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Top individual performances of '13: No. 7

2/13/2014

We're filling our football void by reliving the 2013 season and its best individual performances.

Our list of the 10 best performances by a player takes into account the difficulty of opponent and stakes of the game and tries to identify record-breaking, honor-winning, jaw-dropping games from league players. Players are limited to one entry on this list for variety's sake.

We head back to the defensive side of the ball for this next entry:

No. 7: Shazier gives IU nightmares

Who and against whom: Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier was all over the field as the Buckeyes' defense shut down Indiana's high-scoring offense in a 42-14 win on Nov. 23.

The numbers: Shazier had 20 tackles, including 16 solo stops, plus five tackles for loss, a forced fumble, a sack and a pass breakup.

A closer look: Shazier won Big Ten player-of-the-week honors for his game against Illinois on Nov. 16, when he collected 16 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss. A week later, he would top himself.

Let's not forget that Indiana's offense was very, very good in 2013 -- one of the best in the country, in fact. And Ohio State's defense, as we saw down the stretch, was downright shaky. But Shazier nearly single-handedly bottled up the Hoosiers with his ferocious, swarming play. He tied the school record for total tackles and tackles for loss. He became the first Buckeye to record 20 tackles since A.J. Hawk in 2004 and the first to have 16 solo tackles since Tom Cousineau in 1978.

I thought Shazier should have been the Big Ten defensive player of the year. On this November day in Columbus, at least, there was no one better.

More top performances:

Christian Kirksey vs. Nebraska

Jared Abbrederis vs. Ohio State

Braxton Miller vs. Penn State