Bank Blog: Quick Thoughts Defense

Ohio State kept their dream of playing for the national title alive Saturday night with a 31-24 win over Wisconsin. How did the Buckeye defense fare against the Badgers?

- First off, when looking at the Ohio State defensive effort against Wisconsin, this blog starts with Christian Bryant. His injury makes me want to puke because I love what this kid brings to the table. He might not be a great football player, but he is at least very, very, very good. He loves the game, loves Ohio State, loves his teammates, and is EXACTLY the type of player you want to go to war with. He will be missed.

- Secondly, you have to tip your hat to Jared Abbrederis. He went up against an All-American in Bradley Roby, and Abbrederis didn't just win the battle. He demolished Roby in a way that was shocking to observe. Had it been a boxing match, it would have been mercifully stopped to prevent a possible death. It was THAT bad.

- I loved Luke Fickell's game plan going in to this game. He schemed to take away Wisconsin's vaunted running game and he stopped them in their tracks. The plan was to force Joel Stave to have to throw the football to beat Ohio State, and that was absolutely the best way to play the Badgers. You only have to put your All-American cornerback on their top wideout, and take Abbrederis out of the game, Deon Sanders style. The problem was Roby played more like Colonel Sanders, and got extra crispied by Abbrederis.

- I really liked the play of about every defensive player on the field for Ohio State, with one notable exception and they gave a winning effort. Had Roby played anywhere near what people should reasonably expect, that game would not have been anywhere hear a seven point win. Had Roby held Abbrederis to five catches for 103 yards it would have been a below average showing. He gave up twice that. It happens to the best sometimes, and Roby is that in my eyes so you write it off. He might not have a game like that again in the next ten years.

- Could have been a stronger pass rush overall, but they did make Stave have to move in the pocket enough times to hurry him on occasion. What the defensive line did best was not allow Wisconsin to get the running game rolling downhill. Really liked Michael Bennett in this game, and he might have played his best game as a Buckeye. This group certainly gave a winning performance.

- The linebackers were also good, and Ryan Shazier is an improved player over last year. Curtis Grant wasn't dominant, but he didn't get trucked either. He had a big sack, and flashed some speed getting to Stave on the play. Kind of disappointed in Josh Perry, but he's still a young player. Shazier is just so much fun to watch, and he really plays the game so hard.

- It got to the point where I was wishing they would flop Roby and Doran Grant, and give the young guy a shot at Abbrederis. I've always propped up Grant as a cornerback and still really like his talent. Going to be interesting to see how they replace Bryant, especially with pass-happy Northwestern on deck.

- Really liked the punting of Cameron Johnson tonight, and he was a key to the win. Had six punts and all six dropped inside the 20-yard line. Wisconsin punted five times, with zero landing inside the 20-yard line.

- I predicted Wisconsin to score 21, so them getting 24 is no shock to me. Had Roby been Roby, a nice defensive effort would have been an excellent defensive effort. That's a good sign because Roby will probably be Roby by tomorrow morning.

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