Ohio State did what it had to with a 38-6 win over Youngstown State Saturday. The Buckeyes did some good things and did some bad things. It was a good opener from the standpoint that coach Jim Tressel saw a lot of players in game situations and have plenty of film to see what needs to be improved for second-week opponent Akron.
Here's my top-five performances from Saturday:
1. Todd Boeckman: After four years in the system, the redshirt junior finally got his chance as a starter. He showed poise back in the pocket, looking for receivers and checking off in cases and showed a good command of the huddle, although illegal substitution penalties and illegal procedures need to be ironed out. That's a combination, though, of new players on the line, in the backfield and at quarterback. Boeckman went 17-of-23 for 225 yards and two touchdowns. A good start, though.
2. Brian Robiskie: The junior wide receiver showed tons of potential last season in a reserve role, catching 29 passes, good for third on the team. As a starter in his first game, Robiskie caught nine passes for 153 yards. The Buckeyes went to the pass on their first possession with Boeckmand Robiskie playing pitch-and-catch, ending with a touchdown. It's a combination OSU fans could see develop all season.
3. Brandon Saine: The freshman running back, listed third on the depth chart, finished with 42 yards rushing on 10 carries and one touchdown. That didn't lead the team, but he showed both explosiveness and power.
4. Larry Grant: The senior linebacker, also a new starter, helped OSU limit the Penguins to 85 yards rushing and 91 passing.
5. Anderson Russell: The redshirt junior returned to the field for the first time after injuring his knee in the fifth game against Iowa and missing the rest of the season. Russell didn't seem to show any ill effect of the injury and helped the defense not allow a touchdown. Russell also returned kickoff, breaking a long one.
Player of the game: Robiskie.
Play of the game: The Buckeyes were leading 14-3 and driving downfield in the first half. On third and 17, Boeckman tried to hit wide receiver Brian Hartline over the middle. Youngstown State was called for an interference penalty, giving OSU a first down. Saine eventually scored, giving the Buckeyes a 21-3 halftime lead.
Key stat: The Buckeyes saw a glimpse of their future as three freshman â€” wide receivers Dane Sanzenbacher and Taurian Washington and Sainse â€” scored three of the team's five touchdowns.