It’s the scent that got to CJ Stroud. Well, that’s among other things in the multisensory attack that was his first Rose Bowl.
Talk about everything you want about the rose and its many features—sunsets over the San Gabriel Mountains, a procession almost supplanting the game itself, Keith Jackson’s voice floating in some ethereal cloud over everything—there’s always that moment for newcomers.
for Ohio State Little quarterback, he was, well, everything.
“I would say roses, that’s what it’s all about,” Stroud said. “It’s unique. It smells good. It looks good. It feels good. The best herb I’ve ever played in my life. Everything about it is what I expected it to be. That’s why the Rose Bowl is so special.”
This is from a kid who grew up within an hour of Pasadena, California. Watching Grandaddy of ‘Em All on TV is one thing; It is another take to experience the uniqueness of the game.
In addition to the sights, colors and smells, the 2021 season is over and the 2022 season begins for the No. 2 Buckeyes squad.
Anyone who watched that game on January 1st might still have their head spinning from Ohio State’s 48-45 win Utah. Stroud threw for the school’s record 573 yards and the school scored six touchdowns. Wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba announced himself with 15 FBS bowl catches recording 347 yards and three touchdowns.
“He was a mixture of great minds and great players,” Stroud said. “…this was the most fun for me [had playing] in my life.”
“Maybe some places, 11-2 and a Rose Bowl victory is a good year. It’s not at Ohio State,” said coach Ryan Day.
The result revealed that both are correct. Taken together, the Rose Bowl’s lingering scent, feel, and look were an explanatory point for what was ultimately a sub-par season in Ohio. However, it also served as a springboard for Stroud and Smith Ngigba.
“That was the goal,” Day said of his offensive players’ starting point. “We talked about his entry.”
Now, Buckeye’s two biggest weapons are the 2022 Rat Pack, inseparable companions. Stroud is the Heisman Cup favorite with 2-1 odds of entering the season, according to Caesars Sportsbook. Smith-Njigba falls right outside the top ten on that list; Arguably the best receiver in the game is the 40-1. Between them is another burgeoning star as declining OSU enters the year TreVeyon Henderson at 20-1.
“I don’t want to think about it, but I do,” said Stroud, who finished fourth in Heisman’s vote as one of the 2021 finalists. “I would be lying if I said I didn’t.”
Stroud threw for second yards (4,435) and touchdowns (44) in school history. Henderson averaged 6.8 yards per carry, amassing nearly 1,600 combined yards and 19 touchdowns with some exceptional performances for the singles game.
Smith-Njigba played in the shadows of Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, setting records for catch (95) and yard (1606). Wilson and Olaf only met on 25 catches en route to the NFL. At the Rose Bowl, Smith-Njigba had what could have been good Month another player.
“I think I’m the best, so I have to work that way,” he said.
The Buckeyes everywhere can dream because this is Ohio State’s best team since 2019. That doesn’t sound like much, but in Ohio State, it’s great. Three years ago this team was good enough to win everything but it got derailed Clemson In the college football semi-finals.
It took a long time for Buckeye Nation to feel good about herself again. The 2020 COVID-19 affected team played only eight matches and was blown up Alabama, 52-24 in the Orange Bowl semi-finals. Last season , Oregon The loss was the first by Ohio State for a non-conference opponent of the Power Five at home since then Oklahoma in 2017.
The latest non-conference challenge awaits. no 5 Notre Dame Comes into the shoe as the underdog 14.5 points in the tastiest game of week 1.
loss in Michigan This past November saw another defeat of the day – the first one-day defeat of the Big Ten in their 24th game of the Conference. The Ohio State team led the nation on a full offensive. The problem was easy to spot: the defense – especially the running defense – was resilient. The 3.68 yards per lunge allowed by the defense was the second-highest average in Ohio in a decade. In that Rose Bowl, Utah tied a program bowl game record with 45 points.
Most worrisome was Ohio State’s boat exit from Michigan Stadium in the second half to bring down the Big Ten East crown. In fact, bone Worryingly, the defense has given up at least 40 points in consecutive games for the first time since 1891.
Almost everything in Ohio must be viewed through a relative lens. Stroud recently called for revenue sharing With this name and the image and the era of likeness. This is from a rookie rookie who drives a Bentley as part of his zero-sum deal.
During a vacation in St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands, he expressed surprise at being recognized.
“It’s kind of cool, but scary at the same time,” he said. “I’m not used to people staring at me.”
Don’t bother there is a lot of staring. Stroud routinely plays in front of 100,000 people, after all. Ohio State is among the top 10 universities in the country with over 500,000 live alumni.
“I just want to stack the days,” Stroud added. “If I think of Heisman, I will get over myself and put a lot of pressure on myself.”
If the defense doesn’t improve, Stroud, Smith-Njigba and Henderson may just have to carry the Buckeyes by outperforming everyone else. And that makes perfect sense in this day and age. After all, Alabama had the playoff in 2020 with 3rd worst overall defense Ever to win a national championship (since at least 1936).
Smells like another nickname?
“We don’t have to prove anyone wrong,” Stroud concluded. “We have to prove ourselves right.”
“Student. Incurable problem solver. Amateur baconaholic. Introvert. Infuriatingly humble music fanatic.”