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OSU defense makes major strides versus Penn State

November 1, 2013
By SETH STASKEY - Buckeye Blitz (sstaskey@timesleaderonline.com) , Times Leader

Ohio State fans haven't been the only ones who've been waiting for the defense to come around and play more like the Silver Bullets they've become accustomed to.

Urban Meyer and the entire Ohio State coaching staff have been seeking that, but they've learned to become a little more patient because of the youth that's been playing a lot of snaps and then you throw in a few injuries and there are going to be some growing pains.

However, aganst Penn State last week, the Buckeyes made major strides. Pittsburgh Brown had an interception on the first Nittany Lions' possession and that seemingly gave the Buckeye the boost it needed.

"That gave us a lot of momentum and football is a game of momentum," said OSU defensive coordinator Luke Fickell "Where it comes from? Who knows? At times, you have to create it yourself."

By no means is the defense exactly where Meyer wants it because he - like OSU fans - is accustomed to seeing the Buckeyes' defense listed amongst the best in America.

Depth at certain spots is still a concern, especially at linebacker. While Ryan Shazier is playing at a high, high level and Curtis Grant has been solid, there's little depth there. It's even less after Devan Bogard tore his ACL for the second straight season.

"It's an area where we need to continue to build on a daily basis," Fickell said. "Whether it's on or off the field or in recruiting, all of those situations are something that I obviously see on a daily basis. All you can do is continue to battle through."

HISTORY OF THE SERIES

The Buckeyes and Boilermakers have met 55 times and the Buckeyes have won 39 of those. Of those meetings, the Buckeyes are 12-8 in games at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette. The Buckeyes haven't won at Purdue since 2007 and the last two games have both gone into overtime.

OHIO STATE TIES

Moreso than any week the Buckeyes have played, there will be an Ohio State flavor on the other sideline, too.

Darrell Hazel spent several seasons working under Jim Tressel before embarking to Kent State for his first head-coaching gig.

Serving as the Boilermakers' linebacker coach is OSU alum Marcus Freeman. He was coached by current OSU defensive coordintor Luke Fickell during his time in Columbus.

"I tried to talk him out of coaching," Fickell said. "It's a crazy business, a lot of things you give up. The number one thing is especially if you played here and win, sometimes you think I want to get into coaching because I want to coach at Ohio State. The reality is not every place is like this."

All told, four members of the Boilermakers' staff played or coached at OSU.

On top of the coaches, Purdue has nine players who graduated from an Ohio high school.

TAKE A BREAK

Ohio State is becoming accustomed to playing teams coming off bye weeks. Purdue will be the fourth straight opponent the Buckeyes have faced that didn't play the week prior.

The Buckeyes get to return the favor to Illinois in two weeks. Ohio State gets its final rest before the stretch run next week.

The Buckeyes were off three weeks ago prior to playing Iowa.

When they come out of the bye, Ohio State will travel to Illinois and then close out the home schedule against Indiana before making the trip north to face Michigan the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

WANT TO GO?

If you're looking for something to do and are conidering making the drive to West Lafayette. It's about a 6-hour drive from the Ohio Valley to the Purdue campus.

Tickets won't be that tough to get. A quick check of the website StubHub, revealed that tickets can be purchased for as little as $10 for the game.

ON THE DIAL

If you're not up for making the trip for the noon game, the Buckeyes and Boilermakers will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network at noon.

Kevin Kugler and OSU graduate Glen Mason will call the action.

 
 

 

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