Ohio State Football: Is the Buckeye defense up to the challenge?

Ohio State Buckeyes defensive coordinator Jim Knowles coaches during the spring football game at Ohio Stadium in Columbus on April 16, 2022.Ncaa Football Ohio State Spring Game
Ohio State Buckeyes defensive coordinator Jim Knowles coaches during the spring football game at Ohio Stadium in Columbus on April 16, 2022.Ncaa Football Ohio State Spring Game /
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The Ohio State football team takes on the Michigan Wolverines Saturday afternoon in Columbus. Is this Buckeye defense up to the task?

The Ohio State football team played arguably its worst game last Saturday against Maryland. The defense most certainly did. They gave up 293 yards passing and two touchdowns on a 72% completion percentage from Terrapin quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa.

But most concerning was the fact that when the Buckeye defense needed to clamp down in the fourth quarter, they gave up two touchdown drives to Maryland. Unacceptable and especially concerning given the fact that they play Michigan this week.

Ryan Day brought in the most highly sought-after defensive coordinator last offseason in Jim Knowles and paid him nearly $2 million annually to fix this defense. Knowles has worked wonders this season especially given that the Buckeye secondary has not played particularly well.

This Ohio State defense has only given up 16.9 points per game and 107 yards per game rushing. It’s a vast improvement over last season.

But Knowles was definitely brought in for this game against Michigan. They were embarrassed defensively last season by a rushing attack that had 297 yards against them. Ohio State was helpless to stop Hassan Haskins and Blake Corum.

This Ohio State defense needs to be up to the task of stopping the run. Michigan quarterback JJ McCarthy isn’t fully developed yet in the passing game and that should help Ohio State as their pass defense seemed vulnerable last week. But against the run, the Buckeyes held Maryland to 84 yards rushing.

Next. Buckeyes have decision to make at RB. dark

If that can translate to Saturday afternoon, and the Buckeyes can stop what Michigan does best offensively, the Buckeyes will be in a great position to win the game. It really is just a question of whether this defense is up to the task or not.