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Time is winding down for Ohio State and its historic defense to prepare for Clemson on New Year's Eve.

Ohio State defense only works as a unit, Big Ten play not a problem for No. 14 Buckeyes and more

Colin Gay

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Today is Thursday, Dec. 29, and this is your Ohio State Wake-Up Call. 


Teamwork

There is no doubt that this Ohio State defense that will come out against Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 31 is historic. Just look at these numbers:

  • 3rd in the nation in total defense (282.3 yards per game)
  • 3rd in the nation in scoring defense (14.2 ppg)
  • 2nd in the nation in defensive TDs (7, all on interception returns)
  • Tied for 5th in the nation in passing TDs against (10)
  • Tied for 2nd in the nation in rushing TDs against (5)

All of that is to say that this defense does a lot of things right and there are many reasons for the success. That is why players have been so complimentary of the other areas of the defense. DE Sam Hubbard talked about how the line and the secondary work together to bring havoc to opposing offenses.  

“You are either going to get there or it’s going to be an incomplete pass usually,” Hubbard said. “The fact that we have that confidence in our defense, and (are) not putting too much pressure on ourselves to get to the quarterback, lets us just have fun, play with freedom. We pressure them, they pick them off.”

As a part of that legitimate secondary the Buckeyes have, S Malik Hooker gives credit to the cornerbacks on either side of him.

“What is there to say? They are NFL corners,” Hooker said. “Denzel Ward just came here last year, but he has already bought into the culture and does a lot of great plays. Gareon Conley, he’s been starting for basically three years and one of the best cornerbacks I’ve seen and one of the better leaders I’ve seen. Marshon [Lattimore], he’s one of the most athletic dudes I’ve seen.”

This is the kind of relationship that makes the Ohio State defense one of the best, statistically, for the program in recent memory. However, this is going to have to continue against Clemson. Hubbard has seen other defenses, on tape, struggle with what the Tiger offense is bringing.

“They really have a good tempo in the way they control the game,” Hubbard said. “You can see guys that they play not getting lined up and them just moving the ball when they want to move the ball and controlling the game. We really got to, after a play, run to the ball, get lined up and rest there and be ready to go. We can’t get taken advantage of. We have to be ready and control the game.”


Strong start

The Ohio State women’s basketball team started conference play right where it left off in nonconference play, dominating the opposition. The No. 14 Buckeyes beat Minnesota 87-62 on Wednesday for its first Big Ten win of the season.

Ohio State (11-4, 1-0 Big Ten) started strong from the get-go while the Gophers (9-5, 0-1) made only 1 of their first 10 field-goal tries. As Minnesota struggled, the Buckeyes thrived, going on two early scoring runs to take a 38-18 lead early in the second quarter.

Ohio State, as a whole, was defensively minded, limiting the Gophers to a 28.6 field-goal percentage, including just 15 percent from behind the 3-point line. The Buckeyes also forced 24 turnovers which led to 18 Ohio State points.

Guard Kelsey Mitchell once again led Ohio State in scoring with 23 points on 9-of-21 shooting, 5 of 12 from beyond the arc. Mitchell also had 6 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals, while guard Linnae Harper added 12 points, 12 rebounds and 3 assists in 17 minutes off the bench.

Ohio State will next take the court on New Year’s Eve in Bloomington, Ind., where they will face the Hoosiers for a 3 p.m. ET tip. CBS Sports Network will televise the game.


New calling

While “The Best Damn Band in the Land” is rehearsing at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, one student may be on his way from dropping his instrument and putting on some shoulder pads.

Austin Brizee, a trumpet player in the band, nailed a 55-yard field goal recently, and video of the kick was posted on the Ohio State Marching Band Twitter account on Tuesday. The tweet even asked head coach Urban Meyer and special teams coach Kerry Coombs if they needed a kicker for the Fiesta Bowl.

Well, Brizee might get his chance after all.

Eron Hodges, an assistant director of player personnel at Ohio State, tweeted back extending a tryout invitation for Brizee. I mean, when you see any person hit a 55- yard field goal when no kicker in the Big Ten hit one from farther than 53 yards this season, it is bound to turn some heads.

With senior Tyler Durbin currently holding the field goal kicking duties for the Buckeyes, who knows, maybe another walk-on will get a shot.


Babies to help “Beat Clemson”

The staff at the OSU Wexner Medical Center is converting people early. According to a tweet, every baby born through Dec. 31 will receive a “Beat Clemson” sleep sack or blanket.

At least these #BuckeyeBabies are learning from an early age which football team they have allegiance to.


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