ANALYSIS: 5 takeaways from Ohio State’s win over Arkansas State

Ohio State improved to 2-0 with a dominant win over Arkansas State on Saturday, a 45-12 decision that featured big plays from the offense and another solid performance by the new defense.

Here are five things to know about the Buckeyes’ victory:

1. Ohio State’s passing game was nearly unstoppable.

The Red Wolves showed Ohio State a lot of man coverage, and the Buckeyes took advantage.

Harrison was the main beneficiary, catching to long fade passes against single coverage and finishing with seven catches for 184 yards.

ExplorePHOTOS: Ohio State routs Arkansas State

“They just couldn’t contain him today,” Stroud said. “Every day in practice, he just shows how great of an athlete he is. He’s always giving me clean numbers, and he’s one of the best route runners I’ve ever played with. So today it was just his day to do it.”

2. The success was despite the continued absence of two of Ohio State’s most talented receivers.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Julian Fleming were both listed as game-time decisions the morning of the game.

Neither suited up, but Ohio State head coach Ryan Day sounded optimistic they could be ready next week when Toledo comes to town.

“We just want to make sure that they’re 100% before we put them in the game,” Day said. “I’m not part of those things. I just ask (the team doctors), ‘Are they 100%?’ ‘Yes, no,’ and then we’d go from there. So they’re both mature guys so we’ll take their feedback into consideration. We’d like to get them into the game next week if possible, but we won’t do that until they’re 100% because we want to make sure we’re keeping them safe. It’s a long season, but they’re getting closer.”

3. The running game remained efficient.

After Ohio State used the two-headed monster of TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams to wear out Notre Dame in their season opener, the Red Wolves came out intent on stopping the run.

Henderson and Williams were still productive and efficient, though, combining for 136 yards on 18 carries. Henderson scored a pair of touchdowns and averaged 8.7 yards per carry while Williams averaged 5.8.

“I thought they ran hard again, and we’ll watch the film to make sure they hit the right holes and figure out what we can improve on,” Day said.

“(The Red Wolves) were packing the box, a lot of one on ones on the outside, so the middle of the field was available. They were aggressive and going to stop our run. That’s the balance that we’re looking for.”

4. The defense kept the visitors out of the end zone.

Arkansas State put together some drives, but the Red Wolves had to settle for a field goal every time.

They had the ball for more than 37 minutes but averaged only 3.6 yards per play compared to 10.0 for the Buckeyes.

Sophomore defensive tackle Mike Hall Jr. had three tackles for loss before leaving the game with an unidentified injury, but Day indicated he should be fine.

“We’ll see once we get an evaluation on him postgame, but there wasn’t a lot of concern coming out of it that it was gonna be long-term,” Day said.

5. Day was not happy with how many penalties his team committed.

Multiple penalties kept ASU’s first scoring drive alive, including a personal foul on the punt team and a defensive pass interference foul, and the Buckeyes ended up having nine flags walked off against them for 85 yards.

“We’ve gotta clean those things up,” Day said. “That’s unacceptable. We’ve got to get that fixed. We’ve got to coach better, and we’ve got to put it on the field better. That’s going to be a huge emphasis this week.”

Game ball

C.J. Stroud completed 16 of 24 passes for 351 yards and four touchdowns as the Buckeyes attacked an aggressive defensive game plan from the Red Wolves.

Stat of the game

Marvin Harrison Jr. became just the second Ohio State player to catch three touchdown passes in a game twice, joining Joey Galloway. Harrison also caught three touchdowns in the win over Utah in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1.

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