Ohio State sophomore defensive end Chase Young felt the repercussions of Nick Bosa’s absence immediately.
WIth the junior defensive end out indefinitely after undergoing surgery to repair a core muscle injury, Young said he watched as the Tulane tight end, usually saved as a blocker to double-team Bosa, slid over to double-team him.
“With Nick on the other side, you can’t really double-team,” Young said. “If you do slide that way, Nick got a one-on-one. If you slide the other way, then I got the one-on-one. Nick definitely made a big impact.”
Bosa was not the only loss for the Ohio State defensive line on Saturday.
Redshirt junior defensive lineman Robert Landers did not play in Saturday’s game after Meyer had said in his Big Ten Teleconference on Tuesday he was “probable” heading into the matchup with Tulane.
For redshirt junior defensive tackle Davon Hamilton, who started in place of Landers on the defensive line, there was not any doubt in the unit’s ability, even without two of its key pieces.
“I thought we were fine beforehand,” Hamilton said. “Just before the game. Everybody was in a vibe, everybody was ready to go. You could see it in people’s eyes. We were ready before.”
However, with the offense Tulane ran against Ohio State, Young and the defensive line did not get many opportunities to rush the passer, to prove the unit’s ability without Bosa.
The Green Wave rushed the ball 42 times compared to only 16 pass attempts. When senior quarterback Jonathan Banks did throw the ball, it was high-percentage, low-yardage throws.
Of the three sacks recorded, only one was made by a defensive lineman, freshman Tyler Friday, who recorded his first collegiate sack.
“Today was wishbone football,” head coach Urban Meyer said. “You didn’t have the sacks, the pass rush, which is a big part of who those guys are.”
Instead of the defensive line making a major statistical impact, the linebackers, in Young’s opinion, played some of their best football this season.
The unit recorded 6.5 of the 14 total tackles for loss, including three tackles for loss and a sack by redshirt senior Dante Booker.
However, even with the success of players like Booker and sophomore linebacker Baron Browning, who recorded 1.5 tackles for loss including a sack, Young and the rest of the defensive line would have loved for Banks to stay in the pocket longer.
“From a defensive line standpoint you want a team that can pass the football … you just want sacks,” Young said. “But at the end of the day, you can’t be selfish. I think, when they did throw the ball, you know, we beat our man. They just got the ball out fast. There was nothing we could do.”
Banks finished the day completing eight of 14 passes for 141 yards, but only ran for 14 yards on 12 rushes, losing 33 yards at the expense of the Ohio State defense.
For Young, no matter the type of offense he was facing, he said he played with “a chip on his shoulder,” holding the expectation of being Bosa on himself and the rest of the defensive line in the junior defensive end’s absence.
It’s the mentality of “next man up,” the identity instilled in Ohio State’s defensive line from coach Larry Johnson.
Moving forward, as Ohio State shifts its focus to a ranked Penn State team, Young said the expectation remains.
“I did my best today to pick up the slack. I try and be unblockable, as every defensive lineman does,” Young said. “With Nick down, everyone knows we have to pick up the slack. Coaches were telling me, ‘We need you. Pick up the slack for Nick. There can’t be no drop offs.’”