3. OSU’s revamped rushing defense will be enough to slow down the Bearcats
Something that has improved for the Buckeyes since last season is their rushing defense. It was a bit of an anomaly to see the Buckeyes struggle so badly on defense in that category last season as they were ranked 4th in the nation in 2017. This top five rating quickly sunk to 57th after just one year.
One of the more significant changes is the Buckeyes have become more balanced all around. The main issue last season was that opposing teams were able to easily rip off huge runs where they’d break through the front line and be gone. Stopping the big play has been one of the main focuses in this off season.
The new coaching staff has had a big hand in creating new technique for this defense. Along with that, the linebackers have been much more solid. The spot in the defense that was a big part of the problem was the linebackers in the middle of the field. This goes for rushing as well as defending receivers in that area.
The Buckeyes’ only loss to Purdue last season is a prime example of how this defense got exploited all year. Purdue would send their receivers on crossing routes underneath through the middle of the field by the linebackers every play and it would work every time. This allowed their quarterback to get the ball out quickly on a high percentage throw which high returned big plays as a result.
Now that there is more experience at the linebacker position, things have become easier to deal with as everything can be settled up front. The Buckeyes held FAU to just 22 yards rushing last weekend. They didn’t rush much, but this number is impressive nonetheless. Expect the Buckeyes to be much better against the run on Saturday.