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Ohio State’s defense is loaded with blue-chip talent, which makes their struggles even more puzzling

The Buckeyes look like they’ll need a major overhaul on the defensive side of the football if they want to fix the issues that have popped up this year.

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Penn State James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

It seems like every year Ohio State has to reload on defense after seeing a number of quality players either graduate or head off to the NFL. Over the past few years, Ohio State has been able to plug in talent to their holes on defense and not miss a beat. This year has been a whole different case, as the Buckeyes are 49th in the S&P+ rankings.

The failings of the defense have been especially troubling due to the blue-chip talent the Buckeyes have amassed on defense. Ohio State was undoubtedly hurt by the loss of defensive end Nick Bosa to injury, but the problems with the Buckeye defense goes a lot deeper than the loss of Bosa. Ohio State is giving up an unacceptable number of big plays, and with the Buckeye defensive coaches sounding like they aren’t going to make any big scheme changes the rest of the year, the problem might not get fixed anytime soon.

Normally some of the failings of a defense this hyped can be blamed on inexperience, but that isn’t the case with Ohio State’s depth chart showing seven juniors and four sophomores as starters for the Purdue game. Those players just failed to live up to the lofty expectations that followed them to Columbus.

Ohio State had a similar downturn in defense at the end of the 2013 season, which led to the Buckeyes retooling their defensive coaching staff. With questions about Urban Meyer’s future as head coach, another significant overhaul of the defensive coaching staff could be in the works sooner rather than later for the Buckeyes. Even if Meyer returns next season, it’s likely there could be a number of current Ohio State defensive coaches who are working elsewhere.

“I think we’ve gotten more of (a run mentality) since the Purdue loss. We got away from it a little bit throwing the ball so much but I think during the bye week and this week of practice, we came out with an attitude to run the ball more.”

Ohio State tackle Isaiah Prince via Patrick Murphy, Bucknuts

Normally Ohio State sees their running game working and is asking questions of their passing games, but this year is a totally different story. The Buckeyes are rushing for 171 yards per game, which is the lowest total during Urban Meyer’s tenure at Ohio State. Luckily the Buckeyes have been able to rely on the arm of Dwayne Haskins to put up points most of the year, with Ohio State averaging 13 more passes per game this year than last season.

The problems with the running game were especially noticeable in the loss to Purdue, as the Buckeyes rushed for just 76 yards, and were only able to muster two field goals on five trips inside the red zone. Woes like that inside the opponents 20-yard line are almost unheard of under Urban Meyer.

Ohio State has struggled in the running game this year because they don’t have a quarterback who has threatened to run much. In years past the Buckeyes had Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett, but Haskins isn’t the same quarterback as those two. The Buckeyes have continued to call RPOs even though defenses don’t have to respect Haskins’ ability to beat them with his legs that much. With Ohio State’s frequency of passing the football this year, it has led to mistakes from the offensive line because RPOs call for the offensive line to block for a run play.

With a bye week to try and fix the issues, expect Ohio State to feature the running game more this week when they take on Nebraska. The Buckeyes have two excellent running backs in J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber, and if Ohio State is going to find success on the ground, they’ll have to try and get those two backs going without using RPO calls, because those calls just haven’t worked. If Ohio State is able to get their running game going and combine it with their dynamic passing game, it’ll be tough for opposing defenses to contain them the rest of the season.

“We’re going to come across a very good goaltender and it’s going be Swiss Olympic goalie versus Swiss Olympic goalie so that will be fun. St. Cloud is coming off a very big win against at that time the No. 5 Minnesota Duluth team, so we just really need to play as a unit of five in the offensive zone and I think great things will happen.”

Ohio State women’s ice hockey head coach Nadine Muzerall via Brian Nelson, The Lantern

After a couple weekends on the road, Ohio State’s women’s ice hockey team will return to Columbus to take on St. Cloud State this weekend. The last two weekends, Ohio State has taken on Top 10 teams, and split both series with Minnesota and St. Lawrence.

After falling to St. Cloud State 3-2 in the series opener, Ohio State got a masterful performance from freshman goaltender Andrea Braendli, who registered 42 saves in Saturday’s 6-1 win. Braendli comes into this weekend with a .947 save percentage, and as a team Ohio State has 298 saves from their goaltenders, which ranks third in the country.

One of the two teams with more saves than Ohio State goaltenders this year is this weekend’s opponent. St. Cloud State currently sits second in the country with 358. One of the Huskies’ goaltenders is very familiar with Braendli, as junior Janine Alder was on the Swiss National Team in the 2018 Winter Olympics. Despite just a 1-4 record this year, Adler has posted a 2.55 goals against average.

The Buckeyes will be looking for continued strong play from senior Charly Dahlquist, who was named WCHA Forward of the Week after registering two goals and two assists against St. Lawrence. If Dahlquist and the rest of the Buckeyes can play anything like they did in the Saturday win over St. Lawrence, it could be a long weekend in Columbus for St. Cloud State.

“I knew a little bit about the lifestyle. It’s pretty similar to what we see in American movies ... We often hear that Americans are crazy.”

Ohio State field hockey midfielder Sina Schwinn via

The transition of moving from another country to Ohio State can be tough, but freshman field hockey midfielder Sina Schwinn has embraced her time in Columbus so far. In Germany, it is a lot more difficult to juggle school and athletics, which made the move to the United States more attractive to Schwinn.

Schwinn made her move to Columbus in August, and has taken little time to blend in to her new team and culture. Understandably shy at first, her teammates have helped her to feel at home, and she has taken in a number of sporting events to get a feel for the rampant fandom many have for the school.

The freshman has impressed with her play so far this year, tying for the team freshman goal scoring lead with four, as well as being credited with two assists. The production isn’t a surprise for Schwinn though, as she was a part of West Germany’s junior national team from 2013-16. The future looks bright for Schwinn, and with plenty of time left in her Ohio State career, she should be a force for the Buckeyes.