Three Key Stats: The Silver Bullets Show Up for Ohio State Against Notre Dame in Jim Knowles' First Game As Defensive Coordinator

By 11W Staff on September 4, 2022 at 10:15 am
Mike Hall Jr. with the sack against Notre Dame

Are the Silver Bullets back?

The wise among us would probably suggest we get a few more data points before drawing that conclusion, but for one night, in new defensive coordinator Jim Knowle's first game in the Ohio State press box, it sure looked like it.

Ohio State's 21-10 win over No. 5 Notre Dame didn't produce the offensive fireworks many expected. In fact, the 21 points were the Buckeyes' fewest in a win since beating Michigan State, 17-16 in 2016, but that defense. Man, that defense.

2 Completions

Notre Dame quarterback Tyler Buchner hit Lorenzo Styles on a 51-yard toss to start the game, setting up a field goal for a quick 3-0 Irish lead. Buchner then completed his next seven passes for an 8/8 start and finished the first half 8/10 as Notre Dame took a 10-7 lead to the locker room.

Then the Ohio State defense went to work.

Huried and repeatedly hit in the second half, the Buckeyes held Buchner to a meager two completions in the second half. Thirty minutes of football. Two completions.

Meanwhile, C.J. Stroud finished the game with completions in 11 of his final 12 attempts.

6 punts

With the defense bottling the Notre Dame run game (2.5 yards per carry on the night and just 23 rushing yards in the second half) and Buchner struggling to find time or receivers after the Ohio State defense settled in, the Irish were forced to punt on their final six possessions of the game.

After getting 10 points on its first four possessions, Notre Dame averaged 4.7 plays and 19.3 yards per drive from midway in the second quarter until the final whistle.

However, Notre Dame punter Jon Sot did have a heck of a night, repeatedly turning bad field position for the Irish into bad field position for the Buckeyes. Consider he had punts of 26 and 35 yards and still put up an average of 46.2 Saturday night with a long of 75. Very fitting of the young man to honor Jim Tressel, in the house for the 20th anniversary of the 2002 national championship team.

95 yards

Leading 14-10 with 11:57 to play, Ohio State went to work on the ground, putting together a game-clinching 14-play, 95-yard drive to stretch the lead to 11.

And it was largely Miyan Williams-powered.

The third-year running back from Cincinnati carried the ball seven times for 49 yards on the drive and punched it in from the two to make it 21-10 with under five to play. “Chop” also came up clutch with a 12-yard reception on 3rd-and-3 at the Ohio State 24 to keep that game-clinching drive alive.

A 95-yard, “we're going to run it right at you and you can't stop it” drive to ice the game away means new offensive line coach Justin Frye slept well Saturday night.

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