After Ohio State’s 10-point loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship game this past Saturday, the Buckeyes will face the Clemson Tigers in the Orange Bowl on January 3rd. Looking both back and ahead a bit, here are some of my thoughts on the scarlet and gray.
- The Buckeye defense, much maligned all season, finally caught up to the Buckeyes. People point to the offense scoring just 24 points as to the reason that the Buckeyes lost the Big Ten Championship game. I can understand that, but giving up 34 points to Michigan State’s offense is not an acceptable outcome. They made Connor Cook look like an elite quarterback, throwing for 300 yards. Sure, he made the throws the downfield, but it was again a product of the Buckeyes (minus Joey Bosa, who played one hell of a game) not getting enough pressure with their front four. It’s also goes back to scheme a bit too. Having your safeties covering wide receivers deep is not a recipe for success, and it seemed like Cook was able to find Barnett or Brown in moments of coverage weakness.
- So, what’s the real problem with the defense? I think people forget to mention that the Buckeyes lost one of the most important players on the unit early in the season when senior safety Christian Bryant broke his leg. In 5 games, he had 22 tackles, and last season, he was second on the defense in tackles (71), pass breakups (12), passes defended (13), and forced fumbles (2). The losses of Jonathon Hankins and John Simon to the NFL still sting, but I think they’ve been effected more by the loss of a guy like Zach Boren, who converted over from fullback to linebacker to be a solid complement to Ryan Shazier. [Read more...]