Ohio State Defense Must Improve Dramatically for 2014 Title Run

With quarterback Braxton Miller running Urban Meyer’s spread system, Ohio State’s offense operated at a record-breaking efficiency in 2013. The high-flying Buckeyes scored points at a historic rate on their way to a second consecutive undefeated regular season.

A beleaguered defense, however, cost Ohio State a chance to play for a national title. The Buckeyes were one victory away from punching their ticket to Pasadena, Calif., but Michigan State ran through the Buckeyes in the Big Ten title game. Clemson did the same thing four weeks later in the Discover Orange Bowl, handing Ohio State its second loss in as many games.

If the Buckeyes hope to make a run at major college football’s first playoff, they’ll need dramatic improvement on that side of the ball.

Despite this year’s poor results, Meyer has lofty expectations for his defense.

“Is it what we expect? No, we expect a top 10 defense at Ohio State,” Meyer said, according to Kyle Rowland of Eleven Warriors.

The Buckeyes were far from that this season. Ohio State ranked 46th in total defense, giving up an average of 377 yards per game. The Buckeyes were particularly bad against the pass, ranking 110th out of 123 teams after allowing an average of 268 passing yards to opposing quarterbacks.

It was late in the season, as if the defense were deteriorating, when things fell apart for Ohio State.

Looking ahead to next season, the Buckeyes will return six of seven starters in the front seven, but they’ll be losing…

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