Ohio State Defense
|Tuesday, December 27, 2016, 9:34 AM- -|
Ohio State Defense
The Buckeyes will present a huge challenge to the Clemson offense Saturday night in the Fiesta Bowl. Ohio State is perhaps the finest defense Clemson has faced this season.
They have a very respected staff including former NFL head coach Greg Schwann as their defensive coordinator and Luke Fickell as their linebacker coach. Fickell is leaving after this season to become the head coach at Cincinnati.
I wanted to list some stats, awards and jersey numbers to watch from the Buckeye defense Saturday night.
The Buckeyes are third in the nation in scoring defense. Ohio State allows just 14.2 points per game. Ohio State is fifth in the country in total defense. They give up only 282 yards a contest.
The Buckeyes give up only 117 yards a game on their ground which is 14th in the country. Ohio State is lead up front by number 59 Tyquan Lewis (6-4, 266, Jr). Lewis is a disruptive defensive end who is the Big Ten defensive lineman of the year. An interesting note here is former Pendleton native number 77 Michael Hill starts at defensive tackle.
The Buckeyes are led by Number 5 Raekwon McMillian (6-2, 243, Jr) who is a second-team All-American according to the AP. He is also All-Big Ten for the second consecutive season. He is a rare every down linebacker that has few weaknesses. Number 33 Dante Booker (6-3, 236, Jr) and 35 Chris Worley (6-2, 228, Jr) are talented linebackers as well.
Secondary Ohio State Defense
OSU allows just 164 yards a contest through the air which is sixth in the country. Number 24 Malik Hooker (6-2, 204, So) is a first-team All-American according to the AP and ESPN. Few safeties close like Hooker. It will be a fascinating matchup to watch Watson try to avoid Hooker's big play capability. Number 2 Marshawn Lattimore (6-0, 192, So) is also a first-team All-Big Ten selection and one corner while number 8 Garson Conley (6-0, 195, Jr) is a second-team All-Big performer.
This defense is full of future NFL talent and this is a stern test for the Tigers. However, the Buckeyes have not faced an offense as talented as Clemson either. When Clemson's offense matches up with Ohio State's defense, I think a major key is the running game. The Tigers cannot afford to be one-dimensional against the Buckeyes. Clemson has had a hard time running the football at times this season, and I can't see Clemson beating Ohio State without some balance on offense.
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