Ohio State to use C.J. Stroud only in ’emergency’ basis: Who will start at QB for Buckeyes vs. Akron?

The Buckeyes are going to have a new quarterback under center when they take the field Saturday against Akron.

Coach Ryan Day said on 97.1 The Fan that C.J. Stroud will sit out for the game as he continues to rest a shoulder injury, with Jack Miller and Kyle McCord getting the bulk of the playing time against the Zips. Day said Stroud would be available only on an “emergency” basis.

With Stroud sitting out, Ohio State will have a new quarterback for the second time in 2021. Here’s what you need to know. 

What is C.J. Stroud’s injury?

Stroud has been off to a solid, if unspectacular, start to his Ohio State career. He was explosive in the second half of the season-opener against Minnesota and finished the game having completed 13 of 22 passes for 294 yards with four touchdowns and an interception. 

He threw for the second-most single-game passing yards against Oregon at 484 yards on 35-of-54 passing with three touchdowns and a pick, but was far from perfect as the Buckeyes lost 35-28. They then looked mediocre against a Tulsa team that should have resulted in a blowout, with Stroud going just 15-for-25 with 185 yards, one touchdown and one interception as Ohio State only won 41-20 against the 0-2 Golden Hurricane.

Following the win against Tulsa, Stroud said he wasn’t feeling 100 percent after he sustained a shoulder injury against Oregon.

“I was healthy enough to play,” Stroud said, according to The Columbus Dispatch. “I’m definitely not 100%, but who is 100% around this time?”

Earlier in the week, Day had said Stroud would still be on track to start on Saturday, with the expectation that McCord and Miller would receive playing time against the Zips, according to ESPN.

Now that Stroud has been moved into an emergency capacity, the focus is now when he will return in a full-time capacity. Day did not say when Stroud will be back, only that he would be available just in an emergency capacity on Saturday.

The Buckeyes will play Rutgers on the road after Akron, and though they will likely open as favorites against the Scarlet Knights, Day will certainly want to have his signal-caller back for that game. 

Who is Jack Miller?

Miller came to Ohio State in the same class as Stroud. Similarly to Stroud, he is considered a pro-style quarterback, though he arrived with far less acclaim.

247Sports listed him as a three-star quarterback, the 10th-best in the class and the 12th-best QB from the state of Arizona. At Chaparral High, he recorded more than 10,000 yards and 130 total touchdowns, according to his Ohio State page.

Miller set state records in Arizona with 115 passing touchdowns, 3,653 passing yards and 53 total touchdowns in a season and started all four years for his team. He was also named the MVP at The Opening Los Angeles that netted him a spot in the Elite 11 Finals.

Who is Kyle McCord?

Between the two quarterbacks expected to receive time on Saturday, McCord comes in with plenty more hype. 

McCord was a star for Pennsylvania powerhouse St. Joseph’s Prep and was a four-star by 247Sports in the 2021 class. The recruiting service listed him as the No. 49 prospect in the nation, the No. 8 quarterback and second-best prospect in Pennsylvania.

He started three years for the team and passed for more than 2,000 yards and 30 touchdowns in his sophomore and junior seasons. He finished his career with city and league records in passing yards at 6,887 and touchdown passes at 88.

Though not a particularly mobile quarterback, McCord has the potential to make plays with his legs. 

According to Lettermen Row’s Austin Ward, McCord is expected to get the official start on Saturday.

Will Quinn Ewers get playing time for Ohio State?

The big question on the minds of Ohio State fans is whether uber-prospect Quinn Ewers will get in the game. 

The answer? Not going to happen.

According to The Athletic’s Bill Landis, Ewers will be inactive for the game.

It’s understandable that Ohio State fans would want to see Ewers slot in at quarterback. He is the highest-ever rated recruit Ohio State has landed as 247Sports Composite Rankings have him at a perfect 1.000 ranking. That’s higher than the 0.9999 score of Trevor Lawrence and recent Ohio State star Justin Fields (0.9998). 

However, it is also easy to understand why Ewers is not playing on Saturday. He decided to forgo his senior season in high school to join Ohio State early, meaning he is of the age of most high school seniors and a year younger than McCord, the only true freshman in the QB room.

Ewers arrived at the start of training camp in August, but did miss time with an injury, according to The Columbus Dispatch. 

“I think he would tell you that it’s been hard for him, kind of jumping into this thing during the preseason, and then being out for a little bit of a stretch,” Day said earlier in the week.

Day said they are trying to get him as much information as possible and that they are trying to catch him up to speed.

“He’s trying. He’s working at it. But once we get into the season, it’s very, very difficult to get guys to catch up and get them the reps, because we need to get the guys reps who are going to play in the game,” Day said, per the Dispatch.

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