Ohio State's defense will face its toughest challenge in Pasadena

Sean JacksonContributor IIIDecember 7, 2009

COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 10:  Defensive lineman Cameron Heyward #97of the Ohio State Buckeyes makes a tackle on quarterback Scott Tolzien #16 of the Wisconsin Badgers at Ohio Stadium on October 10, 2009 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Ohio State has seen many different types of offenses throughout the year. None will match what they will meet in Pasadena.


Oregon possesses a different style of zone read the Buckeyes have not seen. Teams like Michigan use the zone read to try and deceive the defensive ends. Oregon tries to deceive the defensive line and draw plays vertically.


They also run a zone option that is unique in that they will fake the hand off to LaMichael James inside and loop a wide receiver around to be the pitch back. This creates a two on two situation which allows their playmakers the ability to break tackles for big gains.


Oregon has the playmakers to make any play a game changer. A defense could be successful stopping a majority of their plays but one missed assignment could be the difference. Just ask Oregon State. Oregon State forced the Ducks into a 3rd and 10 only to play press coverage on the corners and get burned for a touchdown pass.


Arizona and Boise State had success slowing down Oregon’s running game by putting multiple defenders in the box and attacking the Ducks. Expect Ohio State to do the same thing. If Ohio State sits back and reacts to Oregon, the Buckeyes could get buried.


Oregon has not seen a defense like Ohio State’s all season. Ohio State has the speed and power to contain Oregon’s running game. The difference will be whether Ohio State can stay in their lanes and tackle. Oregon’s offense is designed to create mismatches and one on one open field plays. The Buckeyes will have to play assignment football and tackle.


Ohio State’s defense has not allowed anyone to gain over one hundred yards rushing all season. The Buckeyes have the quickness and discipline to keep that record in tact, but it won’t be easy.


The Oregon offense going against the Ohio State defense might be the best matchup of the bowl season. The Ducks possess the game players and play design to exploit a defense’s weaknesses. The Buckeyes don’t have many. The Buckeyes defense is fast, aggressive, and can make plays in the open field. It will be the biggest challenge the Buckeye defense will face all season. At least we know they’re up for it.