Mr. Jones Keeps D-Line In Terror Mode

By Jeff Rapp, September 18th, 2018

It has become evident to all who follow Ohio State football that Nick Bosa is an absolute terror on the defensive side of the ball. The unblockable defensive end is a preseason All-American, the reigning Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year and is off to an awe-inspiring start to his junior season.

However, by now it is also plain to see that the Buckeyes have a true standout on the interior of their defensive line in the form of another junior – tackle Dre’Mont Jones – who picked up the slack after Bosa left the game with an apparent groin/lower abdominal injury.

In fact, after OSU’s impressive 40-28 win over TCU in Arlington, Texas, on Saturday night, it’s safe to say Jones is cementing his own strong resume.

After logging six tackles, two for loss, a sack, a pass break-up and scoring a touchdown off an interception, Jones was an easy pick as Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week. The conference made the announcement on Monday, the same day OSU head coach Urban Meyer returned from his suspension and announced Bosa will not play against Tulane on Saturday (3:30 p.m. Eastern, Big Ten Network).

The No. 4 Buckeyes trailed the No. 17 Horned Frogs 21-13 in the third quarter of a virtual away game, yet the OSU defense held firm from there and paved the way for the all-important comeback. The biggest play in a three-touchdown spurt over a 4-minute span was when the 6-3, 290-pound Jones picked off a Shawn Robinson aerial and ran it back for a 28-yard TD that provided a 26-21 lead.

“With a quarterback like that, I know he likes to run,” Jones told Cleveland.com after the game. “On that play in particular, he was a little hesitant running on the outside, so I kind of sat back to see what would happen, and I read it perfectly. The ball came directly to me.”

Bosa came out of the locker room at halftime without his pads and unable to play the rest of the night. That absence ignited Jones, who may be OSU’s second-best defensive player and also, like Bosa, is a candidate to be a high draft pick next spring.

“When we lost Nick it was kind of a little bit of a wake-up call, because we lost our best guy,” said Jones, who came to OSU by way of Cleveland St. Ignatius. “So we knew we had to go out there and play. There’s no one to rely on, we have to go play. We have to rely on ourselves and each other. After a hard first half, we did.”

Jones did almost all of his damage after Bosa’s exit from the game. In fact, on the very first play after Bosa’s injury, Jones shot into the backfield and blasted TCU running back Sewo Olonilua a half-second after he received a handoff from Robinson.

One of Jones’ sacks was a 12-yard slam-down of Robinson in the fourth quarter that helped close the deal for the Buckeyes (3-0). It was another key moment for a fourth-year junior who appears to be on the verge of very big things.

Through three games, Jones is third on the team with 11 tackles and has also added three sacks (minus 28 yards) and four tackles for loss (minus 29 yards). His three sacks tie him for third-most in the Big Ten and rank first among defensive tackles.