Ohio State’s defensive staff prides itself on rotating in a number of talented athletes, but an injury to junior linebacker Dante Booker gave sophomore Jerome Baker an opportunity to start on Saturday against the Oklahoma Sooners, and he took full advantage. His standout defensive performance helped propel the Buckeyes to a 45-24 victory in Norman.
On the strength of seven total tackles, including one and a half sacks, and an interception return for a touchdown, Baker was named the co-Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week, the first such honor of his career.
His pick-six was one of two interceptions for the team on the game, upping the Buckeyes’ season total to nine, which is tied with Cincinnati and SMU for the most in the FBS. His 68-yard interception return is the fourth pick-six of the year for the Buckeye defense, which already matches the single-season school record for interception returns for a touchdown (1987 and 1996).
The last Ohio State Defensive Player of the Week came on November 9th of last year when safety Vonn Bell took home the honor. Baker shares this week’s accolade with Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers.
Congrats to Jerome on an honor well-deserved.