Before he made the first sack of his junior season, Ohio State defensive end Chase Young slid past an offensive tackle without much effort and charged into the backfield.
Chris Robison, the Florida Atlantic quarterback, was helpless.
He tried to sidestep Young, who lunged, then dragged Robison to the Ohio Stadium turf with only his right arm.Get the news delivered to your inbox: Sign up for our BuckeyeXtra newsletter
Young finished with 1.5 sacks and 1.5 tackles for loss Saturday, a disruptive presence in a 45-21 win over the Owls.
Ohio State needed a strong showing from its available defensive linemen with a string of injuries that limited some of the depth, including Jonathon Cooper, who had been expected to start opposite Young at the other end position.
Those healthy were plenty productive.
“From the first half, it looked like they were in the backfield on every play,” co-defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley said. “It was a good first impression, and I hope they continue to do that.”
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No one seemed to arrive in the backfield more often than Young, who has emerged as the star of the defensive line after Nick Bosa left for the NFL following last season.
Young, himself a possible top draft pick next year, felt confident about his strong start. He smiled when asked whether he thought he could not be blocked.
“Ask that to any d-end in the country, they're going to say no,” Young said, “so I don't think they can block me.”
If they tried to double-team him, he wasn’t worried either.
“I feel like it doesn't even matter, Young said. “If they double me, it's going to free one of our inside guys up.”
Young contributed to another sack with defensive tackle Robert Landers, and the Buckeyes had four sacks against the Owls.
The pressure from the defensive line served as one of the biggest reasons why Florida Atlantic’s offense had trouble moving the ball and had minus-14 yards at halftime. Its first four drives went three-and-out.
The spotlight should remain on Young, especially if the Buckeyes remain without some of their other top defensive ends.
Young thought there were areas he needed to shore up to continue to be a challenge for opposing offensive lines. Much of it involved his stance.
“Hands and hips, my first step,” Young said. “I felt like I popped up when I ran off the ball. I feel like I stood straight up.”
As if he isn’t hard enough to block.