2. Indiana’s O will elevate Ohio State’s D
There isn’t much that a team can do offensively against the Buckeyes in their home stadium regardless of who it is coming in. Much like Happy Valley, but better, Ohio Stadium is an incredibly difficult environment to play in. Things get even more difficult when facing a defense like the Buckeyes’ which is one of the more well rounded groups in the country.
Hands down the most impressive unit for both teams by far was the Buckeyes’ defense. With the Buckeyes’ offense struggling badly early to figure out what in the world they wanted to do, the defense had to step up. That is exactly what the Bucks’ defense did as they made several key stops especially in the first half to keep the Buckeyes in the game.
It felt like the score should have been at least 21-3 at halftime but instead it was just a six point deficit. There was many times where their back was against the wall with Nittany Lions’ quarterback Trace McSorley making plays with his feet and his receivers catching passes with one hand. It was all bend but no break for the Buckeyes’ defense as they never let the Nittany Lions grind them down.
The defense made some key plays throughout that changed the game completely. The first big play was the forced fumble before halftime. That was a huge turn of events as it not only got the ball out of Penn State’s hands, but it gave the Buckeyes an opportunity to score before half. The Bucks did just that as Haskins threw for a touchdown and they also received the ball after the half.
The next big play was a turnover on downs late in the third quarter. The Nittany Lions attempted to go for it on fourth down with one yard to gain on the Bucks’ own 24 yard line. The defense shut them down which didn’t allow them any points as they were down just one point to end the third quarter. That was a big point saved as the Buckeyes ended up winning by that margin.
The last and most important big play came in the final minutes of the game. The Buckeyes found the end zone with just over two minutes left in the game to put them up one. However, they failed on the 2-point conversion attempt which would put them up a field goal. All the Nittany Lions needed to do was kick a field goal to win the game.
The Lions immediately completed a 27 yard pass to midfield on their first play. In the very next play, the Bucks made a big play as Chase Young sacked Trace McSorley. It all came down to a 4th down with just five yards to gain which would have almost certainly put them in field goal range.
The Nittany Lions ran what looked to be an option draw play with Trace McSorley and running back Miles Sanders by his side. The Buckeyes’ defense completely collapsed the play and suffocated the Lions’ hopes of victory. Tackle Dre’Mont Jones came around the end and got right into McSorley’s face to stop him from keeping it around the outside and end Chase Young clobbered Sanders before he could even take a step.
In what was an unexpected turn of events, the Buckeyes’ defense ended up being the deciding factor in this game rather than the offense that was on fire coming into last week. When the going got tough the Buckeyes were still able to go back to their roots and play solid defense. Expect the Buckeyes to continue improving their defense as they make their way into being the most well rounded team in the country.