Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud overcame a rough start to finish strong in Saturday's 21-10 victory over Notre Dame in a season-opening matchup between two Top 5 teams.
Trailing 10-7 late in the third quarter, Stroud led the Buckeyes on long touchdown drives on back-to-back possessions to grab the victory. The junior star was particularly effective when he was moving out of the pocket to create extra time for his receivers to get open.
Ohio State's first of those two touchdowns came at the end of a 10-play, 70-yard drive. Stroud was able to stay in the pocket on the final play, a 24-yard strike to Xavier Johnson on 3rd-and-11.
After the defense forced Notre Dame to punt, Stroud and the offense went back to work with a game-clinching 95-yard touchdown drive that took more than seven minutes off the clock.
Even though most of the drive was engineered by chunk plays on the ground, Stroud went 4-of-4 for 36 yards through the air. He completed a 12-yard pass to Miyan Williams on 3rd-and-3 to keep the drive alive.
The Buckeyes will need to clean up a lot of things about their offense going forward, but having Stroud's elusiveness and arm talent at quarterback allows them to get away with many mistakes.
Stroud's final stat line was fine, as he went 24-of-34 for 223 yards (124 in the second half) and two touchdowns. But he stepped up huge on the money drives that Ohio State needed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat against a quality opponent.
The Buckeyes could have one of the most complete teams in the nation if Stroud and the passing game get on track in the coming weeks. The defense held Notre Dame's offense to 253 yards. TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams combined for 175 rushing yards on 29 carries.
Things will get easier for Ohio State over the next two weeks with home games against Arkansas State (Sept. 10) and Toledo (Sept. 17). Its next major test will likely come on Sept. 24 against No. 18 Wisconsin at the Horseshoe.