The Slow Decline of Ohio State's Pass Defense Finally Cost Them a Game

By Johnny Ginter on October 13, 2018 at 11:52 pm
Ohio State corners getting abused by Purdue receivers

The signs were there.

Yes, the back seven had been maligned for their play in other games for various reasons, but tonight they were well and truly defeated by a Purdue Boilermaker team with an electric freshman receiver and a game plan that focused on targeting their biggest weakness: defending virtually any pass.

Let's go all the way back to the TCU game. While the team gave up 300 yards of passing against the Horned Frogs and quarterback Shawn Robinson, you might've reasoned that hey, it's basically an away game against a top tier opponent. You might've also overlooked the completed passes of 42, 51, and 34 yards because TCU lost and Ohio State won and all's well that ends well.

That only works for so long. Tulane was a blowout, but the Buckeyes gave up passes of 38 and 39 yards. Penn State? Awesome comeback win. Also gave up a 93 yard touchdown pass. Indiana had two receivers with 100 yards or more and a quarterback who dropped 322 yards passing. Minnesota wideout Tyler Johnson tore up the Buckeye defensive backs for 119 yards.

And tonight? Purdue wideout Rondale Moore had 172 yards receiving and two touchdowns from Boilermaker quarterback David Blough racked up 378 yards through the air. That Purdue was the team to finally break the camel's back probably isn't a shock; coach Jeff Brohm has a passing pedigree in both his personal history and his coaching history. As a mentee of Bobby Petrino, he's developed the Boilermakers into a team uniquely suited to attack Ohio State where it would hurt the most defensively.

Coming into the Purdue game, Ohio State was ranked 113th in the country in passes allowed of over 30 yards, giving up 14 in seven games. Linebackers have taken poor angles on crossing routes, safeties have been out of position and missed easy tackles, and cornerbacks have made numerous mental errors. Ultimately this falls on the shoulders of Greg Schiano and Taver Johnson, because this is a unit that is regressing in virtually every successive game.

You can add more pieces of evidence against this defense after tonight, and possibly many, many more unless something gets fixed quickly.

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