Can Ohio State Slow Down Tajh Boyd?
Boyd is the caliber of Ohio State’s own quarterback Braxton Miller. Both are Heisman-caliber quarterbacks, and unfortunately neither will be included in this year’s Heisman Trophy ceremony. Ironically, two years before the Buckeyes signed Miller, they were looking to sign Boyd. He was practically a lock to become a Buckeye, but shocked the nation when he committed to Clemson instead.
The Ohio State offense would be completely different had they signed Boyd and not Miller. Boyd is not nearly as mobile as Miller, who is always a threat to run the ball but has also developed into a good passer. Boyd and the Clemson offense tend to concentrate more on the passing game, while Ohio State concentrates more on the running game. In other words, Ohio State would have a pass-heavy offense had Boyd signed with them.
Can Ohio State’s defense slow down Boyd and the Clemson offense? As it stands right now, it may prove to be difficult. Their struggles in defending the pass became very evident in their last two games of the season, a near-loss to their rival Michigan Wolverines and a loss to the Michigan State Spartans in the Big Ten Championship.
Improvements to the Buckeyes’ pass defense are necessary before they face Clemson, or they could be facing another loss. There is no way they can slow down Boyd playing how they are now. They got run all over by two less talented offenses the past two weeks. The Ohio State defense allowed Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook, who wasn’t even their starter at the beginning of the season, to throw for a career-high 304 yards in the Big Ten title game on Saturday.
Clemson ranks No. 11 nationally in passing offense and are No. 12 in total offense. Boyd completed 67.6 of his passes this season, while passing for 3,473 yards and 29 touchdowns. He has thrown for more than 11,000 yards and 98 touchdowns since the beginning of the 2011 season.
Ohio State must fix their pass defense between now and January 3 if they want to have any chance of winning the game and getting some respect. They cannot take Boyd lightly; he is one of the best quarterbacks in the nation and by far the best that they’ve faced all season.
Now Ohio State will know how it feels when opposing defenses have to prepare for Miller.