The Ohio State Buckeyes struggled against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the first half of their game last Saturday. The offense was able to come back and make a great showing in the second half, but the defense was still not playing up to their potential.
They know they are better than that and so does head coach Urban Meyer and defensive line coach Mike Vrabel. The Ohio State defensive line wants to prove how good they are and make up for the bad game they had against Iowa.
Going into the game against Iowa, the Buckeyes had the sixth-ranked run defense in the FBS. Stopping the run was not as much of a problem for the Buckeyes as stopping the pass. Iowa was using a zone-blocking scheme and passing to their tight ends, a scheme that was difficult for the Ohio State defense to stop.
The first half seemed to be an epic struggle for the Ohio State defense, as they gave up 17 first downs to Iowa and only had one tackle for loss the whole game. The Buckeyes looked much better in the second half, but that mostly had to do with the offense and their dominating second half performance.
Meyer said that both players and coaches are to blame for this disappointing performance. Iowa’s offensive formation was a surprise for the Ohio State defense, but Meyer said that adjustments to the defense should’ve been made quicker than they were. Tweaks should’ve been made in the first half when they first noticed a problem with coverage.
The loss of safety Christian Bryant to injury is still being felt by the Ohio State defense. He has great on-field leadership that has been greatly missed. Cornerback Bradley Roby was ejected in the first half for violating the targeting rule, which was another loss that was deeply felt on that Ohio State defense. Meyer said the fact that they are slow to overcome problems like this is another reason why they struggled against Iowa.
The Ohio State defense wants nothing more than to make up for their disappointing performance.
The Penn State Nittany Lions are coming to town on Saturday, and they run well with a tight end-oriented offense like Iowa. One thing they have that Iowa did not is a good freshman quarterback in Christian Hackenberg who can make plays downfield to an elite receiver in Allen Robinson.
Ohio State’s defense cannot play the way they played against Iowa last week or they will be in big trouble against Penn State. Hopefully the Buckeye defense can make up for that performance and make a good name for themselves on Saturday night.