Ohio State-Clemson: Which Defense Will Step Up?
The loss that Ohio State suffered to the Spartans was one that some people actually predicted. Despite having a far inferior offense, when compared to Ohio State, the Spartans defense was one of the top - if not the very best, defenses in the country. They dominated other teams with physical play. People figured that, if they could do the same thing to Ohio State, they might be able to pull out a victory, and that's just what they did.
A lot was learned from that game, but the most important thing going forward is that a shootout with Clemson is looming. Both teams put up tons of points. Neither team has played great defense - outside of Shazier, who has been terrific. What this means is that the game might not come down to prolific QBs like Boyd and Miller. It might not even matter if Hyde continues his incredible year and runs for more than 100 yards. It is clear that there are going to be plenty of points on the board at the end of the bowl game.
The difference is going to be whichever defense decides to step up. They might not even have to be incredible; they're going to get enough support from the offensive scoring machine to give up some points and still win. Ohio State could probably give Clemson 28 and still take it.
The most important player in the game is going to be Ryan Shazier, and that is something that should make OSU fans very happy, considering how good he has been. If he can shut down the run and get enough pressure to disrupt the pass, that could be all that Ohio State needs to roll to a victory. Creating turnovers should be the focus, taking Clemson scores off of the board and keeping the ball in Miller's hands.