FanPost

An Honest Look At Our Defense

Let's take a step back from the firing/don't fire talk and let's look at the defensive performance over the last several weeks. First and foremost, by my count from the roster on GoPSUSports.com, we have 9 juniors and seniors on the defense, with only freshman and sophomores at cornerback. We have 4 upperclassmen combined from all the defensive tackles and defensive ends on the team, and I don't know how many of them are scholarship athletes. So before we look at any games, let's understand that we have an incredibly young defense.

Now let's look at our loss to Indiana. Final score 44-24. But let's not look at the score, let's look at the defense. Our defense went into the half only giving up 13 points. Prior to a desperation 4th down attempt from our own 33 yard line, our defense had given up 28 points to Indiana. Part of that desperation was due to the fact that our defense was exhausted and seemed less and less capable of stopping Indiana's offense, which they duly demonstrated by giving up a TD on just the 2nd play after the turnover on downs. Those 7 points though are points that I hang on the offense for not only turning the ball over on downs, but not being able to get a single first down so that the defense could rest. Our defense was then immediately tasked with stopping the Indiana offense again immediately following a fumble at the 9 yard line on the kickoff, making the score 42-17. The last points Indiana put up were from a safety, which brought their total up to 44. The point I'm making here is that our defense really only gave up 28 points before they were let down by the offense and desperation. 28 points ties their season low for scoring.

Now let's look at the Michigan game. Final score 43-40. That score, however, includes the points in overtime. The score at the end of regulation was 34-34. During regulation, our defense held Michigan to scoring on only 6 of their 15 possessions. That's only 40%. Not only did we prevent Michigan from scoring on 60% of their possessions, we forced 3 turnovers! Our defense forced 1 turnover for every 2 scores they let up. Unfortunately, our offense turned the ball over 3 times, not including a turnover on downs from our own 33 that the defense gave up 0 points on. It was only after a 3-and-out by our offense when they got the ball back that eventually led to a Michigan field goal. Going into the half, we had only given up 10 points! To start the second half, Michigan returned a fumble for a touchdown, and then our defense gave up 17 points before overtime. So when we remove the turnover for a TD and the overtime field goals, our defense gave up 27 points. 27 points is the 2nd lowest point total Michigan has put up this season.

And then there was Ohio State, where we got our asses beat. After giving up a TD on the opening drive, our defense forced OSU to punt following Hack's interception in the end zone. However, our defense then took the field after a 3-and-out by our offense resulting in a TD followed by an interception after only plays which resulted in another TD. In response, our offense produced yet another 3-and-out and out defense gave up yet another TD. The result was a 42-7 deficit at half time off of 7 offensive possessions by Ohio State where they scored a TD on 85% of their possessions. So then how did Iowa manage to have a 17-10 lead the previous week against this same offense? They only gave Ohio State 3 possessions in the first half (not including the 32 seconds they had at the end of the first half). In the second half, Ohio State scored on all 4 possessions prior to running out the clock the last time they had the ball. Ohio State was able to score on 87.5% of their possessions against Iowa!

I'm not looking to make a point with this post. All I'm trying to do is give a more realistic understanding of our defense's performance over the past 3 games. In 2 of those games, our defense should be credited with giving up less than 30 points while against Ohio State, our defense performed with the same efficiency as Iowa did the week before in a game they were heralded with keeping close.

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