The talk all season has been that the Penn State Nittany Lions have had some struggles on the defensive side of the ball. Those struggles were on full display to a national, primetime television audience against the Ohio State Buckeyes Saturday night in Columbus.
The Nittany Lions looked completely unprepared for the speed of quarterback Braxton Miller and the Ohio State offense. The fast-paced offense was able to move at will on the ground and through the air.
On the surface, it seems that the Penn State secondary struggled in coverage against the Buckeyes. While that’s true, as Miller had many wide-open receivers to throw to, the main problem was the defense’s inability to stop the run.
Ohio State racked up 408 yards on the ground.
Missed tackles seemed to be the biggest problem for the Nittany Lions, especially on Miller and running back Carlos Hyde. Miller rushed for 68 yards and two scores, while Hyde led the way with 147 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Watching the Nittany Lions miss tackles on defense is nothing new, as that’s been a discussion among many all season.
The Buckeyes racked up an amazing 686 yards of total offense. What’s really impressive is that 414 of the total yards came in the first half, helping Ohio State to put up 42 points before halftime.
In their previous two losses to Central Florida and Indiana, the Nittany Lions really struggled at getting off the field on third down. That trend continued in Columbus, as the Buckeyes were able to convert seven out of 10 third-down chances.
Penn State has gotten away with problems on defense for the most part this season, but a team as good as Ohio State magnified those struggles. The Nittany Lions where smaller and slower and unable to stop anything that the Buckeyes did.
Defensive coordinator John Butler, who may now be on the hotseat, has to regroup and this his squad ready to take on Illinois next week.
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