Woof. Despite retaining largely the same front seven and offense that gave the Sooners fits in 2016, Ohio State was soundly beaten by Oklahoma 31-16. The Buckeyes were tied at three going into half time, but the defense wilted before the offense could ever find its groove. A few notes:
- Last season Ohio State won the time of possession battle 35:49 to 24:11. This season the Sooners came out on top 35:17 to 24:43. Even a defense as good as Ohio State’s will eventually lose their edge if left on the field for too long, and it’s safe to say the Sooners’ 72 offensive plays were a few too many for the Buckeyes to handle.
- The Buckeyes largely held the Sooners ground game in check, as they converted their 37 carries into just 104 yards and a short touchdown. The issue: pass defense. The Buckeyes have allowed more passing yards than any FBS team through two weeks. DBU sounded a lot better this time last month.
- Ohio State forced two timely turnovers to keep the game close in the first half, but ultimately struggled to force negative plays and get the Sooners off the field: The Buckeyes forced just one three-and-out out of Oklahoma’s 11 drives.
Yes, there are more than a handful of mistakes for Ohio State to learn from, but there also some stellar moments sprinkled in here and there. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Chris Worley is filling in just fine for Raekwon McMillan
McMillan started for the better part of his three seasons in Columbus, and the switch to the 6’2, 225 pound Worley raised some eyebrows considering how physical the interior of any Big Ten defense can be. Through two games, Worley has flashed sideline-to-sideline tackling ability, while also proving to be more than stout holding up the middle of the Buckeyes defense:
It’s not like Ohio State is playing with the smallest guys in college, but they prioritize speed over size in a player. The evolution of spread offenses makes it difficult to have run-only defenders on the field anymore, and players like Worley who can provide a physical presence without being a liability in coverage are invaluable. The Buckeyes have some work to do on the outside, but the middle of their defense is in good hands with Worley.
Nick Bosa is making his case as the best defensive lineman on the country’s best defensive line
Bosa’s freshman season was far from disappointing, but it still seemed as if we hadn’t seen the best from 2016’s No. 8 overall recruit. This year he’s recorded a sack during each game and proven to be nearly unblockable wherever the Buckeyes line him up:
Expecting a pulling center to block Bosa was a borderline insult and #97 was sure to make the Sooners pay. Bosa just missed a sack on Mayfield last season, and he wouldn’t let the opportunity go to waste this time around. Bosa joins Sam Hubbard and Tyquan Lewis as Ohio State defensive ends with two sacks, and the season-long race for the team lead should be a joy to watch.
Aside from a painful memory of an unfamiliar double-digit loss in the Horseshoe, not much as changed for the 2017 Buckeyes. Eleven consecutive wins (including the Big Ten Championship) will likely lead Ohio State back into the College Football Playoff, but the team that showed up last Saturday night will need to improve. The Buckeyes have the talent, coaching, and experience to thrive in all phases of the game, now they just have to go out there on Saturday and put it all together.
The final: 31-16, Oklahoma
Defensive player of the game: Chris Worley (11 tackles, 1 forced fumble)
Defensive play of the game: Chris Worley forced fumble.
Next Victim: Army. Remember to put your camouflage and American flags away for the week. Keep it classy, Columbus.