Three Key Stats: 3rd Down Defense, Struggles on the Ground and Clutch Kicking

By Jared Naughton on November 7, 2021 at 10:15 am
Jack Sawyer gets a sack.

Another ugly win for the Buckeyes.

The Buckeyes showed signs of the Penn State hangover we were all worried about in their 26-17 win over Nebraska on Saturday. There was some good, more bad, and a lot of ugly in this game. 

In Today's Three Key Stats, we look at the bend don't break defense, the struggling rushing attack, and clutch kicking from Noah Ruggles. 

2/13 on Third Down

The Cornhuskers were held to a 15.4% third-down conversion rate, converting just two of 13 third-down conversions against the Buckeyes on Saturday. This is a significant improvement from last week, when Ohio State allowed Penn State to convert 11 of 16 third-downs – a 68.75% rate.

The third-down defense has been an up and down for Ohio State this year, but this was easily their best game on third down.

90 Rushing Yards

Ohio State was held under 100 yards rushing for the first time this season against Nebraska. TreVeyon Henderson saw they majority of carries, rushing for 92 yards on 21 attempts.

The offense clearly went to the passing game early and often with C.J. Stroud attempting 54 passes in the game, and the Buckeyes failed to establish any consistent rushing attack.

The offensive line also saw some shuffling throughout the game, with Dawand Jones not starting the first series due to illness. This is the second week in a row the running game has shown weakness. 

4/4 FGA

Noah Ruggles has been the most consistent player for the Buckeyes this year, proving his worth again with a 4 field goal game. He is now 15/15 on the year, with his season long coming against Nebraska at 46 yards.

Ohio State won this game by nine points, and got 12 of them from Ruggles' field goals. Similarly, the Buckeyes beat Penn State by nine points last week with Ruggles also hitting four field goals. This means that for the second-straight week, Ruggles was the difference for Ohio State.

Obviously, the Buckeyes don't want to have to rely on the field goals, but clutch kicking is a valuable asset to have going forward, especially if Ohio State finds itself in anymore scrappy games.

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