OSU defense again susceptible to big plays
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — The thoughts that must come seconds before the ball is snapped on a two-point conversion attempt in overtime with not only the game but the season on the line. Take them away, Ohio State defensive end Chase Young said.
“I thought about it. I said a quick prayer,” Young said, recalling the seconds as Maryland, trailing 52-51, approached the line. “And just, ‘Play. Play your technique.’”
All the Ohio State defense — after being ripped throughout the game, especially by freshman running back Anthony McFarland — had to do Saturday was make one play.
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As it turned out, the Terrapins helped.
“(The coaches) said, ‘Watch the jet,’ so basically I just jetted upfield so I could contain that jet sweep,” Young said.
They thought a jet sweep was coming, and Maryland indicated that at first.
It turned into a sprint right-choice pass play for quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome, who missed wide on a throw to Jeshaun Jones, who had stopped just over the goal line and was open.
Maryland right tackle Damian Prince had surged into the end zone and blocked Ohio State safety Brendon White, making Prince an ineligible receiver downfield and probably guilty of offensive pass interference. But there was no flag.
No matter, as far as the Buckeyes were concerned. They had made their great escape.
But what reared its head again was Ohio State’s propensity to give up big plays. McFarland had touchdown runs of 81 and 75 yards, and the Terps rolled up 339 yards rushing. Even though Pigrome was 6-of-13 passing, it was for 181 yards, including a 60-yarder and also a 27-yard touchdown pass to Jones.
“It was a little different from other games,” defensive coordinator Greg Schiano said. “A lot of it came down to tackling. But they did a very good job with their scheme. … They put you in a position where you’re going to have to make one-on-one tackles, sometimes in space. And they hit a few big shots in the air. We’ve been pretty good at that at the corner position, but they got a few on us.”
There were gaffes again, but Schiano said “the resiliency of these kids and this coaching staff and the whole operation is something that’s really, really special.”
The defensive backs got suckered on a couple of runs, and linebackers occasionally attacked a blocker instead of securing a gap, but Young thinks those things are fixable headed toward a game Saturday against Michigan that will decide the Big Ten East.
“My bros are gonna have my back (and vice versa),” Young said. “We came in here. A lot of things didn’t go real well. If we go in there against Michigan and things don’t go well, I know they’re going to always have my back, and we’re always going to fight to the end.”