COLUMBUS — Against an overmatched FCS opponent, Ohio State quarterback Kyle McCord did exactly what he had to do following an up-and-down performance a week ago at Indiana. Whether or not it was enough for his head coach to finally label McCord as the undisputed QB1 still remains to be seen.
McCord finished his day completing 14 of his 20 attempts for 258 yards and three touchdowns in just over two quarters of work. The touchdown passes were the first of the season for both McCord and the Ohio State offense, but it was the several high-level throws McCord sprinkled in between the goal lines that made it seemingly very apparent he offers Ohio State the best chance to win moving forward.
Following the game, Ryan Day noted McCord’s poise as one of the biggest jumps he noticed from week one to two. Against a lesser opponent that Ohio State typically wears down over the course of the game, Day also said it was important to see McCord play well early when Youngstown State was at its very best.
“I thought he came out of the gate (well),” Day said. “I think how you play early in games like this matters, and I like how we came out of the gates playing well. (Youngstown State) is fresh and playing their best football in the first quarter, and you want to see us playing good football. And he made some nice throws early on, which was good, and he got himself into a rhythm.”
Day added, “Overall, I thought he was solid, but we’ll look at the film and see.”
McCord said the increased poise he played with on Saturday was a result of the confidence he received in last week’s win over Indiana. While he called last week’s performance “spotty,” he noted there were flashes of what the Ohio State offense is striving for each week. With an improved performance in week two, McCord said the emphasis has to be on continuing to stack positive weeks.
“Now the goal is to use what I learned this week and build on that next week to keep this train rolling,” McCord said.
Despite McCord’s sharpness, Day was not willing to commit to elevating him to definitive starter status. But with a trip to Notre Dame looming in two weeks, the clock is ticking for Day and the offensive staff to have a clear plan in place for one of Ohio State’s biggest challenges of the season.
Asked if there is value in letting McCord settle in as the clear starter this upcoming week before preparations begin for Notre Dame, Day said it’s “worth considering” and something he and his staff plan to discuss.
“It’s a legitimate question,” Day said. “I don’t have the answer for you right now, but I understand what you’re asking. We’re just going to focus on Western Kentucky now and do the best we can to grow this week.”
As it stands now, McCord isn’t interested in talking labels or depth charts. He’s simply trying to force a decision from Day whenever his number is called.
“The only thing I’m worried about is whenever I’m on the field, I’m making the most of my opportunities,” McCord said. “If that’s every single drive, that’s great. If it’s every other drive, that’s great. If that’s one drive, great. Whatever opportunities I get, I’m going to try to make the most out of them.”
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.