Ohio State ushers in new era as CJ Stroud takes reins from Justin Fields

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Ohio State will start a new era in their program’s history on Thursday night when the Buckeyes start redshirt freshman C.J. Stroud against Minnesota.

Stroud is set to take the reins from Justin Fields, who had been the starting quarterback for the last two seasons before jumping to the NFL. Fields and Ohio State lost to Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl during the 2019 season and lost in the national championship to Alabama last season.

In this April 5, 2021 file photo, Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud runs through a drill during an NCAA college football practice in Columbus, Ohio. 
(AP Photo/Paul Vernon, File)

Nevertheless, Stroud has received support from teammates.

“We’re just very excited for us to have him as our quarterback right now. He’s taken that job in full stride,” Ohio State offensive lineman Nicholas Petit-Frere said Wednesday.

“There are certain guys that rise to the cream of the crop and come through in those big moments and kind of inspire the team to keep pushing forward even in hard moments. C.J. did that almost every single time,” he added.

Stroud was a five-star prospect coming into Ohio State in 2020. He was the nation’s No. 2 pro-style quarterback in high school and a top 50 overall player. He was the MVP of Elite 11 camp as well.

“He has an edge. He wants to be really good. He’s very competitive,” Buckeyes coach Ryan Day said. “Now it’s time to go put it on the field.”

Stroud isn’t going into a cakewalk on Thursday night. Minnesota is no slouch of a team.

Tanner Morgan is entering his senior season at Minnesota and looking to put the Golden Gophers into the conversation for a Big Ten title. He had 1,374 passing yards and seven touchdown passes in the shortened season in 2020. In 2019, he led Minnesota to an 11-2 season.

In this Nov. 7, 2020, file photo, Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan drops back to throw during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Illinois in Champaign, Illinois. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

“Guys are coming back for something bigger than themselves. When they’re doing that, I think that’s a good sign of things to come,” Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck said.

The game is set for Minneapolis at 8 p.m. ET and can be seen on FOX.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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