Ohio State's 45-12 win over visiting Arkansas State was not as dominant as the oddsmakers or Buckeyes fans predicted (OSU was nearly a 45-point favorite), but everyone should still feel good about a solid, all-around effort. Even more important to the coaches, Ohio State had strong performances from both starters and backups following an up-and-down showing in the opener against Notre Dame. Here are a few players that deserve special mention for their contributions to Saturday's victory.
1. WR Marvin Harrison Jr. is on the cusp of stardom
Harrison gave Ohio State fans a glimpse of what he was capable of as a true freshman in last year's spring game, but it was also understood that such an exhibition is not the same as going up against another FBS opponent. But in the Rose Bowl, Harrison impressed with a dazzling performance versus Utah, including three touchdown grabs. With Jaxon Smith-Njigba sitting Saturday's game out because of the injury he suffered in the opener, Harrison rose to the occasion, and then some. He finished with 184 yards and three touchdowns on seven receptions, helping C.J. Stroud carve up an overmatched Arkansas State secondary.
2. RB Dallan Hayden was solid late
With Ohio State well ahead, Hayden was inserted into the backfield to help run out the rest of the clock. While the stats (4 att., 13 yds. and 2 rec. for 13 yds.) won't wow anyone, Ohio State coaches had to be pleased with the effort. Increased trust in Hayden will make it easier for head coach Ryan Day to allow him to spell starters TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams more as the season progresses.
3. DE Caden Curry showed that he will be in the Buckeyes' DL rotation
Similar to Hayden, his freshman classmate, Curry also got a chance to play late in the game. With four tackles (one for a loss), look for Curry to become a bigger part of defensive line coach Larry Johnson Sr.'s rotation up front. You can never have enough big bodies to count on, especially once Big Ten play gets going.