Defense has been a staple at Ohio State during the Jim Tressel era. Last season, the Buckeyes owned the nation's top-ranked unit against the run, allowing only 73.4 yards per game. But that was last season. Although Ohio State enters its big rematch with Texas on Saturday night (ABC, 8 ET) ranked No. 1 in the polls, questions remain about its defense. Can a unit featuring nine new starters develop into a championship-caliber defense?
The results were mixed in OSU's season-opening 35-12 win over Northern Illinois. Although the Buckeyes gave up only 12 points, Garrett Wolfe, NIU's 5-foot-7, 170-pound spark plug, ran through and around them for 171 yards. Wolfe also caught five passes for 114 yards and a touchdown. That's not championship-caliber defense.
Can the Buckeyes improve their run defense enough to beat Texas? Absolutely.