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Film Room: Buckeye Defense Stifles Sparty, Kenneth Walker

Michigan State's offense never got off the bus in a blow out loss at Ohio Stadium.

The Buckeyes have played some outstanding playmakers this season, but no one with more national notoriety than RB Kenneth Walker. Walker came into this game leading the FBS in rushing yards (1,437) and touchdowns (17). With the Buckeyes explosive start on offense, the Spartans had to deviate from their usual game plan of feeding Walker the rock. The Buckeye defense was superb and limited Walker to six carries for 25 yards and 0 TDs. In addition, quarterback Payton Thorne and the Spartans were held to 158 yards through the air for an average of 4.4 yards per reception. 

Safety Kourt Williams and linebacker Tommy Eichenberg led the way defensively with 7 tackles each. The Buckeyes played aggressively up front and spent a lot of time in the Spartan backfield, recording a total of 9 TFLs.

The Buckeye corners were feisty in their pass defense and did a nice job of anticipating routes. The two clips below show cornerback Denzel Burke (No. 29) with active hands to break-up up this (controversial) reception while cornerback Cameron Brown makes a great break on the ball a third and short to force a Spartan punt.

One area of the Buckeye pass defense that has been a concern at times has been the middle of the field. On this clip, the Buckeyes are bringing six and playing man behind. Cornerback Marcus Williamson (No. 5) does a nice job of evading the receiver’s path and remaining in good position on the route to force a 3rd down incompletion.

Senior Tyreke Smith continued create havoc with a sack, TFL, pass defense and a QB hurry. The clip below shows his quick first step off the ball and does a great job of reading screen and uses his long reach to deflect this pass.

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