Week-Twelve Thoughts: OSU Defense

Ohio State dominated the second half and defeated Michigan 42-13 Saturday afternoon in Ann Arbor. Who stood out defensively for the Buckeyes?

- No matter how much they change the rules in college football, the best recipe for winning games is still dominating the line of scrimmage and that's excatly what Ohio State did on both sides of the football Saturday in the win over Michigan. I wrote in the game preview that for Ohio State to play well defensively the stars needed to play like stars. In this game, the stars played like stars. 

- Joey Bosa played his best game of the year, and he was more than a handful for the Wolverine offensive line. I love when they move him around, so every offensive lineman gets a shot to not be able to block him. He and Adolphus Washington dominated the line of scrimmage completely and totally, which allowed Tyquan Lewis and Michael Hill to clean up the running game. And there was no Michigan running game to speak of. 

- The linebackers were amazing in this game, and they were asked to blitz the quarterback, stop the running game and defend against a talented tight end like Jake Butt. Safe to say Michigan has not seen players like Josh Perry, Darron Lee and Raekwon McMillan this season, and they sure don't have anyone close to these three playing linebacker on their side. I haven't seen a better threesome this season, and it's so rare to see all be three-down players against any type of offense they face. 

- The Ohio State game plan was to stop Jake Rudock from beating them over the top, and they once again needed Gareon Conley and Eli Apple to be solid in man coverage. And they were. Jehu Chesson and Amarah Darboh had some success, as did Rudock, but they were not able to put points on the scoreboard. In the second half, Michigan was totally dominated and could only muster a meaningless field goal. So much of the Ohio State success on defense is based on the corners playing man-to-man, and this was the main reason Chris Ash was hired by Urban Meyer. Ash changed Ohio State from a soft zone defense, to an in-your-face man coverage squad. 

- The strength of the Ash defense is that he has the ability to take away what an opponent does best, and makes you try to beat him doing what you don't want to do. Or else die with your game plan. Michigan needed to shred the Ohio State secondary with Rudock, and when that couldn't work they had nowhere to go. It has to be nice for Meyer to go into games needing to find a way to score 24 points, because if he does that, a victory is probably coming his way. 

- With all the coaching changes in college football, I would expect Ash to get looks at different schools. One thing in Ohio State's favor is that most schools want an offensive coach running the show. I could also see Ash getting NFL looks as a coordinator, but he will not leave Ohio State to be the defensive coordinator at any other college program. He would take a MAC job, and both Toledo and Bowling Green should be open. Getting another year out of Ash would be huge in terms of continuity for this defense, especially with so many starters leaving after this season. 


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