Grading the Buckeyes: Defense gets best grades


By Jim Naveau - [email protected]



This Week

No. 2 Ohio State at Wisconsin

8 p.m. ESPN/ESPN2/ABC

Last Week

Ohio State 38, Indiana 17

Wisconsin did not play

Scouting Report

Buckeyes: Ohio State (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) will be trying to get its passing game back on track after gaining only 93 yards in the air in a 38-17 win over Indiana. OSU leads the Big Ten in scoring (53.2) and is second in scoring defense (10.8).

Badgers: Wisconsin (4-1, 1-1 Big Ten) owns two wins over teams ranked in the Top Ten at the time it played them (LSU, Michigan State). The Badgers are eleventh in the Big Ten in scoring (25.6) and are third in the conference in scoring defense (12.2).

Pre-Game Takeaway

In the 1990s and early 2000s, Wisconsin was the biggest rival other than Michigan in the Big Ten for OSU. But realignment will make their meetings less frequent. OSU has won seven of the last eight games it has played against the Badgers, including 59-0 in the 2014 Big Ten championship game the last time they played each other.

A Monday morning grade card on Ohio State’s 38-17 win over Indiana on Saturday.

OSU didn’t quite look like the No. 2 team in the country and J.T. Barrett didn’t look like himself. But there can’t be too many complaints about a 21-point win over a decent Indiana team.

OFFENSE: C+

Barrett’s 93 yards passing was the third-lowest total he’s had as a starter behind 46 yards against Michigan State last season and 74 yards against Penn State in 2014. OSU’s struggles in the passing game weren’t entirely his fault, though.

The deep passing game was nonexistent. Wide receivers caught only two passes, both by Noah Brown, for a total of 16 yards. Barrett was sacked only once but felt pressure several other times. And when he did have time he often searched unsuccessfully for an open receiver.

Ohio State has used a lot of wide receivers but so far it’s looking like it doesn’t have a lot of really good ones.

The ground game produced 290 yards but there was a cause for concern inside that number. Barrett was the leading rusher with 137 yards on 26 carries, which is probably 10 or 15 more carries than the target for him in OSU’s offense. Curiously, Curtis Samuel got only nine touches in the game.

DEFENSE: A-

Indiana’s offensive game plan appeared to be to establish its running game when it ran the football on 19 of its first 26 plays. But the only thing established by those 19 plays was that the Hoosiers weren’t going to be able to run the ball when they produced only 19 yards.

OSU’s defense continued its streak of not allowing a rushing touchdown. The Hoosiers had only 99 yards rushing in the game and 50 of quarterback Richard Lagow’s 182 passing yards came on one play.

Linebacker Jerome Baker had a career-best 11 tackles, including two tackles for losses. Nick Bosa played what coach Urban Meyer called his best game at OSU, including a big stop on a fourth down run at the Buckeyes’ 6-yard line when Indiana was threatening to cut the lead to one score in the fourth quarter.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A

Kick returner Parris Campbell says that he says a prayer as he waits for kickoffs. That prayer was answered Saturday when he returned a kickoff 91 yards to set up a touchdown in the final minute of the first half.

Tyler Durbin hit a career-long field goal of 37 yards and Cameron Johnston averaged 49.2 yards on six punts.

OVERALL: B

An Ohio State win was never in doubt and the score probably should have been worse when a questionable crack back block penalty erased a touchdown by Malik Hooker after a pass interception in the game’s final minute.

Ohio State’s struggles in the passing game might be only a blip on the season radar. But it’s tough to name a wide receiver who has been consistently productive, including Noah Brown other than his four-touchdown game at Oklahoma. If that continues, it could be something to worry about.

But a three-touchdown win with your passing game have a sub-par game is something most teams would be glad to have.

http://wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/web1_LOGO.osu_-3.jpg

By Jim Naveau

[email protected]

This Week

No. 2 Ohio State at Wisconsin

8 p.m. ESPN/ESPN2/ABC

Last Week

Ohio State 38, Indiana 17

Wisconsin did not play

Scouting Report

Buckeyes: Ohio State (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) will be trying to get its passing game back on track after gaining only 93 yards in the air in a 38-17 win over Indiana. OSU leads the Big Ten in scoring (53.2) and is second in scoring defense (10.8).

Badgers: Wisconsin (4-1, 1-1 Big Ten) owns two wins over teams ranked in the Top Ten at the time it played them (LSU, Michigan State). The Badgers are eleventh in the Big Ten in scoring (25.6) and are third in the conference in scoring defense (12.2).

Pre-Game Takeaway

In the 1990s and early 2000s, Wisconsin was the biggest rival other than Michigan in the Big Ten for OSU. But realignment will make their meetings less frequent. OSU has won seven of the last eight games it has played against the Badgers, including 59-0 in the 2014 Big Ten championship game the last time they played each other.

Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau

Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau

comments powered by Disqus