Buckeyes linebackers find groove in 66-17 win over Maryland
It’s been an interesting season for the Ohio State linebacker unit.
After seeing unfavorable performances in the first two weeks of the season and several linebackers leaving the program, the No.7 Buckeyes linebackers have largely understood their issues. Head coach Ryan Day pointed out that the unit’s growing experience was one of the main reasons for their improvement since losing Ohio State in Week 2. 12 Oregon.
“These guys are fitting into their roles now. They understand where they fit in and now they have some experience to come back to, ”Day said. “It’s a very serious group and to see them play and train like they did with their energy, it’s a huge improvement for all of our defense.
Ohio State has seen several linebackers make solid contributions against the Terrapins, including a trio of outperforming second-students.
Real sophomore Cody Simon and red-shirted sophomores Steele Chambers and Tommy Eichenberg each had seven tackles, a record for the team.
Chambers led the line with six solo tackles, while being the only second-year linebacker to record a sack – which doubled as the first of his career.
From linebacker to linebacker, Chambers said he grew in his role as the season progressed.
“Definitely started to get a little more comfortable,” Chambers said. “I just try to do my job every time I’m on the pitch. I’m just trying to tell the difference.
Attentive to Chambers’ move to linebacker, Simon said his teammate has been an inspiration to him this season.
“He inspires me to be the best player I can be,” said Simon. “Every day he drives at top speed, no matter what. He’s a great player.
Senior linebacker Teradja Mitchell was also involved in the Buckeyes linebackers’ big day. The Virginia Beach, Va. Native had five tackles while picking up a loss tackle on a carry over from Maryland second-year wide receiver Rakim Jarrett.
Buckeyes linebackers were instrumental in stopping Maryland’s rushed offense – which entered the game averaging 152.2 yards per game. The Terrapins were limited to just 56 yards, their weakest performance of the season.
The game was a stark contrast to Ohio State’s Week 2 loss to Oregon, in which they allowed the Ducks to rush for 269 yards.
Chambers has indicated that the heart of the unit is the main reason for their growth at this point in the season.
“It is a testament to our determination,” Chambers said. “Just being able to come back after that Week 2 loss takes a lot of heart.”
Ahead of the Maryland game, the Buckeyes’ defense has scored in each of the last three games.
That streak continued against Maryland on Saturday, when red-shirted sophomore safety Craig Young knocked out Maryland junior quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa and walked 70 yards home to clear the to the Buckeyes the bar of 60 points.
Focusing on the defensive score, Simon said it takes all the defense to make big plays like this.
“It’s definitely a combination of the frontend with the backend and really just do our job,” Simon said. “When we do our job, things like this happen. ”
As the Buckeyes enter their week off, Chambers stressed that linebackers continue to tighten up as a unit as the season progresses.
“We play with a lot more energy. We’re definitely getting more comfortable with the system we’ve put in place, ”Chambers said. “We just have more confidence in each other to do our jobs. ”