In the locker room, interview room or probably any other room, Ashton Youboty is of a calm, quiet and collected demeanor. But when it comes to opponents' passing games, he's a silent killer.
Saturday, in Ohio State's 31-6 win against the No. 21 Iowa Hawkeyes, Youboty again played a pivotal role leading the Buckeyes to victory.
Helping to hold Iowa's leading receiver Ed Hinkel to six catches for 47 yards, Youboty played an inspired game in pass coverage as well as stopping the run. Youboty's motto for the afternoon: no big plays.
"Overall, we had no big plays and in all our games, or in the last three games we've had at least three big plays of over 20 yards or so," Youboty recalled. "I don't think we had any this game so I think we did our job."
Hinkel entered the game with 10 catches for 104 yards. Meanwhile, Iowa's big-play man Clinton Solomon was limited to a pair of receptions for 19 yards. He had 154 yards and three touchdowns on the season previously.
When Iowa quarterback Drew Tate wasn't running for his life, the secondary was holding its end of the bargain against the Hawkeyes' receiving core, giving up only 146 yards passing. The longest play given up by the defense all day was only 15 yards.
Tate did manage to complete 22 passes on the afternoon, but most of those were of the three to five yard variety. About the only blemish all day was a play where true freshman Malcolm Jenkins was flagged for both a holding and pass interference penalty on the same play down the sideline.
Youboty managed five tackles on the day, and was also credited with a pass-breakup. The soft-spoken Youboty played the role of politician after Tate slammed the ball down in disgust following a third-quarter sack by Bobby Carpenter.
"I ran to the ref and made sure he threw that flag out after he spiked the ball," Youboty pronounced.
Much to his chagrin, he was only rewarded with Iowa being given a delay-of-game penalty instead of the 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct.
"You win some and you lose some I guess," he said with a laugh.
It wasn't all fun and games for Youboty. The quiet leader had some pretty tough goals that he didn't get accomplished.
Although Ohio State fans might think the day couldn't have gone any more perfect, Youboty disagrees.
"I was actually hoping we could hold them under 100 yards, but you know, they made plays," he relented. "I think as a defense we can keep this going if we do our job."
The 6-1 188-pound, junior cornerback is blossoming into one of the best coverage/tackling corners that Ohio State has seen in a parade of high performers that includes Shawn Springs, Antoine Winfield, Ahmed Plummer and Dustin Fox.
He also helps spearhead a defense that might be as good as anyone in the country. This latest performance holding Iowa to a total of 137 yards ranks arguably second among Youboty's personal favorites.
"This is close. I think the Fiesta Bowl against Kansas State that first half was a dominating performance," he said. "Overall, I think this would be ahead for us."
The Texas native says their goal as a unit every time is to make the opposition go three-and-out each series. That task is a little easier when Ohio State wins the game of field position.
Youboty talked about how nice it is as a defender when Josh Huston pins every kickoff into the endzone, causing a touchback or when the punt team is able to pin the ball deep.
"Huston just seems to always kick it into the back of the end zone," he said. "Not too many teams can drive the ball 80 yards consistently."
There's not too much else he could say to express his satisfaction from the Buckeyes' first win of the Big 10 season. But the quiet killer let a little revenge show through his words.
"It was fun just being out there and being on the other side of the table," he summed up of the revenge win against Iowa who throttled the Buckeyes a year ago in Iowa City.
Youboty entered the contest with 13 tackles and a pair of pass-breakups. Last season as a true sophomore, Youboty recorded 61 tackles on the season and also registered four interceptions.