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October 10, 2013

State of the defense

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - It has been a mixed bag when you look at the Ohio State defense from a statistical view. The most important number is six, as in 6-0 on the season as the Buckeyes are at the bye week after a big win at Northwestern.

Through the years the Buckeyes have been a team that has been built on defense and even though Urban Meyer is an offensive-minded coach, he still would like to have a stifling defense to be paired with an offense that ranks No. 20 in the nation in total offense and No. 7 in the nation in scoring offense.

The Buckeyes rank No. 24 in the nation in scoring defense in allowing 19.2 points per game (in comparison with the 46.8 points per game the offense is putting up on the board) and ranks No. 7 in the nation in run defense with 86.2 yards per game. The Buckeyes have not only not allowed a 100-yard rusher this season but no opposing runner has eclipsed 75 yards (Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin had 74 and Branden Oliver of Buffalo had 73).

Ohio State's pass defense on the other hand has been a little more suspect as Ohio State ranks No. 76 in the nation in passing yards allowed (240.0 ypg) and No. 65 in team passing efficiency defense (128.97). Ten of Ohio State's 13 touchdowns yielded by the defense (there was one interception return for a touchdown against Buffalo) have come via the pass and injuries have taken their toll with the loss of Christian Bryant.

But now Ohio State has a week to evaluate itself on the defensive side of the ball, a defense that ranks No. 19 in the nation in total defense with two of its toughest regular season games in the rear-view mirror (Northwestern and Wisconsin). On Wednesday we had a chance to catch up with Co-Defensive Coordinator Luke Fickell to talk to him about the state of the defense and how the coaches will spend the bye week working on some fine tuning.

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