With the USC game looking ahead as the first huge test on the season, I have been trying to see areas where I think the Beavers have the upper hand and areas I think they will struggle.
In this case, I am focusing on match-ups I think OSU will win.
1. OSU Tight Ends vs USC Safeties and Linebackers
Against Stanford, the USC defense lost track of the Stanford tight ends a lot on play action. Like Stanford, OSU’s tigth ends have vastly improved their blocking, so the fake to the players keying on the tight ends is far more believable. While USC has a ton of speed everywhere, I think we are going to see a few big plays from Hamlett, Smith and Wark this weekend.
2. OSU Defensive Line vs USC Offensive Line
This may not be a universal win, but OSU is doing a good job of getting penetration and forcing cutback lanes into linebackers. The speed and aggressiveness of Dylan Wynn and Jalen Grimble is really allowing twist stunts to work amazing this year. Both of those players really get a good attack and good push and the twister is coming around to wide open shots at the back and the QB. We may not keep them from blowing us up from time to time, but there is enough penetration to allow for linebackers to slide in back and make tackles. USC has a few issues on their offensive line that I think OSU can exploit a bit.
3 OSU Linebackers vs USC backs
Stanford did a good job of tracking the USC running backs with their linebackers. If the defensive line can get penetration and change the direction that the running backs are going, or plug holes that funnel the runner into the linebackers, I think our three seniors and their backups will have a huge game. In watching USC, they are physically talented at the point of attack on the offensive line, but getting to the second level is not always there. If Doctor and Alexander can keep their running backs from having easy cut back lanes or huge open field catches that are uncontested, OSU will really be difficult for USC’s offense.