Countdown to the National Championship: How Oregon and Ohio State’s secondary stack up
In the days leading up to the 2015 College Football Playoff National Championship, the Emerald will take a unit-by-unit look at Oregon and Ohio State, determining which team has the edge going into the showdown on Jan. 12 in Dallas. Today, we’ll look at each team’s secondary.
No Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, no problem for Oregon against Florida State. Redshirt freshman corner Chris Seisay had six tackles and help limit Heisman winner Jameis Winston and the Florida State offense to 20 points.
Senior corner Troy Hill continued his successful season by shutting down Florida State star receiver Rashad Greene. Greene finished with six receptions for 59 yards, but most of it game after Oregon pulled away against the Seminoles.
Safeties Reggie Daniels and Erick Dargan combined for 17 tackles against Florida State. Dargan also recorded his team-leading seventh interception.
With an aided pass rush, the secondary unit appears to be one of Oregon’s strongest position groups despite the loss of Ekpre-Olomu. Against Ohio State, the secondary will have to come up big against Buckeyes quarterback Cardale Jones, who is making the third start of his career.
As a sophomore, safety Vonn Bell has become the leader in the Buckeyes secondary. Bell is second on the team in tackles (86) and his six interceptions leads the team. He also had a key interception in the fourth quarter of Ohio State’s 42-35 Sugar Bowl win over Alabama.
Fellow safety Tyvis Powell is fourth on the team in tackles and has four interceptions.
All-Big-Ten corner Doran Grant is the captain of the Buckeyes defense. he as five interceptions this year, ioncluding two agaisnt Wisconsin in the Big-Ten title game.
The secondary has 17 of Ohio State’s 24 interceptions.
Advantage – Oregon
Ohio State is going up against Oregon’s high-powered offense and Heisman winner Marcus Mariota. That task is a lot harder for the Buckeyes than going up agianst a quarterback making his third career start. Even though Ohio State’s Cardale Jones has proven to be a skilled quarterback, his experience level is cause for concern.
Ohio State’s best asset in the secondary is their ability to take advantage of mistakes and create turnovers. Against Mariota, who has three on the year, that won’t be easy.
Oregon’s increased pass rush is a good sign for the Ducks secondary. Also, Seisay being able to step in and play is huge for Oregon.
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