Ohio State Football: Week 6 Defensive Spotlight on DL Tracy Sprinkle

COLLEGE PARK, MD - NOVEMBER 12: Running back Kenneth Goins Jr.
COLLEGE PARK, MD - NOVEMBER 12: Running back Kenneth Goins Jr. /

Through the first five weeks of the football season, much of the talk concerning the Ohio State football team has centered around the struggles of the Buckeye passing offense. However, the defense has prospered for much of the season. DT Tracy Sprinkle, who has stood-out on a stacked defensive line, is circled on my watch list against the Terrapins.

When most fans think of Maryland football, they think about changing the channel, but that’s not the case this year. The Terrapins pound the rock with the best of ’em and will give Larry Johnson’s defensive line a test.

The No. 10 Buckeyes, are giving up roughly 134.6 per game this season, ranking 56th in college football. That must change, otherwise Maryland has Ohio State on upset alert.

When the Terrapins roll into Columbus on Saturday, I expect redshirt, senior, captain and defensive tackle (that’s a lot of superlatives) Tracy Sprinkle to play a huge role in the final score of the duel.

While Sprinkle is a part of a constant Buckeye line rotation, he’s been a brute in the running game. While Only recording 10 tackles through the first 5 pairings, Sprinkle’s ability to clog running lanes weighs greater than statistics show.

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Sprinkle has two tackles for loss under his belt, something you like to see out of a rotational defensive lineman.

Part of Sprinkle’s game is his huge frame. Standing 6-foot-3, 290 pounds, this guy takes up space and forces running backs into significantly harder runs. Against Ty Johnson of Maryland, this factor is gigantic.

Ty Johnson owns the 7th-best yards per carry at 8.9 yards a touch this season. In the Terps’ four games this season, only one team has held the back under 100 yards; Johnson ran for just 25 yards on 11 carries in his team’s lone 2017 loss, coming in a 38-10 smothering from UCF.

Due to the lack of a consistent passing attack from Maryland, keeping Johnson in-check is imperative if the Buckeyes want to keep their winning streak alive. Again, Sprinkle has the ability to direct this game’s narrative.

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While keeping Johnson under 100 total yards is important, Sprinkle’s talents are best served if the Buckeyes focus on his yards per attempt. Forcing Maryland to pass on third or fourth down helps a defense that will create turnovers in opportune moments. That has been a specialty for the Ohio State defense each of the last two seasons.