That Ohio State defensive line is scary, Jim Mora learns something and more

Colin Gay

We hope you’ll start your day with us here at as we work to prepare you for everything that you need to know — Monday through Friday — around the world of Ohio State sports. Whether it’s football, basketball, wrestling, hockey, baseball or just a wild story we hope you find interesting, we’re here to share it all with you.

Today is Friday, Jan. 6, and this is your Ohio State Wake-Up Call. 

Rewriting the story of the Ohio State defense

In 2016, the story of the Ohio State defense was in the secondary. The defense had more interceptions (21) than passing touchdowns allowed (11). As all Ohio State fans know, seven of those interceptions were returned for touchdowns.

However, with the main catalysts of the historic secondary leaving, safety Malik Hooker, cornerback Gareon Conley and, most likely, cornerback Marshon Lattimore, the Ohio State defense may need to rewrite the story of the defense in 2017. With the talent returning on the defensive line, that will not be hard.

Senior DL Tyquan Lewis, the Big Ten’s Defensive Lineman of the Year, will lead a very intimidating and experienced front. Lewis is not the only lineman returning for a senior season. Both DL Sam Hubbard and DL Jalyn Holmes return in 2017.

And wait, there’s more. The young guys on the line are not going anywhere. Nick Bosa, Robert Landers, Dre’Mont Jones and Mike Hill, who combined for 21.5 tackles for loss and six sacks, are options for the Ohio State defensive line. Plus, Tracy Sprinkle, returning from injury, is expected to contribute.

The future is bright for a defensive line that was stout in 2016, allowing only 3.4 yards a rush and eight total rushing touchdowns. Think of the possibilities for 2017.


Another heartbreaker

Going into his game against Purdue, forward Marc Loving explained the state that Ohio State was in with their losses up to that point.

“We’ve been in all of the games that we have lost and there are some stretches where we feel like we beat ourselves,” Loving said.

Nothing changed Thursday night when the Buckeyes (10-5, 0-2) lost to the No. 20 Boilermakers (13-3, 2-1) at home, 76-75.

The “beating themselves” was there, as center Trevor Thompson missed a free throw with 29.3 remaining that would have put the Buckeyes ahead. With the game tied, Purdue forward Caleb Swanigan made one of two free throws to secure the win. Ohio State guard JaQuan Lyle missed a three-pointer as time expired.

“We feel like we’ve worked as hard as we possibly can and left it all on the floor,” Loving said. “Guys are going to be emotional because it’s just the love of the game. We want to win.”

The Buckeyes must adjust quickly after two straight losses to start the Big Ten season as Ohio State will travel to play Minnesota on the road Jan. 8.

“That’s why you take it one game at a time,” said Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. “When the schedule came out, I looked at it and said ‘uh oh.’ By the same token, we got to get ourselves ready to go on Sunday in Minneapolis. Obviously, Minnesota is playing great basketball right now.”

Even with two straight losses to begin conference play, foward Jae’Sean Tate feels as though this team is different than past teams.

“From all the years I’ve been here, this team, I really feel like we want it,” Tate said. “This team, I feel like everybody is working hard. We just have to figure out a way to bring that emotion and energy every night. Keep working hard because eventually we are going to hit our stride.”


Many winning teams run the spread 

UCLA coach Jim Mora made some controversial comments about college football teams who run a spread offense.

That did not sit well with Ohio State fans. They had some fun reminding people of coach Urban Meyer and his success using the spread.

Meyer and the rest of the Ohio State coaching staff will just let history speak for itself.


All-Star point guard has a nice ring to it

A career-high 18.3 points per game, a career-high 3.6 rebounds per game, 5.6 assists per game, 43.3 shooting percentage and a career-high 42.1 percent from the 3-point line. Not bad numbers for a 10-year veteran who has never made an All-Star game.

Point guard Mike Conley has been one of the most underrated guards in the NBA throughout his career. Help this Ohio State alumni make his first All-Star game.

B1G happenings