You don’t have to look too hard at the statistics produced by the TCU defense this season to be impressed.
They are sixth in the nation in total defense, allowing 213.5 yards per game. They are third in the nation in completion percentage allowed (40.4) and fourth in pass efficiency defense (70.36).
Ohio State leads the nation in completion percentage at 82.1% and is fourth in pass efficiency (216.11), so this is going to be a battle of strengths for each team.
The Horned Frogs are 2-0 this season, with wins over Southern (55-7) and SMU (42-12), and they have yet to allow a point in the second half so far.
Those are some of the numbers that are easy to find, and Ohio State acting head coach Ryan Day is aware of all of them.
“First off, a veteran group, guys who have played a lot of football at a high level,” Day said of TCU’s defense. “These guys are a top 20 defense in the country last year. They played some high-octane offenses, so they have been up against it and battle tested.”
More than any of the numbers, however, is Day’s understanding of — and appreciation for — TCU head coach Gary Patterson, who has built a program defined by its defense.
“Their coach is battle-tested and one of the best coaches in the last 20 years of college football, especially on defense, in terms of what they have done,” Day said.
The Ohio State offense has been outstanding this season, averaging 61 points per game, and their 650 yards of total offense per game is second in the nation.
In terms of balance, the Buckeyes have it — averaging 300 yards rushing and 350 yards passing.
Despite the lofty numbers, don’t expect Day and the Ohio State offense to come into this game against TCU overconfident. Day knows the Buckeyes will have their stiffest test of the season and none of it will be easy.
“[You must] have quick adjustments,” he said. “If you get them with something, you’re not going to get them twice. They do a great job of that. They fly around. Their team speed is excellent. In the back end, front end, they are constantly running to the ball. They’re fast and play with an edge. So that’s the challenge.”
The Buckeyes have executed very well on offense this season, and they’ve done it in conditions that have been less than ideal.
On Saturday, they will be playing in perfect conditions, except of course for the thunderous defense lining up across from them.
“Coach Patterson has done a great job. They have all the answers,” Day said. “Any time a defense has been together that long, they have seen so many different things come their way. So they have adjustments. They make quick adjustments. They know exactly how you’re trying to attack them, so very, very talented group, as well. A lot of veteran guys back there.”
The Horned Frogs will start six or seven seniors and two or three juniors. That includes senior defensive end Ben Banogu, who is the Preseason Big XII Defensive Player of the Year.
Contrast that with Ohio State’s defense, which has just one senior in the entire two-deep and seven freshmen.
“They have been together such a long time that you are not going to get anything free,” Day said. “You’re going to have to earn everything that you get.”
coach speak. He is supposed to praise the opposing team. Its not a great victory and there is no glory if you don’t face a worth opponent. He is going to talk them up like he should so there is no fodder for anger.
If TCU’s defense has all the answers, the Buckeyes’ offense better know all the right questions.
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