Buckeye Bullet Points: If It’s Not Broke Edition

The Ohio State defense has been generous with yardage this season, but stingy when it comes to points.

They are ranked 71st in total defense and 31st in scoring defense.

They are allowing opponents to convert on almost 40% of their third downs, but when it comes to allowing touchdowns, the Buckeyes have really buckled down. Teams that have come to the Shoe have only cracked the end zone in 4 of their 11 trips to the red zone.

All that might lead you to one obvious conclusion…unless, that is, you are Buckeye linebacker Etienne Sabino.

“We have to impose fear in offenses. We have to impose our will on them,” he said, “so I don’t like to look at us as a bend, but don’t break [defense].”

For Sabino, rejecting the “bend, but don’t break” label is a matter of personal pride, for head coach Urban Meyer, the matter is more practical.

“We make a big deal once we pin them in, get them in there, give us the ball back and let’s go. That’s not happening,” Meyer said. “We have a lot of punts saved where we’re getting the ball back on the 12-yard line. That’s because we give up some yards, give up some runs but we’re not giving up the home run yards.”

If Ohio State is able to make improvements in the field position game, that would be significant, as their average starting position is already the 32-yard line.

That, however, may be an issue that the Buckeyes will tackle some other time. Citing injuries and inexperience, Meyer said he knows what the focus has to be when they play Michigan State Saturday.

“At the end of the day keep them out of the end zone,” Meyer told reporters. “That’s where we’re at right now.”

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