Ohio State has scored 52 touchdowns this season -- and six of them originated in the hands of the opposing quarterback.
The Buckeyes' six pick-sixes are not only the most in the country this season (and a school record), it's the most by any team since SMU took eight to the house in 2012. With at least four and as many as six games still to play, Ohio State could easily top the Mustangs' number.
Even more impressive -- the Buckeyes have done so much damage on a relatively little number of total interceptions. Look at it this way: 78 teams over the past two seasons have intercepted at least 14 passes -- as Ohio State has through its nine games to date in 2016 -- and only one of them recorded six pick-sixes... and that team intercepted 26 passes on the season.
So, how do they do it? Having really good, athletic players is the obvious first step. Other than that: they emphasize turnovers, dating back to spring ball and fall camp, and bang into their players' heads the idea that simply getting the ball ins't enough.
“We work very hard at that. And one of the things we tell our defense is great defenses score touchdowns. Good defenses take the ball away, great defenses take it and score,” Schiano said Sept. 12, via Eleven Warriors. “We're not there yet but we're getting that feeling that if we get our hands on the ball, put it in the end zone.”
Two of the Buckeyes' picks came on Saturday in a 62-3 avalanche of Nebraska.
“Guys turned like their hair was on fire to get blocks and escorted them in the end zone,” Meyer said. “I think No. 1 is athleticism. No. 2 is the intensity and drive they have to go get blocks on blocks, body on body, when there is an interception.”
All that emphasis has led to a hard-to-fathom scenario where there's a good chance Ohio State will take one pass from its opposing offense, and when they do, there's a near 50 percent chance it goes back for six the other way.