Grading the Buckeyes Defensive Performance Against Maryland

Ohio State's defense silenced one of the top 25 offenses in the country with a fabulous performance on Saturday afternoon.
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The Ohio State Buckeyes came away with a resounding win on Saturday against the Maryland Terrapins. The Buckeyes were able to hold the terrapins to 17 points on the day and had a video game-like 598 yards of offense! Ryan Day has the Buckeyes clicking on all cylinders going into the bye week.

As far as how to interpret the following grades:

Grading Key

  • A: National Championship-level play ... dominates the opponent and executes at the highest level.
  • B: Big Ten Championship-level play ... consistently beats opponents, but leaves a few areas to grow.
  • C: Bowl Eligble-level play ... does enough to win in a close game to just get bye. Needs to improve quickly.
  • D: Home for the Holidays-level play ... Exposed multiple times and a major liability to the greater whole.
  • F: Losing-level play ... unit was dominated in many facets of the game and is a major detriment to success. Major changes needed immediately.

If you missed our offensive grades, click here. Let’s take a look at how the defense graded out.

Defensive Line: A-

Taulia Tagovailoa looked uncomfortable and rushed all afternoon. The Rushmen pinned their ears back and made plays all day. They sacked the elusive Tagovailoa 5 times. Not to mention a couple holding penalties that could have resulted in more sacks. The group as a whole was physical and played well with their hands. 

Jack Sawyer and J.T. Tuimoloau are getting better every week. They are learning and preparing. Zach Harrison is garnering a lot of attention Haskell Garrett (who left early) and Antwuan Jackson have punished interior Offensive Linemen all year. The group is nicely maturing and will hopefully be back to full strength in two weeks.

Linebackers: A

Yes, you read that right! The linebackers earned an A today. Cody Simon, Steele Chambers, Tommy Eichenberg, and Teradja Mitchell were four of the top five tacklers against Maryland. They flew around field and rallied to the football. They are playing with less on their plate from a schematic standpoint and there are literally less Offensive Linemen in their laps. The group is stating to look confident and making tackles. 

Steele Chambers played his best game of his career as an Ohio State Buckeye. The former 4-star running back from Roswell, Georgia is coming into his own. He made six solo tackles and had a sack on Saturday. His rare breed on athleticism and physicality will make him a special linebacker for years to come.

Defensive Backs: B+

Throw out Rakim Jarrett’s 43 yard touchdown reception, the unit played well. They were opportunistic with forcing two interceptions and setting a Buckeye record, 4 consecutive games with a defensive touchdown! Craig Young will be the player of the game on the stat sheet with 2 interceptions, but how about the work Kerry Coombs and Matt Barnes have done with this group. A group that was looked at as the potential Achilles heel of the Buckeyes, now is a strength. 

Ronnie Hickman still had six tackles, five solo but struggled at times in coverage. He will be isolated in man by teams going forward. He is still a tremendous player and a sure tackler in space. Denzel Burke spent majority of the day shutting down an above average receiver room with the help of Lejond Cavazos, Sevyn Banks, Marcus Williamson, Bryson Shaw, Young, Hickman, Cam Martinez and Lathan Ransom. The secondary is growing and developing. This team is not there yet, but continue to grow each week.

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