clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

This Ohio State defense might be scary good

The Buckeyes’ defense basic-ally destroyed Oklahoma.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Oklahoma Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Wow. Just wow:

  • Ohio State finally allowed an offensive touchdown. BUT, thanks to a Jerome Baker pick-six, the Silver Bullets are still up 24 to 23 against the offenses from Bowling Green, Tulsa and Oklahoma. This is impressive.
  • Oklahoma running back Samaje Perine (the all-time single game rushing leader) has averaged 112 yards on 18 carries with 1.4 touchdowns per game in his career. Saturday he had 60 yards on 17 carries and zero touchdowns, an average of just 3.5 yards per carry. This is bad.
  • Baker Mayfield had a historic performance on Saturday. He set several single-game career lows including: third-lowest completion percentage, most interceptions, second-lowest quarterback rating and the second-lowest yards per attempt average. As Mayfield said himself, “We got our asses kicked.” #Basic.

It turns out inexperience doesn’t matter a whole lot when it comes with overwhelming speed and talent. Ohio State beat up Oklahoma for 60 minutes this past Saturday and the 45 to 24 final actually seems a bit misleading. Let’s take a look at three of the more impressive plays from the blood bath in Norman.

Maybe Jerome Baker should be starting?

Nothing against Dante Booker, who has missed the past two games with an MCL sprain, but Baker has absolutely balled out the past two weeks. Against Oklahoma he had seven tackles, 1.5 sacks and another one-handed interception which turns into a 68-yard return for a touchdown:

Oklahoma had five offensive linemen to block just three Buckeyes, but defensive end Jalyn Holmes was curiously forgotten and managed to tip Mayfield’s quick pass. Baker was spying Mayfield to prevent a scramble, but instead wound up with the ball and a wide open path to the end zone. He nearly scored against Tulsa on a fumble recovery and demonstrates just how deep Ohio State is at linebacker. For his efforts Baker was named co-Defensive Player of the Week with Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers*. Even if Booker reclaims his starting spot, Baker has a bright future ahead and is just a sophomore.

*Friendly reminder: Peppers is extremely far from a bad player, but he does have as many collegiate interceptions to this point as LGHL’s fearless leaders, Luke Zimmermann and Matt Brown.

Marshon Lattimore is now tied for the Big Ten lead in interceptions...with teammate Malik Hooker

Both Lattimore and Hooker have more interceptions than half the Big Ten. Seriously. Maryland, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Michigan State and Illinois have two interceptions each this year. Lattimore could’ve had another one on Saturday, but either the ball hit the ground of the refs just couldn’t fathom how a cornerback is capable of making such an unreal diving catch. Either way, the interception he did have was a thing of beauty:

Nick Bosa allowed Mayfield to break contain, but still made him uncomfortable enough to cause a deep throw across his field. Lattimore was in such good position it seemed as if the pass was intended for him and he once again showed some nice open field moves on his way to a 21 yard return. He’s now intercepted 30 percent of ball thrown his way in 2016 and may be counted on as the Buckeyes’ No. 1 corner if Gareon Conley misses any time with his apparent shoulder injury.


After Conley went down, it was Ohio State’s fastest player Ward who stepped up. Norman is a long way from The Shoe, but I’m fairly certain this hit was heard all over Columbus:

Mayfield’s pass was on target to his tight end, but it didn’t matter because Ward can apparently run like a receiver but hit like a linebacker. The play was made even better thanks to Ward standing and flexing over the fallen Sooner. Ohio State puts a lot of pressure on quarterbacks thanks to their tight coverage, but the secondary is also more than capable of laying down the boom when necessary. Ward won’t play too much on defense unless Conley misses some time, but you can always see him on making plays on kickoffs. He’s usually the first guy down the field.

The final: 45-24, Ohio State

Defensive player of the game: Jerome Baker

Defensive play of the game: Jerome Baker pick-six

Next victim: Rutgers. Enjoy the bye week, see you all on the other side.