Kyle McCord throws a pass against Akron.jpg

Ohio State freshman quarterback Kyle McCord throws a deep pass against Akron.

COLUMBUS -- So this is what Ohio State's reserve quarterbacks look like in a live game.

It took four weeks to find out what C.J. Stroud's backups have, and really that was the only question on anyone's mind Saturday night at Ohio Stadium.

The 59-7 beating of Akron was an appetizer. The entree was a live glimpse at 5-star true freshman quarterback Kyle McCord, and 4-star redshirt freshman quarterback Jack Miller.

The result featured incredible statistics, much like injured starter C.J. Stroud has produced, but not quite convincing performances -- again much like Stroud.

For his part, McCord overcame a shaky start to complete 13-of-18 passes for 319 yards (17.7 yards per completion), 2 TDs and an INT. When he left the game the Buckeyes were on top 45-7.

Miller came in and went 5-of-5 for 66 yards. McCord displayed a stronger arm, and is clearly second-team to Stroud. Miller looked to be the more mobile of the two.

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Richland Source managing editor Larry Phillips. He's led the Source newsrooms since 2016. 

Neither got a glowing review from coach Ryan Day in the immediate aftermath. Day slipped into coachspeak, said he would have to review the film, etc.

"I thought there was some things that were OK. I thought there were some things that we certainly need to clean up," Day said. "I've got to find out where there eyes were at times."

It's obvious Day wants to avoid a QB controversy at all costs. It's equally apparent that if Stroud is ready to go from a health perspective he will be the starter next week at Rutgers.

"Now at least you have an idea of what you have. We have some things you can build on or grow from," Day said. "Probably not going to make any hard decisions here, but it's part of the puzzle for sure."

McCord played the entire first half, and after an erratic initial series, he settled down to help the Buckeyes overcome a 7-0 deficit.

"Kyle does a really good job of preparing, excellent job, he puts a lot of work into this thing," Day said. "It's the first time he's ever played in a college football game. He's a true freshman so I think the game was moving pretty fast for him early on, but he was working hyper speed I think.

"One of the things we talk about with young quarterbacks is finding the speed of the game and I think there were times we did."

McCord tossed an interception on the first series of the second half, but came back on the next series to fire an 85-yard bomb to another true freshman, Emeka Egbuka, who was tackled just inside the 5. When the 10th-ranked Buckeyes punched it in to make it 45-7, McCord's night was over.

Then it was Miller's turn.

"Jack came in and had some poise in there and made some nice throws as well, I thought he did some positive things," Day said. "From the beginning I've said we're going to need all three.

"This was an opportunity to get those guys some reps, get them in the game and get them an evaluation -- which is really going to help them. It's a huge learning experience. In the long run it's huge for them to get these reps."

Freshman running back TreVeyon Henderson had a big but brief night, 93 yards and 2 TDs on just eight carries. Junior receiver Garrett Wilson pulled in four catches for 124 yards and Jaxon Smith-Njigba added five receptions for 93 yards and a TD.

As usual, Ohio State put up big numbers, 622 yards in total offense and 24 first downs.

The unusual part was the defense didn't give up nearly as much yardage and points -- albeit against one of the worst teams in college football.

The OSU defense allowed just 229 yards, less than 2 yards per rushing attempt, collected seven sacks, grabbed two interceptions and even scored when safety Ronnie Hickman brought back a pick 46 yards for a TD.

"I thought we played with more aggression and that was good to see," Day said.

Ohio State returns to action next week at Rutgers for a 3:30 p.m. Big Ten date. On Saturday in Ann Arbor, the Scarlet Knights dominated unbeaten Michigan in the second half, but dropped a disheartening 20-13 decision. Rutgers represents a step up in competition compared to the Tulsa-Akron talent level the Buckeyes have faced the past two weeks.

With or without Stroud, Ohio State will be heavily favored -- as they will over the next couple of weeks. Building and improving across the board on both sides of the ball will be every bit as important as who is taking the snaps as this campaign unfolds.

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I've lived in Richland Co. since 1990, married here, our children were born here. This is home. I have two books published on a passion topic, Ohio high school football. Others: Buckeyes, Cavs, Bengals, Reds, History, Disney.

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