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Buckeyes prepare for season opener Saturday at Indiana

Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. catches a pass during the Peach Bowl.
John Bazemore
Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. (18) makes a catch against Georgia during the first half of the 2022 Peach Bowl NCAA college football semifinal playoff game, Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022, in Atlanta.

The Ohio State Buckeyes finally have a starting quarterback, at least for their season opener at Indiana.

Ohio State Head Coach Ryan Day has picked Kyle McCord to lead the No. 3 Buckeyes against the Hoosiers on Saturday.

WOSU's Matthew Rand spoke with Columbus Dispatch sports reporter Bill Rabinowitz about the decision.

"It was a little bit of a surprise that it went down to the wire, but it was close all the way through," Rabinowitz said.

"Ryan Day said that at different times one would take the lead, and then a couple of days later, the other would catch up. And it was just kind of back and forth. But in the end, Kyle McCord's consistency over the last couple of weeks of practice is what got him the job," he said.

Of course, the quarterback is only as good as the rest of the team.

Rabinowitz notes the Buckeyes lost three key starters, leaving the offensive line looking rough this spring.

The offensive line has since been shored up with San Diego State transfer Josh Simmons at left tackle, Josh Fryar back at right tackle and redshirt freshman Carson Hinzman at center.

"[The Buckeyes] feel much better about the line than they did, let's say, a month ago, but it still has to prove itself," Rabinowitz said.

Rabinowitz said the Buckeyes have an abundance of talent this year, from Marvin Harrison, Jr.—considered to be the best receiver in college football—to a very deep running back room led by TreVeyon Henderson.

"It's a loaded, loaded offense," Rabinowitz said.

The big question, he said, is can the defense avoid giving up the big plays that hurt them against Michigan and Georgia last season?

"The fact that they took Georgia to the wire and very easily could have won that game, I think that gave them some confidence for this year," Rabinowitz said. "If they just play the way they can play, they can play with anyone in the country."

Matthew Rand is the Morning Edition host for 89.7 NPR News. Rand served as an interim producer during the pandemic for WOSU’s All Sides daily talk show.