Harrison: Ohio State's Duct Tape Defense
By Phil Harrison
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Ohio State's Duct Tape Defense
Defense, defense, and more defense.
You had a feeling when the bowl matchups came out, that an Ohio State team that had given up more air miles than a travel credit card over the last few games of the season would have a hard time slowing down the passing attack of Clemson. Then, news of suspensions, a flu-epidemic, and injuries piled up for the beleaguered crew, making the task even more daunting.
After almost five hundred yards and six touchdowns by Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd alone, in combination with an Orange Bowl record 227 yards receiving by wide receiver Sammy Watkins, the mountain proved to be too steep to climb for Urban Meyer's crew.
There was simply no stopping the Clemson train with the cardboard and tape defense Ohio State fielded tonight.
Take nothing away from the Buckeyes who stayed in this game with grit, heart, and determination by its all-everything quarterback Braxton Miller, but the eye test says that Meyer has some more explosive athletes that need to hit the field before things really take off in Columbus -- most notably on defense.
Ohio State had exactly zero athletes that could slow down the electricity supplied by Boyd, Watkins, et al, and It seemed as though the Clemson offense was operating in an entirely different gear than OSU from the time the bands took the field to when the oranges were being passed out.
Still, somehow, someway, the Scarlet and Gray almost squeezed the juice out of the oranges because of a slew of penalties and mistakes by Clemson. But, enter the pass-defense stage left. That, in combination with far too many costly turnovers when things really mattered for OSU sealed the deal for the Tigers.
So now it's back to the drawing board for Ohio State who will likely suffer another perception hit after getting beat by another "southern" team with speed to burn. The defense should be better next year with some extra seasoning, but everyone in Columbus will be on Braxton Miller watch to see if he comes back to drive the redemption car for his senior season.
If that's not a reason to get defensive, I don't know what is ...
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