THE X-FACTOR

IF THE BUCKEYES HAVE ANY CHANCE TO HOLD BACK THE TIDE, THE SECONDARY MUST STAND TALL
December 29, 2014

DORAN GRANT, Senior, CB

In Alabama's last two games, Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin has celebrated touchdowns by junior receiver Amari Cooper before the ball was even thrown. Kiffin knew, based on the one-on-one coverage he saw, that Cooper, the Biletnikoff Award winner who led the nation with 1,656 receiving yards, would torch the poor defender assigned to guard him. Expect the Buckeyes to play some zone and to shade a safety to Cooper's side, but there will be times when only one DB is matched against Alabama's top playmaker—and Ohio State coaches want that defender to be Grant. A 5'11", 193-pound senior from Akron, Grant has provided steady coverage for the Buckeyes all season. He limited Michigan State's Tony Lippett, who led the Big Ten in receiving with 1,124 yards, in OSU's 49--37 win over the Spartans. And at Minnesota in November, Grant had a third-quarter interception return for a TD taken off the board because he was flagged for pass interference. Grant shook off that play, and on Minnesota's next possession he picked off another pass to preserve a 10-point lead. Ball skills and a short memory are the top two requirements for any corner attempting to cover Cooper. If Grant succeeds, the Buckeyes can devote more personnel to stopping Bama's running game. If not, the Tide may very well roll.

PHOTOJAY LAPRETE/AP (GRANT)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)