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OSU’s Defense Vs. The Nation

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Photo Attribution:Emily Nielsen

Yesterday we looked at how OSU’s top offensive talent stacked up against this year’s award winners in college football. As one would expect from a team that averaged L (roman numerals) points per game, the answer was “well.”

How about that defense though? That defense that Mark May mocked and Kirk Herbstreit giggled at. That defense that led the Big 12 in scoring average and led the country in takeaways.

Well, how about it?

Chuck Bednarik Award (defensive player of the year)

 

Maybe if Matt Millen would spend less time fawning over his favorite non-wide receiver in all of football, and more time coming up with a good nickname for him, then Brown would have been invited for Orlando for the awards show. Brown came from out of nowhere to supplant, well, himself from last year (77 tackles, 2 INT, 10 passes defended) in this year’s defense. He didn’t have the punt returns Honey Badger did, and probably got thrown towards far more often, but numbers are numbers, and he had a ton of those.

Dick Butkus Award (best linebacker)

 

I kept staring at that 191 number, checked it with multiple outlets, momentarily thought I had inadvertently eaten a pot brownie and was seeing double or triple (I have no idea if that’s what happens when you eat a pot brownie), and then finally just accepted it. The Cowboys actually regressed at this position from a star standpoint from last year when Lemon and Gent combined for 210 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, and 4 sacks. Caleb Lavey and Alex Elkins were adequate stop-gaps, but that 4.3 YPC against wasn’t because of the defensive line (sounds weird to say that, huh?). This is definitely a position OSU needs to get a lot better at.

Jim Thorpe Award (best defensive back)

 

Again, Brodrick went toe-to-toe with two of the nation’s best in the stats department and didn’t look foolish. While we’re here, and because he doesn’t get enough credit, let’s talk about the year Daytawion Lowe had: 88 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 INT, 5 passes deflected, and 3 forced fumbles from a guy who wasn’t even supposed to start until four days before the first game is…um…good.

Ted Hendricks Award (best defensive end)

 

Easily the defensive MVP for OSU here. All of this gets buried by the crazy cool offense and 11-win season, but one huge reason OSU won those 11 games is because of how well the front line of Nigel Nicholas, Richetti Jones, and Jamie Blatnick played, not to mention how healthy they were throughout the season. Those three combined for 26 tackles for loss and 12 sacks on a defense that led the country in total plays given up (1,008!), but still managed to finish 52 in yards per play (5.31). Just behind…OU.

Ray Guy Award (best punter)

 
I’ve already said they should rename this award the Ray Guy-Sepulveda award and if we don’t get Quinn Sharp as a finalist soon, I’m just going to start calling it the Daniel Sepulveda-Guy award in protest.

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