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Ohio State’s defensive line proved it’s the real deal against Indiana

Last Thursday we spelled redemption O-S-U

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Indiana Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State’s Week 1 victory over Indiana wasn’t the start-to-finish slaughter that some (including this guy) predicted, but we still saw plenty of the firepower that earned the Buckeyes a No. 2 preseason ranking:

  • The Hoosiers ran for just 17 yards and zero touchdowns on their 27 carries. Five sacks (which count as negative rushing yards for the quarterback in college) are the cause of horrendous average of 0.63 yards per attempt, but the Indiana non-quarterbacks’ 37 yards on 17 carries wasn’t much better.
  • Entering this season, Denzel Ward had not allowed a touchdown in his 44 total targets in coverage, per CFBFilmRoom. This streak ended Saturday, as Ward was mossed by 6'4" 220 pound Simmie Cobbs. Still, he looked like a No. 1 corner for most of the game, recording four solo tackles, five pass break ups, and an interception.
  • If you thought this defensive line could be a bit unfair for the opposition, you were proven correct last Thursday. Sam Hubbard and Dre’Mont Jones were particularly disruptive, combining for one sack, four hits, and nine hurries.

Despite a seemingly limitless amount of perfect back-shoulder throws from Indiana quarterback Richard Lagow, the Buckeyes defense largely dominated for 60 minutes. Let’s take a look at a few of the highlights.

It took awhile, but Ohio State’s secondary started to make plays

Down 7-3 in the second quarter, Indiana had driven all the way to the Buckeyes’ 14-yard and were threatening to take a double-digit lead on the Silver Bullets. Luckily, a well-timed zone call, combined with athletic plays by cornerback Kendall Sheffield and safety Jordan Fuller, led to the Silver Bullets’ first takeaway of the season:

Fuller earned some time on special teams last season, but both of the former four-star defensive backs made their real debut Thursday. Lagow may have thrown for 410 yards, but it took him 65 passes to get there, and the Buckeyes secondary flashed some of the potential that could help them grow up sooner rather than later this season.

Under Pressure

The Buckeyes defensive line reached Lagow at will Thursday, as he was routinely taken to the ground the second he moved on from his first read. Four separate Buckeyes managed to tally a sack, with reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the year TyGod Lewis collecting two:

Lewis has enough bend to capture the corner against most offensive tackles, as he demonstrates in the first clip, but he’s also able to bump inside as a defensive tackle which allows the Buckeyes the chance to get all four of their freak ends on the field at the same time. Lewis may not have the pedigree of Nick Bosa, or the god-given talent of Hubbard, but he sure looked like the class of the group last Thursday night.

It’s not the worst thing when Ohio State starts their season with a 28 point win in Big Ten play that also gives the coaches plenty of film to critique. The Buckeyes will need to play better in all three phases of the game to achieve their goals this season, but last Thursday night demonstrated the reason for the high expectations for this group. In a game where Meyer didn’t even feel the need to put his No. 1 running back in harms way, the Buckeyes physically dominated and took care of business. Hopefully this time around the performance wasn’t too “basic” for any Oklahoma quarterbacks.

The final: 49-21, Ohio State

Defensive player of the game: Tyquan Lewis (2 sacks)

Defensive play of the game: Jordan Fuller interception deep in Buckeye territory.

Next Victim: Oklahoma. Till next week, Columbus.