Aug 5, 2021
Ohio State overcame opt-outs, injuries, and a 14-point deficit behind CJ Stroud and Jaxon Smith-Njigba’s record setting performances in the Buckeyes’ 48-45 Rose Bowl victory.

Defensively, Utah used an increasingly familiar formula against the Ohio State offense. Targeting the Buckeyes’ heavy tendencies to run when in the pistol or under center and throw when in an offset shotgun, the Utes principally played two high safeties (most often cover 2) against the latter, and an 8-man box with cover 1 against the former.

This single-high approach—combined with slanting and stunting up front—found early success against an Ohio State run game that featured heavy amounts of wide zone into the boundary. For instance, below on third and one, Utah aligns in an eight man, cover 1 look against Ohio State’s unbalanced, under center, 12 personnel  formation.

The Buckeyes fake a jet sweep to run mid-split zone. Although H-back Mitch Rossi has to pick up the defensive tackle as the...

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