Justin Fields flashes talent and areas to work on

Ohio State fans have been anxious to see just what the Buckeyes had in Justin Fields after his adventure with the transfer portal. After the Buckeyes jumped to a 28-0 lead in the first quarter against Lane Kiffin’s over-matched FAU squad, we learned a few things but not that much.

We knew Fields is blazing fast, and we saw him explode untouched for an easy 51-yard touchdown run off a read option. That wasn’t a surprise. We also saw him hit wide open receivers in stride, confirming that he has a good arm.

But we also saw Fields and the Ohio State offense get conservative and stall a bit after building that huge lead. Ryan Day seemed happy that Fields didn’t come close to throwing an interception. Fields often defaulted to running with the ball as opposed to trying tougher throws. We’ll see that a lot this season, but we’ll also need to see in coming weeks if Fields can make the tough throws when needed.

As for the Buckeyes, things looked so easy early on, and then FAU decided to start playing. The young offensive line certainly needs to develop more. We should have seen them control the game with J.K. Dobbins runs after building that lead, but FAU was able to stuff the Buckeye running game too often for comfort.

On the other side of the ball, the Buckeye defense dominate for most of the game. With Greg Schiano replaced as defensive coordinator, the Buckeyes have move away from the overly aggressive defense that gave up a staggering amount of long runs last season. Now we’re seeing a more fundamentally sound defense that lets the incredibly talented defensive line led by Chase Young do their thing. Fixing the defense has been a top priority for Day as he overhauled the defensive staff.

Overall, the Buckeyes failed to cover the 27.5 spread, but this game was never in doubt. Next week they’ll get a much better test against a Cincinnati team that beat UCLA this week.

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