Week-Eight: Ohio State Defense Vs. Rutgers

Ohio State rolled over Rutgers 49-7 last Saturday, as the defense had their second straight impressive performance. Who stood out on the defensive side of the football?

- The Ohio State defense dominated Rutgers last Saturday in the 49-7 win, allowing only a garbage time touchdown by primarily backups. After the opening drive where Rutgers moved the football and missed a field goal, the Knights had no chance to move the ball at all. Rutgers averaged less than 3 yards per rush, and ended up with less than 200 passing yards. That recipe will win the game 95% of the time. 

- For Ohio State, a point of emphasis all week in practice was stopping the run, and they accomplished that goal. Joel Hale and Michael Hill split duties in the absence of Tommy Schutt, and both hung in there pretty well. Joey Bosa was Joey Bosa again, and that's almost enough for a defensive line to play well. Throw in Adolphus Washington, Tyquan Lewis and Sam Hubbard, and it was game, set and match. 

- For the linebackers, they turned Darron Lee loose more in this game, and it was no surprise that he was all over the field making plays. Josh Perry toughed it out on a bad ankle, and Raekwon McMillan had another solid game. This is a great unit, and that really shows when one of them is out of the game. Lee in paricular means so much to this defense, and he's asked to do a lot in coverage, blitzing the quarterback and stopping the run. He is a great football player.

- I know people seem to like to criticize the cornerbacks, and I would not agree with that at all. Gareon Conley is a better player than Doran Grant, because he's longer, quicker and has better hips. All he lacked earlier was experience, and you can see him getting better by the game. Eli Apple is as good at man coverage as anyone Ohio State has put out there in a long time. Ohio State's pass defense is predicated on these two being able to play man coverage on an island, the hardest job on the defensive side of the ball. Because these two are so good, Ohio State can do a lot of things defensively to disrupt opposing offenses. 

- I continue to marvel at Chris Ash's ability to game plan week after week to take away what his opponent wants to do. Have they been perfect this year? Not at all. They were hurt by a running QB they did not prepare to see against Indiana. Maryland hit them with a few big plays, but other than that it's been really good for the Buckeye defensive coordinator. He was hired to stop the blitzkreig from opposing quarterbacks throwing the football all over the Buckeye secondary. He does done that, and more. Others get a lot more run, and it's a shame he's not known nationally as the Ohio State defensive guru, but people in the know realize how sharp he is.

- The bye week comes at a good time for the defense, and they have a few guys that need to get healthy for the stretch run. I don't see Minnesota or Illinois being problems at all, and then it's going to be a fun two-week run to the Big Ten championship game. Michigan State will definitely look to throw it over the top of the DB's, while Michigan is going to look to ram it down the throats of the D-line. It will be up to Ash to slow down both attacks, and how well he does will determine if Ohio State remains undefeated or not. 

- I like where Ohio State is positioned on this side of the football. Are they dominant? At times they are that. Is anyone dominating on this side of the ball consistently over the past few years? Not really. This is the offensive era of college football, so you aren't going to see the gaudy stats you saw in the early 2000's. This defense is more than good enough to beat any team Ohio State will face down the road. If Urban Meyer now has the offense figured out, then Ohio State is going to be tough to beat. 

- Still have Ohio State at #1. Baylor would stay at #2. I would put Clemson at #3. Then would come about 15 teams tied for the fourth spot. It will be fun to see things shake out over the next month. 


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