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Malik Hooker highlights a dominating Ohio State defensive performance

Heck of a performance by a young defensive corp.

NCAA Football: Bowling Green at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Bowling Green is far from a powerhouse, but they also aren’t your typical early-season MAC opponent. The Falcons have totaled eight or more wins in each of the past four seasons, had college football’s sixth-best scoring offense in 2015 and have won two of the last three MAC Championships. Granted, Bowling Green was forced to replace their leading passer, rusher and receiver from a season ago, but still: the Falcons are a good football team that got beaten down by a flurry of silver bullets this past Saturday.

With no resemblance of a passing or rushing attack, Bowling Green didn’t have an answer for the Buckeyes’ consistently tight coverage. Malik Hooker looked a lot like Ohio State’s next elite safety, Gareon Conley showed he’s more than capable of being Ohio State’s new No. 1 corner, and the only real bad news on the day was the loss of starting defensive tackle Tracy Sprinkle - gone for the season due to an injury to his patella tendon.

Such a one-sided game left a lack of true “impact” defensive plays - it’s hard to sway the outcome on defense too much when you’re up by two-plus scores for 80 percent of the game. Still, there was plenty of action worth taking highlighted, starting with the very first play of the game.

Eric Glover-Williams is fast, man

The phrase “dominated from the opening kickoff” is probably overused, and not true in this game either due to J.T. Barrett’s ill-advised pick-six, but the opening kickoff of any season will inevitably mean a little bit more than others. The Los Angeles Rams opened up their remodeled home in LA by allowing a kick-off return for a touchdown. Ohio State took a slightly different course of action:

The Buckeyes have been on the forefront of the kick-off revolution that has substituted slower linebackers and full backs for smaller, but way faster, receivers and corners. Sophomore Eric Glover-Williams is one of many burners on the unit, and he took it upon himself to not only win the first kick-off race of the season, but also to make one helluva open-field tackle while he was at it. Glover-Williams was one of the few true-freshman to play in 2015, and as one of the more versatile secondary players on the roster, could see more of the field this year if he keeps making plays like the above.

Turns out everything we heard about Malik Hooker was true

We heard he could make plays. We heard he was an unreal athlete. Still, no amount of knowledge could possibly prepare you for the show Hooker put on Saturday. You’ve likely seen every angle of his ridiculous one-handed interception, but the one below truly demonstrates just how amazing of a play this was:

Hooker starts the play off on the left-hash, but rolls over to his position as Ohio State’s deep-middle safety at the snap of the ball. He never hesitates, however, as Hooker immediately reads the deep route from the slot-receiver, and proceeds to somehow run half-way across the field to make one of the more impressive interceptions you’ll ever see. Hooker obviously has the range and ball-skills to thrive as Ohio State’s deep center-fielder, but now that all of America also knows this, don’t be surprised if the deep middle of the Buckeyes’ defense isn’t tested for awhile.

Nick Bosa has arrived

With higher expectations than arguably any other true-freshman on the team, Nick Bosa had a great first game as a Buckeye, highlighted by his first sack. With Sprinkle out for the season Ohio State will need to rely on Bosa sooner than they might have planned, but this may not be an issue if he keeps making plays like this:

At this point in the game the Buckeyes weren’t sending many blitzes, so any pressure would have to be generated purely by the linemen. Bosa, lined up on the right side of the line, gets started with a quick first step, similar to his brother.

Showing off his strength, Bosa gets a great initial push that puts the Bowling Green left tackle in a compromising position. Ideally Bosa would have better arm extension here, but he is still able to keep his hands free regardless, which allows him to swim back to the inside and to the quarterback.

A great swim-move by Bosa frees him to rush the quarterback, but takes a risk by going inside. Defensive ends in almost any base-defense are tasked with not only rushing the passer, but also keeping contain in the pocket. If the Bowling Green quarterback was able to evade Bosa and get outside the pocket to his left, that would be Bosa’s fault for not keeping contain. However, most coaches will be content with their defensive ends going inside as long as they make the sack, which Bosa did. This excellent display of strength and quickness set up the moment Buckeye fans have been waiting for:

And he didn’t shrug! C’mon Nick. Any number of twitter-trolls who claim you aren’t allowed to use Joey’s celebration because you haven’t done enough yet will be outweighed by delirious Buckeye fans who are just happy to have another #97 wrecking havoc in opposing backfields. Perhaps Bosa was too caught up in the moment to pimp his first sack with his brother’s patented shrug, but either way it was a great play in the young Bosa’s first collegiate game.

The final: 77-10 Ohio State.

Defensive player of the game: Malik Hooker.

Defensive play of the game: Malik Hooker one-handed interception.

Next victim: Tulsa. See you all next week.