Urban Meyer had some high praise for Indiana’s defense during a Thursday radio appearance on 97.1 FM in Columbus.
“They’re the best defense we’ve faced this year and that includes Oklahoma,” Meyer said (via the Columbus Dispatch).
Hot fire from Meyer, right? He must be doing this to troll Oklahoma and coach Bob Stoops.
Or maybe he’s telling the truth while also making sure the Buckeyes don’t overlook a team it beat by just a touchdown in 2015. Let’s take a look at the numbers.
Oklahoma is currently 88th in the country in total defense, giving up nearly 430 yards per game and 5.96 yards per play. Meanwhile, Indiana is 51st in the country in total defense, giving up 373 yards per game and 5.13 yards per play. OU has given up 17 touchdowns while Indiana has allowed 10.
The competition the teams have played, of course, isn’t all that even. Oklahoma has faced Houston and TCU in addition to the Buckeyes. Indiana beat Michigan State and has played Wake Forest, Ball State and Florida International. The Sooners have played better offenses and have played a tougher schedule.
But it’s hard to defend the performance of the OU defense regardless of its schedule. The Sooners gave up three touchdowns in the fourth quarter vs. TCU on Saturday and all of the drives were 74 or more yards. Yeah, OU won 52-46, but there aren’t many Oklahoma fans out there thinking the defense is good. Which is why we think it would be hard for a Sooner fan — other than for allegiance purposes — to take issue with what Meyer said.
And besides, Meyer isn’t making this proclamation on statistics alone. His coaching staff has likely seen every minute of Indiana’s games so far (multiple times). There’s a fourth of the season’s worth of evidence to support Meyer’s claim. We’ll see if the Hoosiers will live up to his billing on Saturday.
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