Ohio State football's defense held without a sack in loss to Oregon

Joey Kaufman
The Columbus Dispatch

The host of issues on defense for Ohio State in its 35-28 loss to Oregon on Saturday included placing minimal pressure on Anthony Brown, the Ducks’ quarterback.

The Buckeyes did not sack Brown, marking the first time since 2018 that they failed to record at least one sack in a game.

Defensive tackle Haskell Garrett attributed the issue to Brown’s awareness as he anticipated the rush throughout the game.

“They were just getting the ball out of their hands fast,” Garrett said. “There's really nothing you can do, you just got to close the pocket. We're known as the 'Rushmen,' so everybody's on notice that they have to get the ball out of their hands fast.”

Brown was under pressure at times. The Buckeyes were credited with five quarterback hurries. But he stayed upright and was never brought down to the turf.

In its season-opening win at Minnesota a week earlier, Ohio State had twice sacked quarterback Tanner Morgan, including a sack and strip by defensive end Zach Harrison in the third quarter that was recovered by Garrett and returned for a touchdown.  

No Kayvon Thibodeaux for Oregon

Ohio State did not face Kayvon Thibodeaux, the star defensive end for Oregon and potential top pick in next year’s NFL draft.

Thibodeaux, who sprained an ankle in the Ducks’ season opener, traveled with the team for Saturday’s game and looked as if he might attempt to play against the Buckeyes, but he never warmed up ahead of kickoff.

He remained in sweats and stood on the visiting sideline at Ohio Stadium throughout the game.

Feared as a pass rusher, Thibodeaux had a sack and strip that led to a touchdown in Oregon’s opening win last week against Fresno State.

The absence of Thibodeaux helped the Buckeyes’ offensive line keep quarterback C.J. Stroud well protected until he was sacked twice in the fourth quarter.

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Ohio State running back Miyan Williams is stopped by Oregon linebacker Noah Sewell on Saturday.

Oregon’s defense was also without linebacker Justin Flowe, a talented freshman and former five-star recruit who had led the Ducks with 14 tackles while making his first start in their opener.

Flowe was on the sideline with his right foot in a walking boot on the sideline.

Josh Proctor carted off with an apparent leg injury

Safety Josh Proctor was carted off the field in the third quarter after trainers placed an air cast on his right leg.

Proctor suffered the injury before Oregon scored a touchdown to move ahead by a score of 28-14.

"We're obviously praying for the best," coach Ryan Day said, "but it did not look good from the field."

He was available after appearing to injure his shoulder in the season-opening win at Minnesota and his status had been in question leading up to kickoff.

Redshirt sophomore Bryson Shaw, though, got the start as the single-high safety, while Proctor waited until the second quarter before entering the game.

Shortened running back rotation

After distributing carries to four running backs at Minnesota, the Buckeyes used only TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams against Oregon.

Starting for the second straight week, Williams saw the first nine carries in the first quarter before Henderson would spell him.

Williams finished with 14 carries for 77 yards, while Hendeson had 12 carries for 54 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Neither Master Teague nor Marcus Crowley carried the ball.

Exclusive passing club for C.J. Stroud

Stroud became only the third Buckeyes quarterback to throw for more than 400 yards in a game.

The others to reach that threshold include Art Schlichter and Dwayne Haskins

Starting secondary brings back Cameron Brown

After being sidelined for the season opener, Cameron Brown returned for the Buckeyes and started at the outside cornerback spot opposite Denzel Burke.

Burke, a true freshman, made his second consecutive start.

Transfer linebacker debuts

Linebacker Palaie Gaoteote made his debut for Ohio State in the second quarter.

It was only one day after the NCAA determined Gaoteote was eligible to play for the Buckeyes this season after transferring from USC in June.

Punting precision

Punter Jesse Mirco twice pinned Oregon at its 1-yard line during the first and second quarters.

It was only the Australian freshman’s second appearance for the Buckeyes after joining the program earlier this year and taking over punting duties from Drue Chrisman.

Kickoff returns

Freshman wide receiver Emeka Egbuka handled kickoff returns and took two of them back for a total of 56 yards.

In the season opener, Henderson had been back for kickoff returns.


Haskell Garrett started at defensive tackle along with Taron Vincent. Garrett had been a reserve at Minnesota, while Antwuan Jackson started with Vincent. ... The announced crowd was 100,482. Since the expansion of Ohio Stadium in 2001, the Buckeyes have drawn crowds of at least 100,000 for all but two games spectators have been permitted, but four days before kickoff, as many as 10,000 tickets remained unsold.

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