Young's strip-sacks contribute to onslaught
When Ohio State overwhelmed Miami University in the second quarter Saturday of a 76-5 victory, it involved a flurry of points.
The Buckeyes scored touchdowns on six straight drives. But credit their defense, too. Twice, they gained possession in opposing territory, benefiting from a pair of strip-sacks by defensive end Chase Young, who batted the ball from quarterback Jackson Williamson’s grip.
Williamson had replaced starter Brett Gabbert earlier in the second quarter. Young overwhelmed him.
Get the news delivered to your inbox: Sign up for our BuckeyeXtra newsletter
“To see Chase come off the edge like that was unbelievable,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. “It’s one thing to be a veteran. It’s one thing to be really good. It’s another thing to play that way and produce. And to see him do that changed the game just like that.
“Not only that, it changes the momentum of the game. If you’re on the other side of the ball and you see that a couple times, that can take your heart away. And I think it did.”
The second strip-sack was particularly devastating for Miami.
It occurred on the first play of a drive after an Ohio State touchdown late in the second quarter. The RedHawks had given the ball right back and watched the Buckeyes score a minute later.
Young’s disruptive approach in the backfield stemmed from a philosophy emphasized by Larry Johnson, the team’s defensive line coach.
“They drill the fact that when you come behind a quarterback or come from the side, you secure the tackle with one arm and you strip with the other,” defensive co-coordinator Greg Mattison said. “He's done a great job of that.”
“We practice that drill every day in practice,” Young added.
In several instances when he pursued the quarterback, Young said he sought to knock the ball loose.
It was usually his primary approach as a pass rusher.
“That's why sometimes, I miss sacks,” Young said. “I'm trying to hit the ball on the other side.”
Even if a bit of a gamble, Young hasn’t missed too many sacks this season: He raised his total to seven.
It is a notable number. Through only four games, he is halfway toward the Ohio State season record set by Vernon Gholston in 2007.
The overall effort by Young against the RedHawks was important. Five scholarship defensive linemen, including defensive ends Jonathon Cooper and Tyreke Smith, were among the team’s inactives. But Young seemed to play even better, finishing with a pair of tackles for loss as well.
“We’ve got to keep him going at that level,” Day said. “He’s got to keep producing, because when he does, our defense is really good.”