Getting defensive: OSU tight when it counts

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The missed tackles still bothered Ohio State.

The yardage total was higher than it would have liked to allow.

There were big third-down conversions given up that the coaching staff won't let the Buckeyes forget about.

But even with all those potential things to point out after a 29-15 win over UAB on Saturday at Ohio Stadium, there was one stat that clearly won't trouble Everett Withers.

"I think we gave up 15 points," a smiling Withers said. "That's all I give a s--- about."

The co-defensive coordinator's unit wasn't even responsible for all those points thanks to a blocked punt that produced UAB's only touchdown. And while the Buckeyes had some occasional issues getting off the field defensively and allowed 403 yards to the Blazers, the wall it put up in front of the end zone certainly helped make up for those other issues.

That doesn't mean a bend-don't-break philosophy will be embraced by Withers or the Buckeyes, but it was effective in keeping the team's record perfect after the nonconference finale.

"It’s not as good as we wanted," defensive end John Simon said. "We want to go out and have a shutout, three-and-out every time. If we give up more than zero yards, that’s not our expectation.

"Our expectations are high here at Ohio State, and that’s what we’re going to keep striving for."

The Buckeyes clearly have work to do to meet them, even if pitching a perfect game in terms of both yardage and points allowed is a bit of a stretch.

For starters, simply keeping the UAB offense out of the end zone was enough to get the only statistic that truly matters.

"When they spread you from sideline to sideline and dink and dunk, eventually you have to say that’s not going to beat you," Withers said. "And it didn’t."