Ohio State piled up 77 points and over 700 yards of offense, but the hottest topic on radio call-in shows after the season-opening win over Oregon State were the big plays Ohio State’s defense gave up.
Oregon State, which won just one game last year, scored on a 49-yard pass, an 80-yard run and a 78-yard run as part of a 31-point performance.
Now, the two long touchdown runs came in the second half after the game was well in hand, and after a nearly two-hour halftime because of bad weather.
Also, All-American candidate Jordan Fuller was missing from his starting safety spot because of a minor injury.
But, with a big game against TCU looming in two weeks, the defensive issues are concerning.
While Ohio State has one of the best defensive lines in the country, there were question marks coming into the season about the linebackers and safeties.
Pete Werner, a sophomore, got his first start at one of the outside linebacker spots and fellow sophomore Baron Browning was also forced into his first start as Tuf Borland is making his way back from an offseason achilles tendon injury.
In the secondary, sophomores Isaiah Pryor and Jahsen Wint made their first starts, replacing the departed Damon Webb and the injured Fuller.
The result was a lot of first-game jitters and mistakes.
“There were a lot of good things they did, and there was a lot of learning that they can take from that tape and that performance, which is good,” said OSU defensive coordinator Greg Schiano on Monday. “Any time you have a brand new “Mike” linebacker and two brand new safeties ... that’s like starting a new catcher and a new shortstop and a new pitcher in baseball, right up the middle.
BUCKEYE BUZZ, exclusively in Friday's Examiner.
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