Horned Frogs stiff test for OSU defense

COLUMBUS — Lost in Ohio State’s explosive 2-0 start has been the performance of its defense.

After what was termed a less-than-stellar effort against Oregon State in Week 1, the Buckeyes allowed only a field goal in besting Rutgers by 49 points in their Big Ten opener.

“I feel like we came out and executed our gameplan really well from top to bottom from our starters to our young guys,” defensive tackle Robert Landers said following the 52-3 victory against the Scarlet Knights inside rainy Ohio Stadium.

“I’m very proud of our performance, but I’m sure when we go back and watch the film, there will be a lot of things we’ll need to work and need to correct.”

Greg Schiano, OSU’s defensive coordinator, found that to be the case. And at the No. 4 Buckeyes’ weekly media presser, he said No. 15 TCU, Ohio State’s opponent Saturday night in Arlington, provides plenty for the unit to be concerned with.

“Their offensive line is as good as any in the Big Ten,” he said. “It is that kind of offensive line, very, very good. Skill people. They are fast. It’s a very fast football team.

“You look at their receivers, you know, it’s one, it’s two, and these are really athletic kids in the backfield.”

The Horned Frogs, averaging 446 yards per game, are led by quarterback Shawn Robinson.

“He’s a really good player who is multi-dimensional, who can throw,” Schiano said. “He’s a strong arm guy. He’s a huge test for our defense. This is a very fast, athletic productive offense.”

Schiano said Robinson presents a challenge not faced by his defense yet this season.

“When the quarterback carries the ball and can do it well, then you know, the defensive math changes and really, playing good defense is getting people to the point of attack and then making the tackle,” he explained.

“So when the quarterback runs it you need to get another guy to the point of attack and, obviously, he doesn’t run it all the time. He reads it. It’s like option football. So it changes.”

As the Buckeyes prepare for their toughest test of the season, its defense seems to have all of its parts working at just the right time. Jordan Fuller returned to the lineup last week and was in on three stops.

“He has a real good spatial awareness and he’s a good tackler,” Schiano said.

Tuf Borland continued to ease his way back into game shape. After playing a limited role in the opener, the sophomore linebacker made three tackles Saturday.

Nick Bosa had another sack and ranks third nationally in that stat. He’s had a sack in five straight games. Against Rutgers, he had five tackles, all solos.

“He’s playing at a high level, very high level,” Schiano pointed out. “He affects — as an offensive coach, you’re going to know where he is all the time.

“When you’re a player of Nick’s talents, it’s not just that play where you’ve got to protect him and what people try to do is slow him down on other plays, on runs plays and make him play off this block and that block and just try to district him.”

Landers is pleased to see the unit coming together.

“Our goal, not only as a unit but as a team is to be the best in the country,” he said.

“And I feel from week to week we’re trying to put ourselves in the proper position so we can achieve that. I feel like were making the strides we need to make. We’re getting there.”