May 30, 2024

OPINION: Fans Need To Stop Complaining About Ohio State QB Kyle McCordOPINION: Fans Need To Stop Complaining About Ohio State QB Kyle McCord -  Sports Illustrated Ohio State Buckeyes News, Analysis and More

The Buckeyes first year starting quarterback has done a terrific job this season, but you’d never know it if you spend time reading message boards and social media forums.

I think it’s time for the extremely vocal contingent of Ohio State fans to stop being so critical of quarterback Kyle McCord.

We live in a world where reality can be perversely bent by what we see on social media. As I combed through X during the Buckeyes 35-16 win over Rutgers on Saturday afternoon, you would’ve thought McCord had never seen a football field before – let alone leading the No. 1 team in the country to a 9-0 record.

McCord finished Saturday’s win with a modest 189 passing yards, but he completed 19-of-26 for the game, connected on three touchdowns and he was picked off once (on a great defensive play). That interception was only his fourth of the year. The fact is, he’s playing winning football.

Rutgers played a ton of the game in a Cover-2 shell that took away a lot of deep shots. Fans are unfairly criticizing McCord for regularly checking down on shorter routes. What happened to taking what the defense gives you? Why on earth would any coordinator try to scheme his defense in man-to-man coverage against Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka all game? That’s a terrible recipe. Flip Dixon, Robert Longerbeam, Deion Jennings and Mohamed Toure were physical, tough defenders that played great football.

Nobody on Rutgers’ schedule prior to this weekend has showcased Ohio State’s kind of talent at wide receiver, and the Knights guarded against giving up plays over the top of the defense all game.

McCord routinely connecting on shorter passes is not a condemnation of his ability to see the field.

And can we just stop already with the “yeah but it’s Rutgers” rhetoric? This isn’t the Rutgers teams of the mid-2010’s. Greg Schiano and his staff do an excellent job and they’ve got some legitimate NFL players on defense. I love how fearless Schiano coaches against Ohio State and it shows in the way his team competes against a program they’re “not supposed to beat.” The Scarlet Knights came into Saturday’s game as a top-10 total defense in the nation and as one of the best pass defenses in the conference – and they backed it up.

till, McCord started the game 11-for-11, and combined with his seven straight completions to wrap up the Wisconsin game last weekend, he set a school record with 18 consecutive completed passes. He only had a couple incompletions the entire first half, two of which were blatant drops.

McCord is 167-for-257 this year, which is a 65 percent completion rate. He’s thrown for almost 2,400 yards and 17 touchdowns, with four interceptions in nine straight wins.

He doesn’t need to be a Heisman finalist. He doesn’t have to look like a guy that’s going to be the first overall pick in the NFL Draft. He wasn’t perfect Saturday, but I think he played well. McCord took what the defense gave him, didn’t force many throws into bad coverages and allowed his athletes on the perimeter to make plays in space.

His poise in the pocket was especially impressive on a little screen pass in the second quarter, during which he pump-faked two defenders into leaping into the air as they rushed him while he calmly stepped to his left, changed his arm angle and completed the pass.

I bet you at least 10 other Big Ten teams would rather have him playing quarterback than their current starter.

We are more than two months into the season and the No. 1-ranked Buckeyes are 9-0. At this point, I don’t see any reason why Kyle McCord can’t lead Ohio State to a College Football Playoff berth and a national championship. He might not be playing like a Heisman Trophy winner, but nothing about his performance this year screams “this guys is a liability and the Buckeyes will never accomplish their goals with him.”

It’s time for fans to stop being irrational and complaining about a guy who is guiding the No. 1 team in the country. As Dabo Swinney famously said last week in his radio show rant, perhaps the expectations are now exceeding the appreciation for good performance.

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