Ohio State beats Notre Dame with comeback win led by C.J. Stroud


It wasn’t supposed to be this close.

Pegged as 17½-point favorites heading into Saturday night, No. 2 Ohio State was bogged down by No. 5 Notre Dame’s defense and didn’t pull away until late in the fourth quarter, eventually landing on a 21-10 win that can interpreted in any number of ways.

For one, the Buckeyes’ offense unwillingness to commit to the running game was surprising, especially with the tandem of Miyan Williams (91 yards) and potential All-America pick TreVeyon Henderson (84 yards) combining to average 6.0 yards per carry. Third-year quarterback C.J. Stroud completed 70.5% of his attempts for 223 yards and two  touchdowns but averaged a career-low 6.6 yards per attempt.

Expected to again rank among the best in the Bowl Subdivision, this offense was often bogged down by an Irish approach under coach Marcus Freeman that largely played things safe rather than take major gambles — though a failed blitz on third down did help Stroud find Xavier Johnson for the go-ahead score late in the third quarter.

Ohio State running back TreVeyon Henderson (32) carries the ball past Notre Dame  defensive lineman Howard Cross III (56) on a run in the second quarter at Ohio Stadium.

Eventually, though, the better team emerged: OSU put the game away with a 14-play, 95-yards drive that featured 10 running plays and took more than seven minutes off the clock, putting the Buckeyes ahead by 11 points with 4:51 left.

From there, the OSU defense took over. Here are three observations from a win that will play a major role in determining the final makeup of this year’s College Football Playoff.



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