OSU Defense Holding Up High Standards

Cornerbacks Malcolm Jenkins and Antonio Smith each had an interception for a touchdown as Ohio State downed Penn State 28-6 in Saturday's Big Ten opener. The Buckeyes slammed the door on third down, allowing the Nittany Lions to convert just 3 of 14 third downs. Click here for more on the defense.

Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis heard the cheers and the uplifting screams that only a home crowd can provide a defense.

When the opening to AC/DC's Hells Bells hits in Ohio Stadium, it usually means an important third down. Yesterday against Penn State, it was no different for the Buckeyes.

And they were up to the task.

"I think you get a little sense of urgency when things start happening like that," said the sophomore who once again led the Buckeyes with 10 tackles. "Your backs are against the wall on third and short and there's a sense of urgency."

The Buckeyes held Penn State to 3-of-14 on third down conversions, many of which were short yardage situations or goal line stands.

The crowd of 105,266 played a small part in a major adrenaline rush for the Ohio State defense that held Penn State to a total of 248 yards on the day. As the Buckeye defense is now allowing just 8.0 points a game this season, they have held opponents to 10-of-48 on those key third downs – 21 percent.

"Our crowd played a big part in this game," said cornerback Malcolm Jenkins. "They made it hard for their offense to hear and it gave us a boost."

Jenkins had four tackles, a pass-breakup and an interception that was returned 61-yards for a touchdown.

Jenkins had one of three interceptions for Ohio State along with Antonio Smith and Laurinaitis. It's the second consecutive week the Buckeyes had three interceptions – a feat they last accomplished in 2001.

"We've always been preaching that we've got a lot of guys with a lot of talent," said defensive end Vernon Gholston. "Those guys are doing a great job back there (in the secondary). They're getting to it, getting picks and now taking it back."

Ohio State also did a nice job containing Penn State's talented wide receiver core including Jordan Norwood, Deon Butler and Derrick Williams. The three combined on 10 catches but for just 69 yards.

"They had good corners, (and a) good secondary," Williams said. "We had our shots but we just didn't make the plays."

Ohio State has an interception in all four games this season and with eight interceptions this season by Ohio State, they have already equaled the total of the entire 2005 season in 12 games. Ohio State has also recovered a fumble for a total of nine turnovers.

"One of our goals this season was to force a lot of turnovers," Jenkins added.

Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel was happy with the defensive performance.

"Whenever your defense holds a team to six points, you ought to have a chance," he said. "And when your defense scores two touchdowns, it's pretty darn good."

Most impressively, Ohio State has not allowed a second-half touchdown in any of the first four games this season.

Penn State coach Joe Paterno said his offense was stymied because of the talent and speed on the Ohio State defense.

"Their defense played well," he said of the Buckeyes. "They can run, they are well-coached and run a good scheme.

"They held Texas to a touchdown on their own field," Paterno added. "So I knew it wasn't going to be easy, but I thought we played hard and we were in it until the end."

Although neither Tressel nor Paterno would make excuses for the lack of offensive production on Saturday from their respective offenses (501 yards total offense between the two teams), the rain played a large factor for much of the first three quarters.

Laurinaitis echoed that belief.

"Any time it rains, it helps you out as a defensive player," he explained.

Ohio State is now giving up 115 yards a game rushing and 167 passing for 282 total yards a game. The Buckeyes rank No. 37 overall in the nation in total defense, and No. 7 overall in scoring defense.

With 16 sacks, Ohio State is tied for No. 6 nationally and the third-down percentage defense is No. 4 overall behind UCLA, Oregon State and Louisville. Further, the Buckeyes are now third in tackles for loss in the country.

"We're not surprised," Gholston said. "In the beginning, we wanted to come out and see what we were about. Now we know what we're about."




Buckeye Sports Top Stories

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","mobileBody":"Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis heard the cheers and the uplifting screams that only a home crowd can provide a defense.

When the opening to AC/DC's Hells Bells hits in Ohio Stadium, it usually means an important third down. Yesterday against Penn State, it was no different for the Buckeyes.

And they were up to the task.

\"I think you get a little sense of urgency when things start happening like that,\" said the sophomore who once again led the Buckeyes with 10 tackles. \"Your backs are against the wall on third and short and there's a sense of urgency.\"

The Buckeyes held Penn State to 3-of-14 on third down conversions, many of which were short yardage situations or goal line stands.

The crowd of 105,266 played a small part in a major adrenaline rush for the Ohio State defense that held Penn State to a total of 248 yards on the day. As the Buckeye defense is now allowing just 8.0 points a game this season, they have held opponents to 10-of-48 on those key third downs – 21 percent.

\"Our crowd played a big part in this game,\" said cornerback Malcolm Jenkins. \"They made it hard for their offense to hear and it gave us a boost.\"

Jenkins had four tackles, a pass-breakup and an interception that was returned 61-yards for a touchdown.

Jenkins had one of three interceptions for Ohio State along with Antonio Smith and Laurinaitis. It's the second consecutive week the Buckeyes had three interceptions – a feat they last accomplished in 2001.

\"We've always been preaching that we've got a lot of guys with a lot of talent,\" said defensive end Vernon Gholston. \"Those guys are doing a great job back there (in the secondary). They're getting to it, getting picks and now taking it back.\"

Ohio State also did a nice job containing Penn State's talented wide receiver core including Jordan Norwood, Deon Butler and Derrick Williams. The three combined on 10 catches but for just 69 yards.

\"They had good corners, (and a) good secondary,\" Williams said. \"We had our shots but we just didn't make the plays.\"

Ohio State has an interception in all four games this season and with eight interceptions this season by Ohio State, they have already equaled the total of the entire 2005 season in 12 games. Ohio State has also recovered a fumble for a total of nine turnovers.

\"One of our goals this season was to force a lot of turnovers,\" Jenkins added.

Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel was happy with the defensive performance.

\"Whenever your defense holds a team to six points, you ought to have a chance,\" he said. \"And when your defense scores two touchdowns, it's pretty darn good.\"

Most impressively, Ohio State has not allowed a second-half touchdown in any of the first four games this season.

Penn State coach Joe Paterno said his offense was stymied because of the talent and speed on the Ohio State defense.

\"Their defense played well,\" he said of the Buckeyes. \"They can run, they are well-coached and run a good scheme.

\"They held Texas to a touchdown on their own field,\" Paterno added. \"So I knew it wasn't going to be easy, but I thought we played hard and we were in it until the end.\"

Although neither Tressel nor Paterno would make excuses for the lack of offensive production on Saturday from their respective offenses (501 yards total offense between the two teams), the rain played a large factor for much of the first three quarters.

Laurinaitis echoed that belief.

\"Any time it rains, it helps you out as a defensive player,\" he explained.

Ohio State is now giving up 115 yards a game rushing and 167 passing for 282 total yards a game. The Buckeyes rank No. 37 overall in the nation in total defense, and No. 7 overall in scoring defense.

With 16 sacks, Ohio State is tied for No. 6 nationally and the third-down percentage defense is No. 4 overall behind UCLA, Oregon State and Louisville. Further, the Buckeyes are now third in tackles for loss in the country.

\"We're not surprised,\" Gholston said. \"In the beginning, we wanted to come out and see what we were about. Now we know what we're about.\"

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