It turns out that Rutgers is who we thought they were. The Buckeyes’ 58-0 annihilation wasn’t quite enough to hit the over, but it was enough to let the rest of the Big Ten know that this year’s team won’t be satisfied by winning their games by “merely” a few touchdowns. A quick few notes on the defense:
- Saturday’s game was technically a tie as far as the Ohio State’s defense is concerned. That’s good enough for another week, as the Buckeyes’ defense is still up 24 to 23 against the offenses from Bowling Green, Tulsa, Oklahoma and Rutgers.
- Rutgers completed three passes on Saturday and averaged more yards per rush than they did per pass. They only averaged 2.2 yards per rush. This is not good.
- The Ohio State defense is No. 1 in the country in total yards and points allowed. Call me old-fashioned, but who needs DVOA when we can keep it to the two most simple defensive statistics ever invented?
- There are better spots to test the Buckeyes’ defense than downfield...opposing quarterbacks are just 2-for-19 for 58 yards and four interceptions on passes 20-plus yards downfield this season.
There were plenty of great individual performance against Rutgers, let’s take a look at a few:
Attention Big Ten: Quit trying ridiculous trick plays against Ohio State
Last year it was Illinois who failed miserably on an attempt flea flicker, though this year’s ill-advised trick play is just as horrendous:
Rutgers pic.twitter.com/AaBYl8cOdh— Steve Palazzolo (@PFF_Steve) October 3, 2016
Trick plays are great when they are executed properly, but this play appeared to never have a chance from the start. The running back tosses the ball to the wide receiver, who appears to be expecting a hand off, who then proceeds to blindly toss the ball to no one. Ohio State didn’t even really get much backfield penetration, but managed to cause the 17-yard loss anyways. It’s clear Rutgers would have to take a few chances in order to have a chance against the Buckeyes, but those chances should probably be better practiced before being displayed to the world on BTN.
Robert Landers is emerging in the interior of Ohio State’s defensive line
Landers was just a three-star recruit out of Wayne high school, but he is balling out as a red-shirt freshman. The loss of Tracy Sprinkle was a huge blow to the Buckeyes’ defensive line, though the recent play of Landers has the unit’s trajectory headed back to a positive direction:
After smoothly swimming past the Rutgers’ lineman, Landers has to fight through a chip from the tight end, but is strong and athletic enough to fend off both blocks and get to the quarterback. The Buckeyes have an abundance of edge rushers in Sam Hubbard, Tyquan Lewis and Jalyn Holmes; however, these edge rushers cannot get sacks unless the interior linemen are able to push the pocket and not allow the quarterback to step up. Landers did an excellent job of this all afternoon and managed to rack up two tackles for a loss. There’s already one Buckeye who is supposed to shrug after a sack, but maybe Landers could take after Flanders and give the crowd a happy wave after doing his business.
Speaking of Tyquan Lewis...
Lewis’ two sacks this season ties him for the team lead with Nick Bosa. Assuming Bosa is still on a mission to finish what big bear started, we could see a pretty great competition emerge for Ohio State’s sack leader. Both players got to the quarterback once against Rutgers, with Lewis showing excellent bend before he throws the Rutgers’ quarterback to the turf like a rag doll:
Though the silver bullets didn’t record any turnovers on Saturday, they were consistently in the backfield and racked up three sacks and seven tackles for a loss. If the defense continues to prevent big plays and forces offenses to attempt to drive the length of the field, look out, because this unit is loaded and playing at a very high level.
The final: 58-0, Ohio State
Defensive player of the game: Robert Landers
Defensive play of the game: Robert Landers sack
Next victim: Indiana. See you all next week.