Silver Bullet Day

By Kyle Rowland on September 9, 2013 at 9:15a

Everyone has a comfort zone. For some, it’s home, maybe even the golf course. Others grow relaxed with the company surrounding them. The same can be said for the Ohio State defense.

In the season opener against Buffalo, Bradley Roby and C.J. Barnett, two veteran starters in the secondary, did not play. Linebacker tour de force Ryan Shazier missed large portions with cramps, which meant safety Christian Bryant was the long returning starter on the field most of the afternoon.

The Silver Bullets still only yielded 13 points and barely more than 250 yards. Being outscored 20-17 the final three quarters didn’t paint a pretty picture, though. The unit bent often, it just didn’t break.

On Saturday, they welcomed back Roby and Barnett, and the results were inevitable.

Insert an All-American and a three-year starter who doubles as a captain into the lineup and the opposing offense will have problems. The Buckeyes made life a pain for San Diego State quarterback Adam Dingwell, who was bench after three series. Dingwell was 0-of-5 passing with an interception.

The numbers didn’t get much better for Quinn Kaehler. The Aztecs mustered -6 yards on their first five possessions, en route to a 42-7 defeat. Ohio State finished with five tackles for loss, including three sacks, two forced fumbles and two interceptions. That’s four takeaways for those scoring at home.

“Our defense played outstanding,” head coach Urban Meyer said.

Roby, who missed the opener while serving a one-game suspension, had four tackles and a pass breakup. Armani Reeves started for the second straight game – and intercepted a pass – but Roby replaced him on the third defensive play.

The usually brash and high volume Roby was decidedly subdued and humbled when he spoke with the media after Saturday’s game. He took responsibility for his actions and agreed with Meyer’s punishment.

“It was a long time coming,” Roby said about getting back on the field. “I felt kind of weird playing at first, just getting used to it because we didn’t play in a bowl game, so I haven’t played in so long. Just getting back out there and playing with my friends, it was good. I am glad that I am back out there.”

All Barnett did was collect a team-high seven tackles.

“Having [Roby] and C.J. back, it’s just a good feeling,” cornerback Doran Grant said. “You can feel the electricity throughout the defense and the team. It’s like having your brothers back.”

With a dependable secondary in place, the front seven was able to play with more confidence and apply pressure on the Aztecs from all directions with their much-hyped speed. The aggressive nature was noticeable with the naked eye and by glancing at the final box score. San Diego State never established any semblance of a run game, tallying 64 yards on 27 carries. It lost nearly half that much on sacks alone – 27 yards.

“I give credit to the kids, who are really buying in to what we’re trying to do defensively,” co-defensive coordinator Everett Withers said. “It’s been fun to watch those guys grow and mature as a unit.”

Pressure applied from linebacker Curtis Grant led to an errant throw that Doran Grant picked off, while defensive tackle Michael Bennett spent more time in the Aztec backfield than running back Adam Muema. Bennett’s stat line read: three tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery.

“He’s a difference maker right now,” Meyer said. “I can’t think of a guy playing better and leading better. He’s a perfect example of hard work because this time last year he was nonexistent. When he went in he was a liability. Now he goes in and he’s one of the leaders on our defense.”

The added intensity was a request from the offensive-minded head coach. A big reason the Buckeyes were able to dominate in the trenches was their depth. The first- and second-team defensive line put on a production clinic.

It wasn’t without negatives, though, as defensive end Adolphus Washington left during the first quarter with a groin injury. After the game, Meyer indicated he’s day-to-day. With pass-happy Cal looming, Washington’s availability will be crucial for this coming Saturday night.

Steve Miller filled in for Washington and like Kenny Guiton stepping in for Braxton Miller, Washington’s absence wasn’t entirely noticeable. Miller had a first-quarter sack and stymied a potential first-down gaining pass play.

“I got my chance,” he said. “I went in there to do whatever it took to help the team out.”

