One game may not reverse a trend, but it is a good step in Ohio State’s defensive turnaround. Linebacker Tommy Eichenberg was named the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) on Wednesday for his efforts against Notre Dame in the season opener.
The Buckeyes would go on to win the game 21-10 over the then No. 5 Fighting Irish and Eichenberg would put up an impressive stat line of nine tackles, three tackles for loss and two sacks as part of the new Jim Knowles designed defense.
Ohio State has moved to a system where the base defense only sees two linebackers on the field and Eichenberg has locked down his spot. The 6-foot-2, 236-pounder was part of Ohio State’s group effort that held Notre Dame to just 72 yards in the second half and zero points after Ohio State went to the halftime locker room down 10-7.
The Ohio State defense would only give up 23 rushing yards in the second half of the game on only 12 attempts as the Buckeyes were able to take the run game away from Notre Dame in large part.
Notre Dame’s 10 points was the lowest mark for a top-five opponent against Ohio State since the Buckeyes held No. 4 Penn State to just seven points in 1996.
The past two games for the Ohio State linebacker have been worthy of awards as Eichenberg was named the Rose Bowl defensive MVP as part of Ohio State’s 48-45 win over Utah.
Eichenberg is the first Ohio State defensive player to win the weekly award since Chase Young took home the honor in 2019. Young would go on to win the national award later that season.