C.J. Stroud, Jaxon Smith-Njigba's TD Connection Highlights Ohio State's Spring Game

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVApril 16, 2022

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 29: C.J. Stroud #7 of the Ohio State Buckeyes during spring practice held at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center in Columbus, Ohio on March 29, 2022. (Photo by Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Ohio State used Saturday's spring game to honor former Buckeyes quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who died last weekend after being struck by a truck in South Florida.

C.J. Stroud, OSU's current QB, wore a Haskins jersey on the field to open the exhibition:

Albert Breer @AlbertBreer

Really nice gesture from CJ Stroud to honor Dwayne Haskins at Ohio State’s spring game today. <a href="https://t.co/XzCBzFwEBz">pic.twitter.com/XzCBzFwEBz</a>

The program also painted his initials on the 7-yard line:

Steve Helwagen @SteveHelwagen

In a fitting tribute, Ohio State painted the initials DH at the 7-yard line to memorialize Dwayne Haskins <a href="https://t.co/VwOo9MhTkU">pic.twitter.com/VwOo9MhTkU</a>

Haskins was a member of the Buckeyes from 2016 through 2018 before being selected in the first round of the 2019 NFL draft.

As for the game itself, Team Scarlet (offense) scored a 34-26 victory over Team Gray (defense).

Stroud, who heads toward the 2022 season as one of the nation's top Heisman Trophy contenders, completed 14 of his 22 throws for 120 yards and a touchdown.

Ohio State Football @OhioStateFB

touchdown, buckeyes 💯<a href="https://twitter.com/CJ7STROUD?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CJ7STROUD</a> to <a href="https://twitter.com/jaxon_smith1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@jaxon_smith1</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoBucks?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoBucks</a> <a href="https://t.co/ry5k1KcM5j">pic.twitter.com/ry5k1KcM5j</a>

Here's a look at some of the spring game's other standout performers:

  • QB Kyle McCord: 14 of 20 for 129 yards, 1 TD
  • QB Devin Brown: 11 of 24 for 141 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
  • RB Miyan Williams: 15 carries for 101 yards
  • RB Evan Pryor: 9 carries for 62 yards, 1 TD; 4 catches for 44 yards
  • WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba: 2 catches for 38 yards, 1 TD
  • TE Joe Royer: 2 catches for 37 yards, 1 TD
  • DL Noah Potter: 6 tackles, 2 sacks
  • DL J.T. Tuimoloau: 4 tackles, 2 sacks
  • LB Tommy Eichenberg: 10 tackles
  • DB Cameron Kittle: 4 tackles, 1 interception

It's easy to see why Ohio State opened the year second in ESPN's Football Power Index preseason rankings behind only Alabama. The amount of talent throughout all aspects of the offense will give a lot of teams trouble.

Ohio State Football @OhioStateFB

EVAN. PRYOR. <a href="https://twitter.com/evanpryor3?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@evanpryor3</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoBucks?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoBucks</a> <a href="https://t.co/HX76EhZNP1">pic.twitter.com/HX76EhZNP1</a>

OSU head coach Ryan Day said Thursday the spring showcase was mostly important for getting underclassmen in the flow of the college game.

"We have a lot of young guys who need to go out there and play football," Day told reporters.

Ohio State on BTN @OhioStateOnBTN

You were probably wondering about the TEs.<br><br>So far, so good. 😤<a href="https://twitter.com/JoeRoyer25?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JoeRoyer25</a> // <a href="https://twitter.com/OhioStateFB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@OhioStateFB</a> <a href="https://t.co/2cGVrc1alF">pic.twitter.com/2cGVrc1alF</a>

After the offense dominated the early portion of the proceedings, the defense did start making some more consistent stops, beginning about midway through the second quarter, and that carried into a highly competitive second half.

One negative from an otherwise encouraging game was a potential injury to linebacker Mitchell Melton, who limped off the field late in the second quarter. Melton missed the entire 2021 season because of injury.

Ohio State will open the regular season Sept. 3 when it welcomes Notre Dame to The Horseshoe for a high-profile Week 1 game.