Ohio State vs. Oregon: 7 things to know about Ducks defense for College … – cleveland.com (blog)
COLUMBUS, Ohio — What to know about the Oregon Ducks defense heading into the College Football Playoff National Championship vs. the Ohio State Buckeyes.
No. 4 Ohio State will play No. 2 Oregon for the national championship on Jan. 12 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
1. Oregon is 77th in the country in total defense, allowing 406.3 yards per game, but the big yardage numbers don’t always mean points for the opposition. The Ducks are 27th in the nation in scoring defense, giving up 22.3 points per game.
The Ducks have been stingy down the stretch. In the last four games, Oregon has allowed 10, 19, 13 and 20 points.
2. Where’s the weakness? It would appear in the pass defense. Oregon is 111th in the nation in pass defense, giving up 265.9 yards per game through the air. Now, that number is likely inflated a bit when you consider that their opponents have the ball a lot and are often trailing.
Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston threw for 348 yards, one touchdown and one interception against Oregon in the Rose Bowl.
But Ohio State still has to like its matchup there, even with Cardale Jones at quarterback.
3. Why should Ohio State like the matchup? Jones likes to throw the deep ball, and Oregon has been susceptible there all season. The Ducks have allowed 44 passing plays of 20-yards or more this season. That’s good for 91st in the nation, tying them with Ohio State’s Big Ten opponents Maryland and Rutgers.
The Buckeyes are 28th in the nation with 51 passing plays of 20-yards or more. The big play could be there for Ohio State.
4. You don’t get to this point without doing some things well on defense. The Ducks have one of the best turnover margins in the country, and the Oregon defense has forced 30 this year. Only Michigan State (34) has forced more among Ohio State’s opponents.
You saw what happened when Ohio State turned the ball over against Alabama. It’s probably better not to give Oregon’s offense extra possessions and short fields.
5. The Ducks are missing their best defensive player. Cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu injured his knee during practice before the Rose Bowl and will miss the entire playoff. The first-team All-American is considered one of the top cornerbacks in the country, and had 63 tackles and two interceptions before suffering the injury.
6. As we did with Oregon’s offense, let’s see what the Ducks defense did against Michigan State, the only common opponent they share with Ohio State:
Michigan State racked up 466 total yards on the Ducks, but didn’t score a touchdown in the second half of a week two loss in Eugene. Spartans quarterback Connor Cook threw for 343 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Spartans running back Jeremy Langford had 86 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries.
The Spartans finished with 536 total yards in a loss to Ohio State on Nov. 8. Cook threw for 358 yards and two touchdowns, while Langford had 137 yards and three touchdowns.
7. Here’s a look at Oregon’s defensive leaders:
Tackles: Erick Dargan, FS, 90
Sacks: Tony Washington, OLB, 6
Interceptions: Dargan, 7