The Buckeyes’ Defense Must Answer the Bell

Written September 27th, 2012 by Tim Shoemaker

MSU: For Whom The Bell Toils

On Saturday, Ohio State will do something it has not done yet in the 2012 season–play a game away from Ohio Stadium.

The No. 14 Buckeyes will travel to East Lansing for a date with the No. 20 Michigan State Spartans and if OSU plays like it has in its previous three games, the Buckeyes will be coming back to Columbus with a 4-1 record.

Before the season, when most looked at this game on the schedule, it was more than likely viewed as a defensive struggle. But, the Buckeyes find themselves in unfamiliar territory this season as they rank dead last in the Big Ten in total defense–allowing 394.8 yards per game.

On the other hand, Michigan State’s defense allows just 233.5 yards and 11.8 points per game–both good for No. 1 in the conference. Sparty also has the No. 1 rushing defense in the conference (69.2 ypg).

OSU averages 229.2 yards per game on the ground, so something must give.

If the Buckeyes want a win on Saturday, they must do it with their defense.

Basically, this means 11 sets of eyes must be on Michigan State running back Le’Veon Bell at all times. Bell, the conference’s leading rusher at 152.5 ypg, is a workhorse runner who is often called upon to carry the team.

Those missed tackles we have been seeing by Ohio State cannot happen on Saturday. Not if the Buckeyes want to win. They must hit Bell early and gang tackle him. But they simply cannot miss tackles.

Bell will no doubt have some added motivation, too. A native of Columbus, Bell wasn’t heavily recruited by Ohio State as the Buckeyes landed running backs Carlos Hyde and Rod Smith in the same class. And it is never a good thing when the conference’s best back has any extra motivation.

Last year, the Buckeyes were almost shut out at home by the Spartans. An Evan Spencer touchdown with ten seconds left saved that embarrassment for the Buckeyes, but OSU still fell 10-7.

Under Urban Meyer, though, expect the Buckeyes to put up more than seven points. It’s limiting the Spartans to just ten that will be the main concern.

We know Michigan State’s defense will show up on Saturday. Will Ohio State’s?

If it does not, the Buckeyes will be in for a long trip back to Columbus and Meyer will have experienced his first loss as Ohio State’s head coach.

7 Comments

  1. CoquiNo Gravatar
    September 27th, 2012 at 8:37 am

    What’s with the people not picked by tOSU going to Michigan State? Wasn’t another one of their RBs going to tOSU until his grades didn’t make him eligible? I forget his name.

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    JimNo Gravatar
    September 27th, 2012 at 9:02 am

    Javon Ringer.

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  2. JimNo Gravatar
    September 27th, 2012 at 9:30 am

    I think Michigan State’s one dimensional offense plays right into Ohio State’s hands on defense. Watching the Spartans play against Notre Dame earlier this year was like watching a Jim Bollman coordinated offense all over again and I was very thankful that I don’t have to deal with that kind of frustration anymore.

    Although the Sparty talent is an upgrade over some of the previous opponents on the schedule, the schemes and play calling should be much easier for the Buckeyes to stop this week (if the tackling is solid, of course).

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  3. Ed (Flabuckeye)No Gravatar
    September 27th, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    If we continue to miss tackles…..we lose.

    And if we play freaking Tressel for 3 and a 1/2 quarters ….wink wink , hint hint Herman……we lose too.

    Yes we are 4 and 0 , our games have been too too close for the talent on this team.

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  4. Ed (Flabuckeye)No Gravatar
    September 27th, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    ….I meant Tressel Ball……lol

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  5. BhopNo Gravatar
    September 27th, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    Let’s just hope the defense being at or near 100% starters decides to play OSU style defense like Silver Bullets are known for (besides Mike LB…Lord only knows what/who will show up and play OSU style Middle LB on Sat…but whomever it is better show up with the wood…otherwise OSU’s defense will be beat badly if they tackle like lately). I can’t see MSU dialing up a Bollman special and running right at OSU all day long. I can see them trying some screens to Bell as well as their Wide outs. I’m not sold that MSU will be one dimensional all day Saturday. And OSU’s offense better do somethings like they did against Miami of Ohio. Since then, they’ve been a Braxton Miller show.

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    JimNo Gravatar
    September 28th, 2012 at 6:10 am

    I always thought Bollman would come up with something slightly less brain dead for big games as well. I’m not saying MSU won’t have something up their sleeve because they might, but they sure as hell didn’t against Notre Dame and it was ugly.

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