In April, Ohio State sent six starters from its defense to the NFL — with three of them being taken in the first round.

On paper, it seemed as if the Buckeyes would at the very least suffer from some minor growing pains after losing so much talent and leadership from a unit that finished No. 2 nationally in points allowed (15.1 per game) and No. 9 in yards surrendered (311.3). That would have been a fair assumption coming from anyone.

But instead of taking a step back or facing key inconsistencies due to their youth (OSU has one lone senior on its two-deep depth chart in backup middle linebacker Craig Fada), they have taken a different route: the Buckeyes’ defense has gotten better.

Through five games, the Silver Bullets are allowing just 10.8 points per game (2nd), 244.6 yards (4th) and 3.69 yards per play (2nd). They’re also holding opponents to 29 percent on third down (15th), have forced 13 turnovers (t-13th) and are the best in the nation when it comes to the red zone, allowing a score just 58.3 percent of the time.

That’s pretty remarkable if you ask me.


Tyler Waddell is a news desk writer for Saturday Tradition. For tips or questions, send him an e-mail at [email protected] and give him a follow on Twitter (@Tyler_Waddell).