Ohio State fans cried foul after the star receiver caught only two passes for 18 yards in the season-opening win at Indiana, but he surpassed those numbers quickly Saturday.
Harrison went 71 yards for a touchdown on the fourth play of the game and added a 39-yard touchdown catch later in the first quarter to go over 100 yards receiving for the first time this season.
He finished with 160 yards on seven catches, and it appeared there was a greater effort to get him the ball as he was targeted on a few short passes early.
“We tried last week but sometimes they take it away and the ball has to go somewhere else,” Day said.
2. The Ohio State defense did not get a shutout.
That is a high expectation, but it is the one the Buckeyes set for themselves after allowing three points at Indiana.
Mitch Davidson dashed those hopes early when the Penguins quarterback dove into the end zone from a yard out to cap YSU’s first possession.
But after going 75 yards on their first drive, the visitors only gained another 159 the rest of the way.
3. The Ohio State offense was somewhat pedestrian.
That might be in the eye of the beholder even in this higher-scoring era of college football.
Many teams will take 35 points, but the Buckeyes were favored by more than 40, and they averaged nearly 45 points per game in the first four seasons under Ryan Day.
Day pointed out they were a holding call on Chip Trayanum away from scoring six touchdowns on nine possessions, a very high touchdown percentage.
The number of snaps the Buckeyes got was again down thanks to the clock continuing to run after first downs, a rule change this year.
“We’re used to scoring 60 and 70 in some of these games and it’s for a couple different reasons,” Day said. “One, maybe not as efficient as we’ve been, but I thought we were pretty decent in the first half. But then, two, just the way it’s going with this clock and teams huddling and snapping within 10 seconds. It doesn’t take much to get a few first downs and then you look up and you’ve only had three plays in the third quarter.”
4. The quarterback battle still isn’t over.
It could be close, though.
Day did not want to name Kyle McCord the full-time, permanent starter until watching the film, but he did not rule out doing so after studying the game results more closely.
McCord started again and completed 14 of 20 passes for 258 yards and three touchdowns while Devin Brown completed 7 of 13 passes for 101 yards.
Brown led two scoring drives that ended with TreVeyon Henderson touchdown runs.
“I think that that’s worth considering,” Day said when asked if giving McCord all of the first-team practice reps prior to next week’s game against Western Kentucky to get more prepared for a trip to Notre Dame the week after that. “I think that’s something that we got to talk about as a staff.”
5. The offensive line and running game are still trying to catch up.
The passing game looked more Ohio State-like with 359 yards against the Penguins, but the Buckeyes ran for only 123 yards.
They had 143 at Indiana, so the 266 combined rushing yards through two games are the fewest for Ohio State since they had 241 combined against Navy and USC in 2009.
On the bright side, Ohio State averaged 4.6 yards per carry even after accounting for a pair of sacks.
When asked if the offensive line is a work in progress, Day responded with a quick and curt, “Yes,” but he declined to elaborate.
Stat of the game
The Ohio State defense allowed 234 yards. After allowing 153 last week, the Buckeyes’ 387 total yards allowed are the fewest since they allowed Ohio and Youngstown State 328 to start the 2008 season.
Game ball goes to...
In a game with few great individual performances, Harrison is the obvious choice. He struck early and often to help Ohio State get a stranglehold on the contest.