Nick Bosa bought into the player-rotation system at the heart of Ohio State’s defensive-end play the past two seasons because of all the capable players available, but he didn’t mind the more limited subbing Saturday a 77-31 win over Oregon State.
Named preseason All-American by several publications and primed to be one of the elite players in the country, the junior had a grand start against the Beavers. He ended with two sacks and his first collegiate touchdown, pouncing on a fumble in the end zone caused by linebacker Pete Werner.
“It’s cool,” Bosa said of scoring. “I like getting sacks better, but touchdowns are cool, too.”
>> Read more: Ohio State defeats Oregon State, 77-31 in season opener
He was excited about being in the mix more, at least when the game was in the balance.
“It was fun just playing … not rotating as much, just getting more comfortable out on the field,” Bosa said.
Not that it was red-letter day for the defense, which gave up three long touchdown plays to the heavy underdog Beavers.
“We made a lot of small mistakes in the second half that can easily be fixed; even in the first half we had some mistakes,” Bosa said. “Once we fixed those, we can take what we did good today and build on it.”
>>Watch: Ohio State Marching Band halftime show
One facet that was good on occasion was the Bosa-Chase Young pass rush. Young said a coach told him they were averaging 1.7 seconds from snap to affecting the quarterback, either with a quick throw, a sack (the Buckeyes had five) or a bailout scramble.
“I think that’s pretty good,” Young said. “But we’ve still got a lot more work to do. I jumped offsides twice” within a three-play span in the first quarter on plays when cornerback Jeffrey Okudah also was called for pass interference.
Three of Oregon State’s touchdowns came on long plays: 49-yard catch by Trevon Bradford on a pass from Conor Blount, and 80- and 78-yard runs by Artavis Pierce in the second half.
The video session with the coaches likely won’t be pleasant.
“That’s bad football,” first-year defensive co-coordinator Alex Grinch said. “There’s no sugarcoating it. That’s not what good defenses do.
“So after week one you have to evaluate yourself and say ‘How are you going to get it corrected?’ … We’ve got to get back tomorrow and make sure we get some of those corrected. It’s demoralizing to a football team, and we’re very fortunate it didn’t have an impact on the outcome.”