Ohio State had an outstanding season in 2019 in large part because of the way its defense played on a weekly basis. Chase Young received most of the credit – and rightfully so – but he wasn’t the only playmaker on that side of the ball.
Jashon Cornell, Malik Harrison, DaVon Hamilton, Jeff Okudah and Jordan Fuller were all impact players for the Buckeyes last fall. They weren’t just difference-makers on the field, they provided leadership for a team that was going through a coaching change.
Though the Buckeyes lost plenty of talent to the 2020 NFL Draft, the run they had will not be forgotten. In fact, Pro Football Focus unveiled an incredible statistic that captures how impressive the defense was in 2019.
According to Pro Football Focus, there wasn’t a single quarterback that posted a grade over 80 against Ohio State’s defense. On the flip side, there were 14 quarterbacks that posted a sub-80 grade last season.
Against the Ohio State defense in 2019:
QBs with a 80.0+ grade: 0
QBs with a sub-80.0 grade: 14 pic.twitter.com/qfpbiq9MCt
— PFF College (@PFF_College) May 22, 2020
It’ll be incredibly tough for Ohio State to match that type of production in 2020. After all, the defense looks completely different on paper.
That being said, the Buckeyes have finally found their form on defense once again. The 2020 unit should be strong, as players like Baron Browning and Shaun Wade should become stars this fall.
Even though Ohio State’s season opener against Bowling Green shouldn’t provide a challenge for the defense, the team’s matchup in Week 2 against Oregon will.