Linebacker Steele Chambers' career day helps Ohio State football dominate Rutgers

Ashley Beach
The Columbus Dispatch

It was a career day for some key players in Ohio State's 49-10 win over Rutgers on Saturday.  

Miyan Williams tied the OSU single-game touchdown record with five, and his 189 yards on 21 carries were career highs. And linebacker Steele Chambers had a career-high 11 tackles, including eight solo.

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Before Saturday, Chambers hadn’t had more than seven tackles in a game since Ohio State played Maryland in 2021. That day, he also notched six solo tackles, which was then his career-high.  

Chambers' two tackles for a loss of nine yards on Saturday were his most since he had one-and-a-half for a loss of three yards against Purdue in 2021.  

Part of what has helped Chambers grow is time, but the other is his embrace of the position. 

“Going over the defense, just understanding how to be a better linebacker outside the scheme, that was really big for me,” he said.  

Ohio State linebackers Steele Chambers (22) and Tommy Eichenberg (35) led the Buckeyes in tackles in a 49-10 win over Rutgers. Steele had 11. Eichenberg recorded nine.

What's been big for the defense, at least lately, is turnovers. After going the first two games without any takeaways, the Buckeyes now have five in their last three kickoffs.

Chambers noted the importance of what defensive coordinator Jim Knowles calls playing offense on defense. It’s something Chambers, a former running back, had to do Saturday.  

With less than 30 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Chambers intercepted Evan Simon’s pass to Johnny Langan. He made it only 12 yards before he was yanked down by Simon.  

“I didn’t know what to do afterwards,” Chambers said. “I haven’t had a ball in my hands for two-and-a-half years or something. So, I just ran to the sideline.”  

Steele Chambers' 11 tackles marked a new career high for the Ohio State linebacker.

A few years ago, it was Chambers’ job to make linebackers miss. Now, he has to be the one to navigate the storm.

“The defense (was) creating chaos out front with a couple of those calls," he said. "I was just really doing my job.”

Chambers has also thrived playing alongside fellow linebacker Tommy Eichenberg, who on Saturday had nine tackles and who has been Chambers' roommate the past three years. Knowing each other's games has helped Chambers understand his role.

“Like I said before, trusting my assignments," he said. "That’s really just doing what’s needed and then the coaches put us in certain spots to make plays."

Said coach Ryan Day: “It’s hard to get style points when you’re playing in that style of the game. The one thing about our team is that they’re good with that. Our guys on defense love it."

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