OSU Defense Keeps Pace With Troy

Warning signs flashed all week to indicate that Ohio State's defense could be in for a long day when Troy came to Columbus because the Trojans like to do everything in a hurry, but the Buckeyes acquitted themselves just fine en route to a 28-10 victory.

A week after allowing 35 points to USC's pro-style attack, how would Ohio State's defense perform while having to shift gears and get a handle on these Trojans' up-tempo spread?

Just fine, thank you.

Troy amassed a modest 315 yards and scored just 10 points, or roughly 20 fewer than they averaged in three games against BCS conference foes Georgia, Florida and Arkansas last season.

Against the Buckeyes, the Trojans struggled to string together drives, posting five three-and-outs in 12 drives and running more than six plays in a row just three times.

They had seven plays of more than 10 yards, including two that went for more than 20.

Both plays from the latter category came on Troy's lone touchdown drive. Trojan quarterback Jamie Hamption first hit Andrew Davis down the middle for a 27-yard pass play then found Jerrel Jernigan with a short pass over the middle that Jernigan turned into a 45-yard touchdown by eluding about four different Buckeyes on who tried to come between him and the goal line.

That was largely all the Buckeyes would allow, though.

"Their offense is a fast-paced offense and to really hold them to 10 points, we're happy with that because we knew they would get some yards, which is the way their offense works, and hurry up and stuff like that, but we kind of stressed all week to keep up with their toughness and keep them out of the end zone," said linebacker James Laurinaitis, who led the Buckeyes with 12 tackles. "The one bad play we missed a few tackles, but I'm proud of the way the guys handled it. People weren't pointing fingers, weren't frustrated, they were just saying, ‘We have to relax and play football,' and that's part of the maturity of our defense out there."

Laurinaitis and his mates worked all week to prepare for the no-huddle, hurry-up style of Troy, work that seemed to pay off.

"We prepared for it throughout the whole week," Kurt Coleman said. "Everything we did we made sure was at a 20-second interval, so everybody was well-conditioned and mentally ready for that. It didn't faze us.

"We get the call in as fast as we can and try to disguise a lot of things. Once we get the indicator from the other teams, that's when we move around and go into our defense."

Although they still did not generate a great pass rush, the Buckeyes flowed to the ball and tackled well for the most part and posted a pair of takeaways, both coming on interceptions by Coleman.

The junior safety also had seven tackles, but his pair of thefts proved to be his biggest impacts on the contest.

He nabbed the first – also the first of his career – on a deflection off intended receiver Gerald Tate and secured it as he went to the ground at the Troy 37. That set up Ohio State's second touchdown, a 39-yard pass from Terrelle Pryor to Brian Robiskie that gave the Buckeyes a 14-3 lead with 9:08 to play in the first half.

The second stopped a third-quarter drive that had already covered 46 yards and was nearing the red zone. Coleman leapt high to snag a ball Hamilton had badly overthrown near the OSU goal line. Though Coleman was flipped upside down by Laurinaitis, he managed to hang onto the ball to snuff out the Trojan threat.

Coleman was also woozy for a bit.

"I've been taken out before, but not by my own teammate, but it's all good," he said with a laugh.

Cornerback Malcolm Jenkins felt it was about time Coleman got into the play-making act.

"Kurt is a player who's always around the ball," Jenkins said. "I joke with him all the time that he still hadn't joined the interception club. He came out and got two today so he's got more than I do on the year. He does a great job. He's always making plays so I'm happy that he finally got some."


Buckeye Sports Top Stories