C.J. Stroud's first start at quarterback for No. 3 Ohio State wasn't without any flaws. The redshirt freshman admitted to feeling some first-half jitters, before throwing four second-half touchdowns in a 45-31 road win against Minnesota last weekend.
The Buckeyes have no intentions of taking their foot off the gas with Stroud. And although he'll experience some growing pains as the season progresses, Big Ten Network analyst Joshua Perry wasn't the least bit surprised by Stroud's immediate success.
"It was always going to be a little uncomfortable early on for C.J. Stroud last week, but we saw what he did in the second half -- four touchdowns passes, we saw that talent," Perry told The DA Show on Friday. "No surprises to me. You have to evaluate who C.J. is as a player. His high school coach always talked about how confident he was. He was a five-star guy coming in. And he got to sit behind Justin Fields and learn from him.
"And [head coach] Ryan Day is a phenomenal quarterback coach. I felt like it was going to take him some time to get comfortable within a game, but I knew the talent was going to be there. So, I'm not surprised to see it... It'd be hard to be bad as a quarterback at Ohio State right now, simply because of all the weapons that you get to play with. That's not to disparage C.J. at all..."
Stroud's first half in Minnesota was underwhelming, as he completed 8 of 14 passes for 58 yards with an interception and no touchdowns. But the 19-year-old flipped the switch at halftime, and became the first Buckeyes player with three passing touchdowns of 50 yards or longer in the same game in at least the past 25 years. Overall, Stroud attempted just 22 passes for 294 yards.
Ohio State won't be able to take a breather in Week 2, as they're scheduled to host No. 12 Oregon on Saturday. According to the William Hill Sportsbook, the Buckeyes currently have the best odds (-240) to win the Big Ten title, and the third-best odds (+550) to win the national championship.
The entire football conversation between Perry and DA can be accessed in the audio player above.