with 17 touchdowns.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba: 57 receptions for 1,130 yards with seven touchdowns.
Not a bad trio. They probably need a nickname of some sort.
And while we’re talking about the Ohio State wide receivers, let’s also mention freshman Emeka Egbuka, who is beginning to shine as OSU’s kick returner.
Egbuka has four catches this season for 116 yards and has returned eight kickoffs for 275 yards. All told, he is averaging 32.6 yards per touch.
The Buckeyes’ Balancing Act
Ohio State head coach Ryan Day and his offensive staff always talk about being balanced. When the Buckeyes had to throw the ball constantly on Saturday against Maryland in order to move the ball, they didn’t look all that balanced. Just like when the Buckeyes were struggling to throw the ball against Tulsa and so they had to move the ball on the ground instead.
While those two games didn’t seem balanced, they were great examples of what balanced offenses look like. They were able to do whatever the defense gave them, and they did it very, very well. This is an offense that can run or pass however they want, and if a team wants to take one of those away, this offense doesn’t blink. It just stares straight ahead and chews up yards regardless.
For instance, the Buckeyes are third nationally in yards per carry (6.22) and second behind Florida (6.67) in the Power 5. Overall, Ohio State is 26th in the nation in rushing (210.5), but the yards per carry is the standout number showing that when the Buckeyes decide to run it, they can.
On the other side of things, the Buckeyes are third nationally in pass efficiency (187.75) and fourth in touchdown passes (20). They are third in yards per attempt (11.0), which again indicates their ability to take advantage of what a defense wants to to give them. Ohio State is also ninth nationally in passing yards per game (352.2).
Combining the run and pass, the Buckeyes are first nationally in total offense (562.7 ypg) and first in the Power 5 in yards per play (8.55). The Buckeyes are averaging 71 yards more per game than any other Big Ten team, and their 8.55 yards per play is over a full yard better than anybody else in the conference.
You probably didn’t need anybody to tell you that Ohio State has the best offense in the Big Ten and quite likely the best offense nationally, but sometimes it’s good to sit back and take stock of just how well things are going.
And with one half of the 2021 regular season down, the possibilities of what remains over the rest of this year should be pretty fun to watch.