Buckeyes (1-0) vs. Penguins (1-0) Match-Up Preview | 9/9 12:00 PM EST

September 8, 2023

Andy Billman

Gameday Preview Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Youngstown State Penguins

3 Things Preview For Today’s Game:

3 things as the Buckeyes prepare for game two against Youngstown State on Saturday: 

1 – McCord Starting 

Kyle McCord will be the starting quarterback against Youngstown State on Saturday, but Head Coach Ryan Day mentioned that Devin Brown will play more against YSU.  Day on the quarterback position said, “I’m trying not to draw too many hard lines when it comes to this right now.” 

Day on Kyle McCord’s performance: “I think we both agreed there were some good moments, good throws. Some things he’d like to have back.”  Day said later, “It won’t be good enough going forward to reach our goals.”

With the Fighting Irish looming, the Buckeyes have two more weeks to get more of the handle on the quarterback room; hopefully, they do so before they head over to South Bend. 

2 – Chip Trayanum

The Buckeye’s running game had a decent day on Saturday with 143 yards on 31 carries, and by far, Chip Trayanum stood out among the group.  He only got eight carries but ran for 57 yards for an average of 7.1.  TreVeyon Henderson got the most carries at twelve, and Miyan Williams got seven carries, but neither got above an average of four yards a carry.

The Buckeyes want to use Trayanum in multiple positions on the field, not just as a runner but as a receiver, but it might be time for Trayanum to become more of the feature back as he was the only one that stood out against the Hoosiers. 

3 – Marvin Harrison Jr. TD

Head Coach Ryan Day mentioned on his radio that he was notified by Big Ten officials that the Marvin Harrison Jr. touchdown should have counted but was instead called back because he stepped out of bounds.  Day said, “I was told (Harrison’s catch) should have been a touchdown. That (penalty) shouldn’t have been called because he was forced out by the defender.”

That said, for Harrison not to impact game one is odd, even if the Indiana defense forced Ohio State to use other receiving options.  Harrison needs to get the ball more in week two for not just a chance to win the Heisman but also for the Buckeyes to have success. 

Day said of Harrison, “He’s ready to roll in this game, so he’s healthy, but we’re always cognizant of that, and we try to do the best we can to do right by each player.”

Ohio State Buckeyes Notes

There’s no need to sugarcoat it: Ohio State clearly surpasses the Penguins in every measurable aspect. They are the overwhelming favorites against their in-state rivals.

While Ohio State could easily dwell on the criticism they received after a lackluster performance against Indiana last weekend, it’s important to note that even if they replicate their opener from this past Saturday, it should still be sufficient to defeat the Penguins. Ohio State is undoubtedly striving to improve upon their Bloomington showing and address the numerous mistakes made against the Hoosiers, but the bottom line is clear.

To secure the victory, the Buckeyes simply need to maintain their players’ health, ensure that all their starters are ready for the game, and execute their style of football.

Ohio State Buckeyes Stats and Insights

Ohio State Buckeyes Players to Watch

Kyle McCord – Quarterback

All eyes are going to be on Kyle McCord this week. He didn’t play all that poorly, but when fans are used to what C.J. Stroud did the past two seasons … well, patience can be thin. McCord now has the opportunity to start winning over the fan base playing well against an inferior opponent.

Jack Sawyer – Defensive End

The Defensive End arrived at Ohio State with sky-high expectations. However, he hasn’t quite met those lofty standards yet. A significant factor in his underwhelming performance was being utilized in the wrong position. Now that he’s back in his natural edge position, the time has come for Sawyer to prove himself. There couldn’t be a more ideal opportunity for him to regain his confidence than this upcoming match against Youngstown State.

Youngstown State Penguins Notes

Youngstown State’s path to victory hinges on a dual scenario: catching Ohio State on an off day while delivering a performance that ranks among the best in their program’s football history.

Attempting to outline a specific game plan against the Buckeyes proves challenging from a strategic standpoint. Ohio State’s recent missteps against Indiana were mostly minor and correctable issues, with individual performances standing out more than collective team struggles.

In a broader sense, Youngstown State must undertake the monumental challenge of unsettling the Buckeyes on their home turf.

One effective approach involves applying relentless pressure on Ohio State quarterbacks Kyle McCord and Devin Brown, both in the process of building confidence in their roles. This can be achieved by frequently launching aggressive rushes from the defensive line and linebackers, especially during the early drives of the game.

Penguins Stats and Insights

  • Youngstown State are 9-3-1 ATS in their last 13 games.
  • The total has gone OVER in 4 of Youngstown State’s last 6 games.
  • Youngstown State are 0-8 SU in their last 8 games.
  • Youngstown State are 0-5 SU in their last 5 games on the road.
  • Youngstown State are 0-5 SU in their last 5 games against an opponent in the Big Ten conference.
  • The total has gone OVER in 5 of Youngstown State’s last 7 games played in September.

Pick and Prediction

Ohio State football is expected to defeat Youngstown State with a score of 56 to 3. Initially, I had doubts about Ohio State covering the 41.5-point spread currently in place. However, upon further reflection, it becomes evident that this game provides the ideal conditions for their offense to perform exceptionally well, primarily due to the significant gap in talent between the two teams.

Looking ahead to the Ohio State vs. Youngstown State matchup, if the Buckeyes’ offense fails to excel in this game, it would raise concerns heading into the following week. Nevertheless, it’s worth considering that last week’s performance might have been more about shaking off some rust than anything else. My prediction leans heavily toward a dominant victory for the Buckeyes.

Our Pick: Prediction – Ohio State will win, and cover the 41.5 points.  Final score 56-3.

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