Miller was almost like a forgotten man during fall camp. Nary a word was spoken about him. But in the spirit of Ohio State’s “next man up” motto, Miller orchestrated drive-altering plays when called upon.

“We let loose this week,” he said.

Another little heard from contributor was Chris Carter, the mammoth defensive tackle who once weighed more than 400 pounds. He’s down to 340 now, and on Saturday, he attracted double teams and finished with two tackles and a fumble recovery.

“We had a little package today that had him in it because of their run game,” Withers said.

Coaches and players lamented the fact that Ohio State played uninspired against Buffalo after posting an early lead. They managed to dwell on San Diego State’s late touchdown Saturday. In the days before the game, they guaranteed complacency wouldn’t strike the Buckeye locker room.

On Saturday, there was no sign of letting up.

“This whole week we’ve just been working on eliminating the little mistakes which turn into big mistakes,” Curtis Grant said.

Said Shazier: “We just played like we’ve been playing all camp. [Against Buffalo] we did start off pretty slow, and having a few guys back was a big thing for us.”


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jdagrava.1's picture

The defense was nasty and the offense was more than productive considering their Heisman hopeful quarterback went down on the first drive of the game.
But we fall in the polls... why?  Would voters drop the Buckeye because of concerns of the health of our QB?

"It takes a little something special to be a great player.  What you got in you, we're going to find out.  And if there's a touch of greatness in there, how cool would that be?"

-Urban F. Meyer

Ahh Saturday's picture

I was generally happy with the performance of the D, but would have liked to see better pressure on the QB.  In the second half, especially, SDSU seemed to have little trouble giving their QB time to throw, and this is when it was apparent that they were going to throw on nearly every play.  Also, these were not just quick slants and throws to the flat, often the QB was taking a good five-step drop and still had plenty of time to survey the field.

William's picture

Our defense had 5 TFLs and 3 sacks yesterday, and Noah Spence has already attained the same amount of TFLs and Sacks in 2 games that it took John Simon to get in the first 6 games last year.. The front 7 is getting plenty of pressure. 

Gametime's picture

It's more or less because Oregon dropped 66 & 59 on their opponents in consecutive games, Clemson has beaten two top 10 SEC teams in a row (LSU & UGA), and Baylor just dropped 70 on Buffalo and held them to 13 points.
Style points matter, regardless of who wants to deny it =/

Between goals and achievement is discipline and consistency. That fire you have inside to do whatever you love is placed there by God. Now go claim it. ~ Denzel Washington

osu07asu10's picture

I wouldn't worry about the polls, at all. If Ohio State takes care of business and wins all of their games, they will play for a national championship.

CJDPHoS Board of Directors // Best friends with Homey Hache

The 0 is silent.

cinserious's picture

Not if we keep dropping at this rate. We can't afford to drop much more and still hope to play in the NC game. Our schedule's weak so we have to be one of only two undefeateds at the end. Even then, a one loss SEC team would probably get in over us.

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

kyletp2's picture

Lets hope for an undefeated osu season....and for stanford and Oregon to have one loss. If bama, Oregon, and osu are all undefeated....we will get left out. 

You are lame if you tweet!

osu07asu10's picture

No we will not. For starters, we have the nations longest winning streak. Above that, we're Ohio State and we bring the biggest fan base in the nation to the game, and the BC$ is all about making money.

CJDPHoS Board of Directors // Best friends with Homey Hache

The 0 is silent.

Larryp713's picture

I actually think it will be a pick 'em if Oregon and Ohio State are undefeated as to who will play the SEC champ. If the Aztecs recover with their new QB, get about 8 wins, and Buffalo competes in the MAC, I think the Buckeyes have a good shot of leaping Oregon. I think the PAC 12 looks weaker than the B1G through the first two weeks. I hope the voters agree.



osu07asu10's picture

If Ohio State goes undefeated and doesn't make the NCG, it'll be the last year of the BCS, I guarantee it!

CJDPHoS Board of Directors // Best friends with Homey Hache

The 0 is silent.

