Ohio State spring game 2022: Live stream, watch online, TV channel, start time, date, storylines to watch

Ohio State is destined to be a preseason top-10 team for the tenth straight season as the Buckeyes enter Year 4 under coach Ryan Day. Coming off an 11-2 campaign in the 2021 season and a Rose Bowl win, however, the question is whether they can close the gap on the SEC’s brass and win the program’s first national title since 2014.

Saturday’s spring game will provide the first glimpse at what the 2022 Buckeyes are made of, and there is plenty to like entering the annual showcase. With redshirt sophomore C.J. Stroud back after an exceptional debut campaign as the starting quarterback and ballyhooed new defensive coordinator Jim Knowles on staff, expectations are once again sky high.

Anytime the Buckeyes take the field at Ohio Stadium, it’s a meaningful occasion for one of the nation’s proudest fanbases. Though nothing is at stake in the spring game, it’s an opportunity for individual players to make an impression on their coaches and the fans. Though Day and Knowles likely won’t reveal much, the occasion should offer a baseline view of where things stand with one of the sport’s top programs entering the summer months.

Here is what you need to know for Ohio State’s 2022 spring football game. 

How to watch 2022 Ohio State spring game live

Date: Saturday, April 16 | Time: 12 p.m. ET
Location: Ohio Stadium — Columbus, Ohio
TV: Big Ten Network | Live stream: fuboTV (try for free)

2022 Ohio State spring game: Need to know

1. New defensive coordinator: Defense was an issue for Ohio State in 2021, and the Buckeyes made one of the splashiest coordinator hires of the offseason in addressing it. After engineering a top-five unit at Oklahoma State in 2021, Knowles is charged with making Ohio State’s defense elite again as he takes over the defensive coordinator role.

Oklahoma State ranked fifth nationally in yards allowed per play last season at just 4.59, while Ohio State ranked 43rd at 5.33. It would be ill-advised to draw grand conclusions from the spring game, but Saturday will provide an early look at how the Buckeyes are adapting to Knowles’ system. The 56-year-old has coached in the SEC, ACC and Big 12, in addition to a head coaching stint at Cornell, his alma mater. But the 2022 season will be his on-field introduction to the Big Ten.

2. Freshmen can shine: Knowles has some exciting true freshmen to work with who appear to be in the mix to see game action in 2022. The big name is five-star linebacker C.J. Hicks, who headlined Ohio State’s fourth-ranked 2022 signing class. The Dayton, Ohio, native has been spotted working some with the first-team defense during spring practice and has all the makings of a future NFL starter. How quickly he can become an Ohio State starter is the question for now, though, and Saturday will provide an early look at his bona fides.

Elsewhere on the defense, true freshmen defensive backs Kye Stokes, Jyaire Brown and Ryan Turner are generating buzz as potential early contributors. Considering that the early-enrollee true freshmen have been in Knowles’ system just as long as any returning players on Ohio State’s roster, they shouldn’t be discounted as possible difference makers in 2022.

3. New receivers on the block: If there was any lingering doubt about how Jaxon Smith-Njigba might handle the pressure of being Ohio State’s clear No. 1 receiver, he erased it during a legendary Rose Bowl performance. With fellow star receivers Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson opting out of the game, Smith-Njigba capped a standout sophomore season by catching 15 passes for 347 yards and three touchdowns in the Buckeyes’ 48-45 victory over Utah.

So the question for OSU at receiver is not about who the top target will be. Rather, the question is who else other than Smith-Njigba will Stroud rely on after completing a combined 135 passes — including 25 of his 44 touchdown throws —  to Wilson and Olave last season.

With those two departed, there is a deep well of candidates to step up and complement Smith-Njigba. Marvin Harrison Jr., Emeka Egbuka and Julian Fleming were among those who stepped up in the Rose Bowl. The depth chart is lined with other promising options at receiver, too, and the spring game offers a chance for some of them to shine in the spotlight.


Steve Liem

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