Here were the things Wisconsin’s offensive linemen could do to stop Ohio State defensive end and elite pass rusher Chase Young in Saturday’s game, his former coach, Urban Meyer, said on the pregame show: They could chip him—have a fullback or tight end sprint into his ribs—with someone like running back Jonathan Taylor; they could double Young and run him back into the second level; they could use an offset fullback to slow Young down.
Wisconsin tried most of things. Really, they did. But for what? Young made a program with its own Heisman candidate and a strong offensive line look like a bunch of frauds. He launched himself into the Heisman conversation, may have helped to close the door on Taylor’s being in it, and brought to mind some of college football’s best, most physically dominant edges in Jadeveon Clowney, the Bosas and Myles Garrett.
As No. 3 Ohio State beat No. 13 Wisconsin, 38-7, amid an afternoon downpour in Columbus, Young’s play said quite emphatically that he’s not only the best player on his team or in the game, but also the best in college football. Young, 6-foot-6 and 270 pounds, shuffled off every block that came his way and consistently found a lane to the quarterback until he appeared to have broken the collective brain of Wisconsin’s coaching staff. At one point in the third quarter, the Badgers tried blocking him with one tight end on fourth down; it went, as you can expect, terribly. By the end of the afternoon, the Buckeyes defense had held one of the best running games in college football to 83 rushing yards and 191 total yards of offense.
In the fourth quarter, Young picked up his fourth sack of the day with a strip sack on Wisconsin’s Jack Coan, which tied him for a program record. (This is a program that’s produced some pretty good pass rushers, mind you.)
Earlier in the game, Young had sealed up a record-tying second 10+ sack season for himself:
Winning the Heisman will be the hard part for Young; only once in the award’s history has it gone to a primarily defensive player. But watching Young take over an otherwise sluggish game and change its momentum more than once—same as any offensive great—makes that feel like a real mistake. NFL scouts reportedly consider him the most talented prospect in the draft. Why not let him have some glory before he ends up on the Falcons?