The Ohio State Buckeyes and Oklahoma Sooners are both looking to return to the College Football Playoff. In a non-conference game with National Title implications, only one can prevail.
Previewing the Ohio State Defense
In week one, the Buckeyes’ secondary was tested early and often — and rightfully so. This unit lost three starters from a year ago earning a big question mark heading into the 2017 season. As the group stepped onto the field, the defensive backs saw a majority of the action. Forced to defend against 68 pass attempts, the secondary surrendered 420 yards alongside three touchdowns. Despite snagging two interceptions, Urban Meyer will likely demand more from the starters in week two.
The real intrigue and strength of this defense lies with the defensive front. All eyes will be on the line of scrimmage come Saturday evening as the best defensive line pairs off against the best offensive line in college football. Employing four defensive ends in the trenches, the Ohio State front quickly became known as the “Rushmen.” Anchored by reigning Big 10 Defensive Lineman of the Year, Tyquan Lewis anchors the group.
Yet, the Buckeyes are now exploring the idea of five defensive lineman on the field at once — one playing as a “jack” linebacker. In week one, Lewis dropped the quarterback for two losses in the backfield while Sam Hubbard and Jalyn Holmes took over as the “jack.” Versatility and depth are keys to the success on the field as each defensive end can literally line up at the tackle, end, or linebacker spot.
Talk about an ability to disguise where the rush is coming from on each snap of the ball!
At the linebacker position, tOSU lacks significant experience behind the starting combination of Jerome Baker, Chris Worley, and Dante Booker. That doesn’t mean the group lacks depth as the coaching staff believes they’re “three deep at every position.” Regardless, this unit helped limit the opponent to 17 rushing yards in week one.
On the big stage in a home opener, this defense has lofty expectations. Can they repeat last year’s match up gaining a hand up in the Playoff race?