For the fourth consecutive week, the Buckeyes pounded an inferior opponent into submission. A quick recap of the season through it’s halfway point:
- After a slow start against Indiana, Ohio State won easily by four touchdowns.
- The Buckeyes were beaten soundly by Oklahoma 31-16 in Week 2.
- Ohio State outscored Army, UNLV, Rutgers, and Maryland 210-42 over the past four weeks.
- The starting defense allowed just 14 of those 42 points, and an average of just 204.25 total yards per game.
Sure, beating the pulp out of the perennial bottom feeders of the Big Ten isn’t as exhilarating as ice fishing or some of the Buckeyes’ top-10 ranked matchups, but it certainly beats losing to the likes of Iowa State or Troy.
Let’s take a look at some of the Buckeyes’ stand-out moments from Saturday’s beat down of a Maryland offense that totaled 66 (!!!) total yards of offense.
HOW WAS THAT TARGETING
Joey Bosa’s college career ended on an overturned quarterback-hit-turned interception, but at least that ruling made sense from a safety standpoint. It’s hard to say the same about Denzel Ward’s mauling of the Terrapins.
Ohio State plays a ton of man coverage, as well as cover four. In both schemes, the outside cornerbacks are responsible for covering their man deep. For this reason, Maryland believed that they had an easy completion on a routine out-route with Ward getting chased out of the picture by his man’s go-route. Based on the reactions from Ohio State’s secondary, they appeared to in fact by playing cover four, which makes Ward’s gamble to come off of his man and lay the lumber that much more impressive:
Denzel Ward ejected for targeting on this hit. What do y'all think? pic.twitter.com/MRAtue5ltN— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) October 7, 2017
Ward should’ve had a touchdown here, but becoming Twitter famous will have to do. The play itself is nothing new from Ward, as he’s flashed his willingness to lay big hits throughout his career on kickoff coverage, as well on Oklahoma’s 6’5” 250-pound tight end in 2016. It’s fair to say he isn’t the same-caliber cover-corner as Gareon Conley or Marshon Lattimore, but neither of those aforementioned studs brought Ward’s hitting mentality to the table either.
The development of Chase Young appears to be coming along nicely
Ohio State’s abundance of ridiculously talented defensive linemen can be taken for granted sometimes, especially when it comes to the unit’s overall depth. Take Young, the No. 7 overall player in the 2016 recruiting class, who notched his first of many career sacks during the third quarter Saturday:
Just as Joel Klatt was calling him a future first round NFL Draft pick, Chase Young forces a fumble pic.twitter.com/ij1Xj1nQ6b— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) October 7, 2017
At 6’5” 240 pounds, Young is ready to contribute right away — and has. He’s mostly been used in specific pass rush situations, if at all, before being deployed with the Buckeyes already up by several scores, but Urban Meyer listed Young as just one of seven defensive champions from last week alongside starters Jerome Baker, Nick Bosa, Jalyn Holmes, Sam Hubbard, Tyquan Lewis, and Dante Booker. We definitely haven’t seen the best of Young yet, but he’s already playing at a high-enough level to understand why Holmes unironically suggested Young could be a future No. 1 overall pick.
The Silver Bullets finally find the end zone!
The 2016 Buckeyes defense scored so often that they literally out-scored the Bowling Green, Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Rutgers offenses through the first four weeks of the season. It took a bit longer this season, but a familiar beast helped a familiar playmaker score the first defensive touchdown of the season:
Nick Bosa with the strip, Jerome Baker with the scoop and score. 14-0, Buckeyes. pic.twitter.com/YSRoJ8OOZV— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) October 7, 2017
Maryland attempted to throw a quick pass to the sideline, but Bosa’s ridiculously smooth rip past the Terrapins left tackle was too much to overcome. Of course, Holmes and Hubbard had also moved the line of scrimmage backwards by five yards in sheer seconds, demonstrating the difficulty in trying to block four future-NFL defensive ends at once.
The first half of the season is over, and the Buckeyes now have three conference road games to go, along with two ranked match-ups at home, over the course of their final six games.
The final: 62-14, Ohio State
Defensive player of the game: Nick Bosa (5 tackles, 2 TFLs, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble)
Defensive play of the game: Nick Bosa strip sack leads to Jerome Baker touchdown.
Next Victim: Nebraska. Keep it classy, Columbus.