Football

Buckeyes Control Trenches: ‘We showed dominance today’

Ohio State football Chase Young Indiana sack

For the second week in a row, the Buckeyes entered a game against a solid, if unspectacular opponent favored by roughly 17 points. And for the second week in a row, they absolutely obliterated that opponent, thanks to dominating play along both the offensive and defensive lines.

Saturday, Ohio State jumped out to a 30-3 lead in the second quarter and cruised to a 51-10 victory.

All you need to know about the game is contained in the average gain per rush for each team.

Ohio State: 7.7 yards

Indiana: 1.7 yards

You can’t do that without consistently controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.

After suffering through a sophomore slump, J.K. Dobbins exploded for 193 yards on just 22 carries, an average of 8.8 yards per carry.

Backup Master Teague’s numbers were even more impressive – 10 carries for 106 yards, a smooth 10.6 yards per rush. After the game, OSU head coach Ryan Day was impressed.

“I thought we ran the ball well, controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball,” Day said.

That other side of the ball left Indiana without many good options. They couldn’t run, and for stretches of the game, couldn’t protect their quarterback either. Their only touchdown all day came on a double-pass.

The Buckeyes finished the day with five sacks and 12 tackles for loss.

“I think we showed dominance today,” said junior defensive end Chase Young. “Obviously they had the one trick play on us, but other than that, we showed that our defense can be dominant. I think we just set the tone for Big Ten play coming in.”

It’s hard to believe the lockdown Buckeye defense of 2019 is made up of almost all the same players as the disastrous 2018 unit. An almost complete turnover of the coaching staff helped, obviously, but having a healthy Young up front has made a big difference, too.

Through three games, Young has five sacks, and is on pace to break the single-season school record of 14.

But Day knows the pressure they created Saturday led to more than just those sacks.

“The D-line has controlled the line of scrimmage as well. They’ve created some sacks, created some turnovers, and if we can get teams in a throwing situation, I think it’s an advantage to us,” he said.

It’s not new to watch one of Larry Johnson’s lines imposing its will on opponents. But it has to be exciting for Buckeye fans to see the offensive line return to form after a middling year on the ground in 2018.

Offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson says that’s a result of the mentality that Thayer Munford and new starters Jonah Jackson, Josh Myers, Wyatt Davis, and Branden Bowen have brought.

“We’ve always had some talented guys. This group is just physically, the way they’re wired, a little harder,” Wilson said.

In a position group loaded with “toughest guy wins” cliches, it’s easy to roll your eyes at that kind of talk, but so far the results speak for themselves.

It was particularly important on a day when quarterback Justin Fields was occasionally a little off his game.

“The O-line did a great job today and I think that’s definitely going to make us more dangerous in the future,” said Fields. “Just having the running game there to pick me up and carry the team, that was great to see.”

Wilson knows the offensive line still isn’t a finished product, but so far he likes what he sees.

“There are still some things every once in a while that aren’t as clean, as perfect as you’d want,” Wilson said. “But they play clean. They play hard, they battle and fight and scratch.”

5 Responses

  1. It’s been a long time since we’ve not only seen OSU convert 3rd and short on the ground, but 3rd and long on the ground. A number of times OSU converted 3rd and +5 yards which means our OL is finally starting to play up to its potential. We’ve seen glimpses, like in the 2014 Title run and after a few losses, but this is getting impressive. The B1G Final Drive commented that our OL is now getting to the 2nd level which makes for long runs. Now we just needs some blue chip recruits to see the easy lanes that are awaiting them.

  2. The one thing that nobody is talking about with the offensive line, besides their dominance is how much cleaner everything is. Guys aren’t jumping before the ball is snapped, the center isn’t snapping the ball all over the place and in general they are playing much much more disciplined that they have in a couple of years. Is it the players or the coaching or the scheme? I’m not sure but since the offensive line coaching is basically the same I could probably hazard a guess.

    1. It was reported over the summer during camp that when anyone makes mistakes, they run laps around the field. Reducing mistakes during practice will reduce the mistakes and flags on game day.

  3. The same players with different results – I didn’t think the coaching was that bad last year but I see such a big difference in results no question it was the coaching. By nature, I’m a half full guy and enjoying a 13-1 season and a B1G championship not to mention a Rose Bowl was satisfying for me. However, the thought of a D-Coordinator “slanting” the D-line and not letting them play to their potential seems rather absurd – but at the end of the Day – they kept the one guy who made sense on the D and even gave him a raise and let go of everyone else – that was THE best decision the Buckeyes made well since hiring Day. Anyway, all that chatter to say that the D-line is as talented as we thought they were against “real” B1G linemen. And Chase Young, as was Joey and Nick Bosa is the best D-lineman in CFB – at this stage he looks better than the Bosa’s and that’s saying plenty.

  4. Damn nice to see the silver bullets back so far

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