COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio State coach Ryan Day distributed the obligatory praise of his players after their score-at-will rout of Toledo, but the No. 3 Buckeyes won’t dwell on it long with the Big Ten schedule around the next corner.
Instead of taking some time to enjoy the 77-21 rout of Toledo late Saturday, coaches were already into planning for Wisconsin, which the No. 3 Buckeyes will host next week in the first in a slog of nine Big Ten games.
“Next week we have a conference opponent, so everything is going to be even harder,” Day said. “So usually we wait until Sunday to move on. We’ll do that as we leave the stadium tonight.”
C.J. Stroud threw five touchdown passes and No. 3 Ohio State rolled up 763 yards on the way to crushing Toledo.
The Buckeyes (3-0) scored on all six of their first-half possessions, with Stroud completing 18 of 20 passes for 297 yards and a pair of touchdown passes each to Marvin Harrison Jr. and Julian Fleming on the way to a 42-14 lead.
Stroud, a Heisman Trophy favorite, completed 22 of 27 passes for 367 yards before yielding to backups late in the third quarter.
“Once we get momentum rolling it’s kind of hard to stop us, he said. “It’s just about execution and taking pride in it. And I definitely think we did that and will continue to build, but it’s going to take more because now we go into Big Ten play, and we got to be more and more focused and stick together and keep rolling.”
The Buckeyes’ offensive output was the most since they gained 776 yards in a 77-10 win over another Mid-American Conference team, Bowling Green, in 2016.
Day wanted a dominating performance in the last nonconference game.
“There are a few things here we’ve got to clean up for sure going into conference play, but suddenly you look at the scoreboard, and we’re proud of what we did,” Day said.
TreVeyon Henderson, an AP Preseason All-American, scored on a 7-yard run to put Ohio State on the board in the first quarter, but the second-year back didn’t play again because of an unspecified injury that briefly sent him to the locker room.
Day didn’t provide details, but he said it was an injury Henderson has been dealing with, and the decision was made to rest him.
Toledo tied it at 7 early on Dequan Finn’s 50-yard TD heave on the run to Thomas Zsiros, but the Buckeyes assumed control and ran away with it.
That wasn’t for lack of effort on the part of Finn, who made the Rockets’ offense at least look respectable. He passed for 153 yards and two TDs, while rushing for 70 and another score.
“This is a top five team in the country, a team that’s been picked by many to win the national championship and as good as offensive skill as we’ll see, and I’ve seen in my entire coaching career,” Toledo coach Jason Candle said.
Toledo: Finn is a talented, dual-threat QB with good instincts who’s bound to have more fun when the Rockets start their MAC schedule. But the Toledo defense just couldn’t slow down the Buckeyes with Stroud at the helm.
“It’s hard to respond,” Candle said. “Some guys have never been beat like that in their lives, including me.”
Ohio State: The placement of many of Stroud’s passes just couldn’t be defensed, and a few of the throws and catches were spectacular. The bit of rust the third-year quarterback might have brought into the season is gone. He showed why he was a Heisman finalist last season.
Harrison is on a roll for the Buckeyes. The second-year receiver had six catches for 102 yards — all in the first half — including two acrobatic touchdown passes. That followed seven catches for 184 yards and three TDs in last week’s win over Arkansas State. Emeka Egbuka had seven catches for 116 yards and a TD and added another score rushing.
With No. 1 Georgia and No. 2 Alabama routing their Saturday opponents, Ohio State is unlikely to move up.
Ohio State starting safeties Tanner McAlister and Josh Proctor were not in uniform and announced as unavailable just before the game. Cameron Martinez and Lathan Ransom replaced them in the starting lineup. Defensive lineman Mike Hall Jr. also didn’t play. Day said those players also “were dealing some things” related to injuries and were kept out.
Toledo: At San Diego State next Saturday.
Ohio State: Hosts Wisconsin next Saturday in Big Ten opener.
More AP college football coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25 Sign up for the AP’s college football newsletter: https://apnews.com/cfbtop25.