Oregon State knew that putting a stop to Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa’s reign of terror would be no easy task. The Beavers had an entire offseason to prepare for the 6-foot-4, 263-pound junior and still couldn’t stop the preseason All-American pass rusher.
In the first half alone of Saturday’s season-opening 77-31 win over the Beavers, Bosa recorded four tackles, two sacks and recovered two fumbles — one of which came in the end zone with 1:13 left in the second quarter, giving the Buckeyes a 28-point lead at the break.
It was the first touchdown of his collegiate career.
“Nick's funny," sophomore defensive end Chase Young said of his teammate with a smile. "You've got a great player in Nick. It's always a race to the quarterback. (Bosa's touchdown) was real exciting. We're real fortunate he was there to score."
Bosa was far from being the only Buckeye to wreak havoc in the Beavers’ backfield. Junior defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones had three tackles and two sacks, and sophomore linebacker Pete Werner added five tackles, a sack and a forced fumble — which led to Bosa’s touchdown.
All five of the Buckeyes' sacks came in the first half with Bosa being the ring leader.
“It was fun," Bosa said. "I love going against our team because our offensive line is as good as I'll face. But it's definitely fun to hit some other people after four weeks of playing (his teammates)."
In broader sense, Ohio State's entire defensive line has been pegged as one of the best in the country. While the linebackers and secondary struggled at times Saturday, for the most part, Bosa's group lived up to its reputation.
"I think in the first half, we did real good," Young said. "When our starters were in, we were fast and explosive. You've got Dre'Mont, Jonathon Cooper, Jashon (Cornell) ... I think every time a play happens, it's a race to the ball. That's what we try to do."
Bosa’s early production should come as no surprise. As a sophomore, he tallied 34 tackles — 16 for a loss — and nine sacks en route to being named the Big Ten’s Defensive Lineman of the Year and a first-team All-American.
Many believe this season could be his last in Columbus before joining his older brother Joey in the National Football League.
Earlier in the week, he told reporters “There’s no reason we shouldn’t win a national championship.” His Buckeyes took the first step to accomplishing that goal Saturday with a win but still have some work to get done.
“There's definitely a lot of pressure," Bosa said. "But when you can go out and have fun like I did today, and enjoy who you're doing it with ... just playing with these guys that I've been working hard with for years on end and coach (Larry Johnson), and making him happy, that's what really matters."