Ohio State’s production on defense in 2019 is matching its talent level. That is more true this season than it has been in a while.

Under new head coach Ryan Day and a bevy of new coaches on that unit, including co-coordinators Jeff Hafley and Greg Mattison, the Buckeyes are clamping down on opponents in a way not seen around Columbus in more than a decade.

OSU is No. 2 in the nation in total defense through five games, allowing 223.8 yards a game. Only Wisconsin (192.3 ypg) has been stingier.

On Saturday against Nebraska, on the road, the Buckeyes faced the most potent offense they had seen yet. But the Cornhuskers gained just 231 yards, 47 passing. Nebraska was 4-for-12 on third down, keeping up a trend for OSU, which ranks fifth in the nation in third-down defense (24.7 percent).

“In spring and preseason we really go against each other hard. Iron sharpens iron,” Day said after the Nebraska win. “The whole staff does a great job of preparing those guys.

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“We talked about what it would take to win this game on the road and we hit on all cylinders.”

Nebraska ran some old-fashioned option and fullback running plays but the Buckeyes still stepped up and stuffed the Cornhuskers throughout, save for one 56-yard run by quarterback Adrian Martinez.

“It was a good job by our defensive staff of adjusting,” Day said.

Through five games, all levels of the Buckeyes defense have been very impressive.

Defensive end Chase Young is second in the country in sacks per game at 1.6 (eight total sacks). Like the team’s total defense, the No. 1 spot belongs to the Big Ten as well — Oluwole Betiku Jr. of Illinois averages 1.75 sacks per game.

Young also leads the Buckeyes in tackles for loss with 8.5 but linebacker Malik Harrison is hot on his heels with eight. The Buckeyes also have seven interceptions — and have yet to throw one — with cornerback Jeff Okudah tops with three.

Perhaps most impressive, OSU has not yet allowed 300 yards in a game, or even 275. Cincinnati gained 273 yards against the Buckeyes — and that was OSU’s lone shutout. In 2018 the Buckeyes held just three opponents under 300 yards.

Before now, the last time OSU went five straight games without allowing 300 yards was in 2007 when the scarlet and gray put together a seven-game streak.

That’s the kind of production that should keep Ohio State squarely in the College Football Playoff conversation, and perhaps avoid the pratfalls the team had taken the past two season at Iowa (2017) and Purdue (2018).

“We had that in the back of our head a little bit but we tend to just forget about that,” linebacker Harrison said, according to CBS Sports. “It’s a new year. We’re playing way better than we did last year.”

The evidence of that is all around this fall in Columbus.