If there is a let up on the horizon on Indiana’s schedule, it doesn’t arrive on Saturday.
After an early season hiccup against Oregon, Ohio State appears to have returned to its typical dominant form, and the Buckeyes have the look of a team that can win the Big Ten and return to the College Football Playoff.
Meanwhile, fueled by a mistake-prone and end zone averse offense, Indiana looks nothing like the 2020 darling that nearly caught OSU from behind in Columbus last year.
It will be the Hoosiers and Buckeyes under the lights at Memorial Stadium for a primetime Saturday night battle.
INDIANA (2-4, 0-3) vs. No. 5 OHIO STATE (5-1, 3-0)
- Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. Eastern
- Location: Bloomington, Ind., Memorial Stadium (52,656; FieldTurf)
- Television: ABC, Dave Pasch (p-b-p), Dusty Dvoracek (analyst) & Tom Luginbill (sideline)
- Stream: Watch ESPN
- Radio: IU Football radio network
- Odds: Ohio State is a 21-point favorite
- Weather at kickoff: 53 degrees, cloudy/few showers, wind 2 mph, 32% chance of precipitation.
- Series: OSU leads 77-12-5. Ohio State won the last meeting 42-35 in 2020.
- The Coaches:
Tom Allen is 26-26 (.500) in his fifth season as Indiana head football coach.
Ryan Day is in his third season as Ohio State head coach. He posted a 3-0 record as the Buckeyes acting head coach to open 2018 and owns a 28-3 overall mark (.903), including a perfect 18-0 Big Ten record.
TALE OF THE TAPE
THE COMPLETE BIG TEN WEEK 7 SLATE
|University Park, Pa. (Conf.)||TV: ABC Stats Radio: Busey Bank Illini Sports Network Video|
|Ann Arbor, Mich. (Conf.)||TV: Fox Stats Radio: WGN Radio AM-720 Video|
|West Lafayette, Ind. (Conf.)||TV: BTN Stats Radio: Purdue Sports Network Video|
|Minneapolis, MN (Conf.)||TV: ESPN2 Stats Radio: KFAN 100.3 FM Video|
|Bloomington, Ind. (Conf.)||TV: ABC Stats Radio: IU Radio Network; Sirius 136, XM 195, SXM App 957|
WHEN OHIO STATE HAS THE FOOTBALL
Indiana has been good at not allowing big plays, but they will be tested in this one against OSU’s No. 1 ranked offense.
Freshman quarterback C.J. Stroud struggled a bit early in the season and sat out one game with an injury, but since then he has been lights out. In the last two games against Rutgers and Maryland, Stroud completed 41 of his 56 passes for 736 yards, 10 touchdowns and no interceptions.
Stroud throws to a dynamic trio of big play receivers. Garrett Wilson (31 reception, 546 yards, 6 TDs), Chris Olave (30 receptions, 494 yards, 7 TDs), and Jaxon Smith-Njigba (23 receptions, 452 yards, 3 TDs) will test Indiana’s secondary. The Hoosiers hope to have starting cornerbacks Tiawan Mullen and Reese Taylor back from injuries.
Ohio State freshman running back TreVeyon Henderson has rushed for 612 yards and nine touchdowns through his first six college games while averaging 8.7 yards per carry. He has also been a factor in the passing game, catching seven passes for 154 yards and two more touchdowns.
A big question will be whether the Hoosiers blitz heavily and try to force mistakes while leaving themselves exposed for big plays, or instead choose to keep everything in front of them, force long drives, and limit the amount of Buckeye possessions.
WHEN INDIANA HAS THE FOOTBALL
Don’t look now, but Ohio State’s defense is improving as well. Their loss to Oregon brought about several changes including a move to a two-deep safety approach and an adjustment when it comes to who calls the plays.
Ohio State’s bend but don’t break style might play into the notion of IU game-planning for long drives that consume the clock when it has the ball too. Indiana has certainly had their share of long drives this year, with most ending in field goals rather than touchdowns. To date OSU has been more vulnerable in the passing game, but part of that is no doubt situational, with the Buckeyes often building big early leads that force the opposition to abandon the run.
The Buckeyes were hit hard by the NFL Draft as per usual, and the new talent is gradually rounding into form, also as per usual.
Ronnie Hickman leads the team in tackles from his “Bullet” position, a hybrid linebacker-safety role, and he will likely be tasked with both stuffing the run and slowing Indiana tight end Peyton Hendershot.
Defensive tackles Tyleik Williams and Haskell Garrett lead OSU in sacks with 4 and 3.5 respectively. In fact, 17 of the Buckeyes’ 19 sacks have been produced by the line, highlighting that they don’t need to rely on the blitz to generate a pass rush.
If IU has a chance it must pick on a young OSU secondary like they did last year in Columbus, but to this point the Hoosiers’ receivers haven’t shown the ability to make big plays.
Indiana has an identity crisis. Their identity is that they have an offense that cannot produce enough points to keep up, and it is putting their postseason chances in crisis mode. Never will that be more apparent than on Saturday night.
You could argue that Ohio State has only played one good team this year, and it lost that game. But Indiana’s inept offense makes the Hoosiers just another not very good team in the Buckeyes’ way.
These are two programs headed in different directions right now.
TDH: OHIO STATE 42 INDIANA 17
COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS: Ohio State 41 Indiana 17
ATHLON: Ohio State 49 Indiana 21
BUCKEYES WIRE: Ohio State 48 Indiana 17
LAND GRANT HOLY LAND: Ohio State 41 Indiana 19
ESPN SP+ (Computer): Ohio State 38 Indiana 19
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