Ahh Saturday's picture

I think there's more parity at the top of the SEC this year.  Bama might have taken a small step back, LSU appears to have taken a small step forward, and TAMU or UGA could beat either on any given Saturday. S Carolina and UF will not win the conference, but could give any of the actual contenders a L if things bounce their way.  I think the winner of the conference will more than likely have at least one loss.

hcazualcc's picture

nice writeup.  +1 to steve miller, keep chipping away brother.

droessl's picture

Really nice to see a good bounceback game from Reeves. 

awlinBrutus's picture

Any news on Washington's injury?


doodah_man's picture

Groin pull...

Jim "DooDah" Day

"If I were giving a young man advice as to how he might succeed in life, I would say to him, pick out a good father and mother, and begin life in Ohio.” --Wilbur Wright, 1910

andyb's picture

Been there..OUCH!! and those nag like crazy..tough to come back from that in a week.

OurHonorDefend09's picture

Yeah, they aren't fun. With Miller's production last week, why not rest him?

Don't give up... Don't ever give up.

Larryp713's picture

I don't know if they can rest him, if he is able to go. Cal is running a very high tempo offense, and the Bullets may need all hands on deck for this one.



SPreston2001's picture

If we need all hands on deck for Cal then we shouldnt be ranked #4.....
Northwestern took care of them and they barely squeaked by Portland State....

Larryp713's picture

First, I think Northwestern is a very good team. Cal has a new system, inexperienced QB, and will have ups and downs, such as Portland State. You can sleep on them if you will. The Buckeyes obviously have the talent, but Sonny Dykes offenses put all defenses through endurance tests, and Cal has playmakers.
I have a feeling the Buckeye coaches would agree with me on this one... we will need to play at least 2 deep in the front seven to keep the defense fresh and attacking.



doodah_man's picture

The Bucks were clicking on Saturday, except for the drive killing penalties. Kenny G. and Ryan Damn Shazier are my heros. Get well Brax, don't push it for a trophy.
[sarcasm/snark font] So 40 - 20, we drop in the polls. 42 - 7, we drop in the polls. Next week, we employ sarin gas and napalm for style points [unsarcasm].
Go Bucks

Jim "DooDah" Day

"If I were giving a young man advice as to how he might succeed in life, I would say to him, pick out a good father and mother, and begin life in Ohio.” --Wilbur Wright, 1910

BeijingBucks's picture

Love. It. 
Solid Gold right there!!

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

buckeyestu's picture

Not worried about the polls right now. I only care to see the defense continue to improve. There will be some non cupcake games coming up, and these first 4  games is the time for growth and getting experience for every one.

cinserious's picture

I really hope Meyer and Warriner fix the stupid penalties along the Offensive line. That should have been worked out before the first game and it obviously wasn't. Against tough competition, those penalties would surely spell a loss. Also, I know Urban likes being  aggressive on punt blocks but two weeks in a row someone ran into the kicker. Giving the ball back to the opponent with a fresh set of downs does'nt favor us in the risk/reward dept.

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

pjtobin's picture

Very nice write up. Thanks. 
It was nice getting some studs back. One more game and the whole gang will be there. 

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad. 

SPreston2001's picture

We should have hung 55+ on SDSU. We took care of business but the fact that we only scored 7pts in the second half probably cost us some votes in terms of style points. We need one of the 50-60pt blowouts to help us out in the polls.

Jabba the Hoke's picture

Sadly I think you're right, but I wouldn't worry about the polls a whole lot at this point. Keep winning, the rest will take care of itself.

buckskin's picture

So glad to see Steve Miller, aka the gangster of love, get some quality minutes and a sack.  With the recent hype of the D line the last 2 years, he seemed like a forgotten man.  Also nice to see Reeves get bouncing back and getting a pick in limited playing time.  The best way to grow is through adversity and both of these guys have had their share.

Mirror Lake Jump's picture

Jamal Marcus impressed me. He looked liked Thad Gibson but with a faster get off.