Jerome Baker Steps Up With 16 Tackles Against Wisconsin, More Than Any Other Player in a Single Game All Season

By Johnny Ginter on December 3, 2017 at 2:04 am
Ohio State linebacker Jerome Baker

So right off the bat, I'll tell you that Jerome Baker accounted for 16 tackles, 15 of them solo, two tackles for loss, and one sack against the Wisconsin Badgers in the Big Ten Championship game. It was a really incredible performance, but you may not have a full appreciation for exactly how good until you stack it up against every other game from a defensive player this season.

Not only is 16 tackles more than any other Buckeye has had in one game so far this season, it's actually way more: Tuf Borland had 12 against UNLV earlier this year, but that's as close as anyone else has come to matching tonight's performance.

And while volume of tackles isn't always an indicator of excellence defensively, it's also worth noting that Baker and company played far better than most felt possible against a Wisconsin offense that many felt was primed to pick them apart. Troy Fumagalli and Alex Hornibrook surely wanted to hook up for much more yardage than they were ultimately able to (only five catches for 45 yards on 11 targets), but Jerome Baker and the rest of the linebacking corps played well against both the run and the pass, and it showed on the stat sheet.

Most importantly for Baker, though, was likely his sack of Hornibrook late in the third quarter of the game. Baker's crucial, clutch plays in containing Hornibrook and Fumagalli (and running back Jonathan Taylor) at key points in the game were critical in helping Ohio State win its second Big Ten championship under Urban Meyer.

There's been a lot of criticism leveled at the linebackers all season, including tonight, and a lot of it has been justified. But when they do good, they deserve credit. Congrats to Jerome Baker for balling out.

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