Ohio State takes on Tulsa after an embarrassing loss against Oregon.
After the Ducks put over 500 yards of offense on the Buckeyes, Ohio State is ready to make some defensive changes. This was a wakeup call for Ryan Day, who has now lost two out of the last three and given up 400 or more yards in four straight games.
To say this defense from the Buckeyes is a disappointment would be an understatement. They have given up 400 or more yards of offense in both games this season. For comparison, in 2019, Ohio State didn’t allow their opponents to gain that much until the postseason.
Fortunately, they play a Tulsa team that is on the ropes. The Golden Hurricane has lost both of their games this season by a combined margin of seven points. Despite playing close games to UC-Davis and Oklahoma State, Tulsa finds themselves starting in the hole to start the season.
Despite everything going on in Columbus, Ohio State is still favored to win by more than three touchdowns.
The last time these two teams met up was in 2016, and Ohio State capitalized off of six turnovers. Dane Evans lost two fumbles and threw four interceptions, including pick-sixes to Malik Hooker and Marshon Lattimore. The Buckeyes won 48-3.
Will the 2021 edition be a repeat of the first game? Or will Tulsa be yet another team to take advantage of Ohio State’s vulnerabilities on defense?
Ohio State vs Tulsa Preview
Ohio State’s Defense vs Tulsa’s Offense
First of all, everyone wants to know what Ohio State will do defensively after being thoroughly dismantled by Mario Cristobal.
Day promised there would be changes, though he himself isn’t quite sure yet what they all will be.
For one, someone else will be calling the plays on defense. Kerry Coombs has, in all likelihood, lost that duty.
One option would be Larry Johnson, defensive line coach and assistant head coach. Johnson took over as interim head coach last season against Michigan State when Day was out. He has been with Ohio State longer than Day has.
Other options could be Day himself, as well as Matt Barnes, the defensive backs coach. Linebackers coach Al Washington could also be an option, but since the linebackers are a huge problem for Ohio State, that seems unlikely.
They are also trying to find a replacement for safety Josh Proctor after his season-ending injury. While Bryson Shaw and Marcus Hooker are under consideration still, if they could have taken the job they would have already been named. That leaves Kourt Williams, a converted linebacker, and Ryan Watts, a converted cornerback.
Tulsa will no doubt try to pound the defense with the running game. Not only is pass defense what Ohio State does best, passing is what Tulsa does least effectively. Davis Brin has yet to throw a touchdown for the Golden Hurricane this season, but he has thrown two interceptions.
Tulsa will give the ball to Deneric Prince, who has averaged 7.1 yards per carry this season.
The Golden Hurricane Offense averages nearly 400 yards per game so far. But they have only scored 40 points in two games, so Ohio State’s red zone defense will get a chance to shine.
Ohio State’s Offense vs Tulsa’s Defense
Tulsa is missing the best player on their defense from last year, linebacker Zaven Collins.
The good news for the Golden Hurricane is that Yohance Burnett is back after missing the last season with an injury. They also are returning their top two tacklers from last year, Justin Wright and Kendarin Ray. While Wright has resumed backup duty with Burnett back, he does have a 55-yard pick-six already this year.
This Tulsa defense doesn’t have much in the way of sacks and turnovers. They have only forced two sacks in two games, and Wright’s interception is the only takeaway so far.
Tulsa typically only rushes three lineman and drop eight men into coverage. C.J. Stroud probably won’t take many, if any, sacks against the three-man front. But with the extra man in coverage, Stroud might have some hiccups in his processing.
Day has made it clear he doesn’t want Stroud to throw 54 passes in a game again. The run game will be favored, especially if Ohio State leads in the second half.