4. Rutgers’ unspectacular offense
The Buckeyes’ offense certainly put on a show last weekend but that still wasn’t enough to mask glaring issues on defense. Defense has been the pride of the Buckeyes for years as they’ve been an annual top ten defensive team. That was not the case against Oregon State but there are reasons why nobody should be worried.
This Buckeyes’ defense is very young. There are first year starters all over the field which wasn’t going to fare well for the Buckeyes early on. That’s why it’s not at all surprising that the Buckeyes struggled to hold it together on defense. This was especially apparent in the back-end as big plays were given up when the ball carrier got into space.
This similar situation occurred last season when the Buckeyes struggled to defend the Indiana Hoosiers in week one. The defense was young, especially in the secondary, so the Hoosiers exposed the Buckeyes’ inexperience and cut up the defense for huge plays. The Hoosiers scored three touchdowns in that game through the air.
As noted, the Buckeyes’ secondary including all defensive backs struggled to stop Oregon State when they found open space. After the running back got passed the defensive line, they were off to the races as the safeties were nowhere to be found.
The Beavers seemed to have gotten all of their points and yardage from large chunk plays. Missed assignments and poor contain allowed for the Beavers’ skill players to break off huge runs. Good thing Rutgers ranked second to last in the nation in total offense last season.
On the other hand, the defensive line played great. This was expected as Nick Bosa and company were primed to be a terror for quarterbacks everywhere. Speaking of Bosa, he’s off to an absolutely fantastic start as he recorded two sacks, two tackles for loss, and two fumble recoveries in which he returned one for a touchdown.
The Buckeyes had five sacks, six tackles for loss, and three quarterback hurries. If it wasn’t for all of those large chunk plays which allowed the Beavers to put up a plentiful 31 points, then the defense would have looked great. In that sense, the Buckeyes’ defense will be okay in the end if they just clean up the mistakes in the back-end. Expect the Buckeyes to easily put the clamps on Rutgers as their defense shows up much improved.