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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Evan Bachman

Ohio State defensive player-by-player PFF grades for Rutgers game

Ohio State moved to 9-0 on the season with a 35-16 win on the road over Rutgers on Saturday.

The Buckeyes went into the halftime break trailing for the first time all season, but a strong second half sparked by a 93-yard interception return for a touchdown by Jordan Hancock, led to a multiple score victory.

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Ohio State stuck with its theme of playing bend but don’t break defense. Although Rutgers was able to move the ball at times, the Scarlet Knights were held to just one touchdown on their five trips to red zone.

In this article we dig deeper to break down each defensive position group’s performance using Pro Football Focus grades for each player. Though not the ultimate measuring stick, PFF is a good tool because it grades every player on every play.

Interior Defensive Line


Starter: Tyleik Williams

PFF Grade 76.9 (59 snaps)
Stats 0 tackles, 3 assisted tackles, 2 pressures on 22 pass rush snaps

Starter: Michael Hall Jr.

PFF Grade 67.7 (42 snaps)
Stats 2 tackles, 2 assisted tackles, 0 pressures on 17 pass rush snaps

Other: Ty Hamilton

PFF Grade 71.6 (28 snaps)
Stats 3 tackles, assisted tackles, 2 pressures and 1 sack on 13 pass rush snaps

Other: Hero Kanu

PFF Grade 56.3 (12 snaps)
Stats 0 tackles, 0 pressures on 4 pass rush snaps

Other: Tywone Malone

PFF Grade 43.2 (6 snaps)
Stats 0 tackles, 0 pressures on 3 pass rush snaps

What It Means

Ty Hamilton had one of the biggest plays of the game with a sack on Rutgers quarterback Gavin Wimsatt on fourth down and goal in the fourth quarter.

Edge Rushers



Starter: J.T. Tuimoloau

PFF Grade 70.2 (66 snaps)
Stats 6 tackles, 2 assisted tackles, 2 pressures on 25 pass rush snaps

Starter: Jack Sawyer

PFF Grade 80.8 (56 snaps)
Stats 4 tackles, 1 assisted tackle, 3 pressures on 24 pass rush snaps

Other: Kenyatta Jackson

PFF Grade 50.5 (13 snaps)
Stats 2 tackles, 0 assisted tackles, 0 pressures on 3 pass rush snaps

Other: Caden Curry

PFF Grade 55.6 (7 snaps)
Stats 0 tackles, 0 pressures on 6 pass rush snaps

Other: Omari Abor

PFF Grade 67.6 (3 snaps)
Stats 0 tackles

Other: Mitchell Melton

PFF Grade 61.9 (3 snaps)
Stats 0 tackles

What It Means

Jack Sawyer was the highest graded defensive player for the Buckeyes. He had three pressures and three stops in the run game.


Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Starter: Tommy Eichenberg

PFF Grade 60.1 (70 snaps)
Stats 5 tackles, 6 assisted tackles

Starter: Steele Chambers

PFF Grade 65.6 (44 snaps)
Stats 4 tackles, 4 assisted tackles, 1 pressures

Other: Cody Simon

PFF Grade 74.1 (40 snaps)
Stats 7 tackles, 3 assisted tackles

What It Means

One thing to keep an eye on moving forward into next week is Tommy Eichenberg’s injury status after missed the final drive and was seen with ice wrapped around his arm.



Starter: Davison Igbinosun

PFF Grade 62.3 (74 snaps)
Stats 6 tackles, 5 receptions allowed on 7 targets for 52 yards and 1 TD on 30 coverage snaps

Starter: Jordan Hancock

PFF Grade 59.2 (74 snaps)
Stats 2 tackles, 2 assisted tackles, 1 pressure, 2 receptions allowed on 6 targets for 48 yards, 93 yard interception return for TD on 28 coverage snaps

Starter: Jermaine Mathews Jr.

PFF Grade 66.7 (69 snaps)
Stats 2 tackles, 1 assisted tackle, 0 receptions allowed on 2 targets on 29 coverage snaps

What It Means

Jordan Hancock’s pick six was the biggest play of the game for the Buckeyes. True freshman Jermaine Mathews Jr. started in place of the injured Denzel Burke and had another stellar performance, allowing no catches on two targets.



Starter: Sonny Styles

PFF Grade 74.5 (73 snaps)
Stats 4 tackles, 2 assisted tackles, 0 targets allowed on 27 coverage snaps

Starter: Josh Proctor

PFF Grade 61.1 (63 snaps)
Stats 2 tackles, 1 reception allowed on 2 targets for 0 Yards, 1 PBU on 15 coverage snaps, 1 pressure

Starter: Malik Hartford

PFF Grade 53.2 (31 snaps)
Stats 1 tackle, 1 assisted tackle, 0 receptions allowed on 2 targets, 1 PBU on 13 coverage snaps

Other: Kye Stokes

PFF Grade 60.0 (1 snap)
Stats 0 targets allowed on 1 coverage snap

What It Means

Josh Proctor made a huge play on the pick six, making the hit that jarred the ball into the arms of Jordan Hancock. With Lathan Ransom out with an injury, Sonny Styles played 73 of the 74 defensive snaps.

Contact/Follow us @BuckeyesWire on X (formerly Twitter), and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Ohio State news, notes, and opinion. Follow Evan Bachman on X.

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