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IU football game day: Ohio State primer and prediction

It doesn’t get much bigger than this.

Everything is on the line as Indiana tries to win one for the ages and keep its Cinderella season rolling.

The Hoosiers have shocked the college football world with wins over Penn State, Michigan and Michigan State.

But now its time to play king of the mountain, and the ruler has been swatting away IU like a fly for 32 years.

It’s Indiana and Ohio State with Big Ten East supremacy on the line.


No. 9/10 INDIANA (4-0) at No. 3 OHIO STATE (3-0)

  • Kickoff:  Noon ET
  • Location:  Ohio Stadium (102,780 / no fans), Columbus, Ohio
  • Television:  Fox
  • Series:  Ohio State leads the series 76-12-5 (last meeting Ohio State won 51-10 in 2019 | last Indiana win – 41-7 in 1988)
  • Odds:  Ohio State is a 20.5 point favorite
  • Weather at kickoff:  48 degrees, cloudy, wind 6 mph, 25% chance of precipitation.

Tom Allen is 22-20 and now in his fourth full season as the head coach at Indiana.

Ryan Day is in his second season as Ohio State head coach. He posted a 3-0 record as the Buckeyes acting head coach to open 2018 and owns a 19-1 overall mark. Day served as OSU’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2017 and 2018.


See Also:


TALE OF THE TAPE 

BTN GAME PREVIEW

THE COMPLETE BIG TEN WEEK 5 SLATE

Friday, November 20, 2020 Football
Away Home Time Location Links
7:30 P.M.
TV: BTN Stats Radio: KFAN 100.3 FM Video
Saturday, November 21, 2020 Football
Away Home Time Location Links
Cancelled
Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium 
12:00 P.M.
Lincoln, Neb.  TV: FS1 Stats Radio: Husker Sports Network Video
12:00 P.M.
Columbus, Ohio  TV: FOX Stats Radio: IU Radio Network; Sirius 134, XM 196, Web 958
3:30 P.M.
State College, PA  Stats Video
3:30 P.M.
Evanston, IL  TV: ABC Stats Radio: WGN 720 AM Video
7:30 P.M.
Piscataway, N.J.  TV: Big Ten Network Stats Radio: WCTC 1450-AM, WOR 710-AM, WENJ 97.3-FM, XM 195, Sirius 133 Video

WHEN OHIO STATE HAS THE FOOTBALL

This is by far the best offense IU will face all season, with all eleven Ohio State starters likely NFL bound.

Indiana head coach Tom Allen referred to quarterback Justin Fields as one of, if not the best quarterback in the country.

Fields’ stats through three contests are video game silly.  He has completed 86.7 percent of his passes with as many touchdowns (11) as incompletions.  Also a threat to run, Fields has added 57 yards on the ground with two more scores.

Ohio State is still sorting out its running back situation, but it has two good ones behind their usual stout line.

Master Teague has led the way so far with 47 carries for 211 yards (4.5 ypc) and 4 touchdowns, while Trey Sermon has been productive as well with 36 carries for 172 yards (4.8 ypc).  Both backs are more physical than fast which might help the Hoosiers avoid big plays if they can tackle effectively.

Garrett Wilson has been Fields’ top target thus far with 24 catches for 344 yards and 2 scores.  Chris Olave has hauled in 18 receptions for 288 yards and 4 touchdowns.  Tight end Jeremy Ruckert is a big weapon as well, scoring three touchdowns on the season.

Indiana has won this season with sacks and takeaways, leading the Big Ten in both departments.  That seems to be their best, and perhaps their only shot on Saturday.  If the Hoosiers can force long yardage second and third downs, and flip the field a few times with takeaways, they should be able to stay close.

WHEN INDIANA HAS THE FOOTBALL

The Hoosiers must produce when they have the football to keep pace with the OSU offense.

If Ohio State has a weakness, it’s on this side of the ball, with an entirely new secondary and key losses on the defensive line.  The Buckeyes of course have loads of talent, but they lack the marquee name like Chase Young or Joey Bosa rushing the quarterback, and they aren’t as deep as you might expect.

Indiana has been effective offensively with the quick passing game.  If Michael Penix has enough time to get the ball out and can thread the needle through what are likely to be tight windows, the Hoosiers should be able to put up points.

Look for IU to try to play up tempo at times to keep Ohio State on their heels a bit and limit their rotations.  Indiana should have enough weapons at receiver to be able to use its short passing game in lieu of the running game, but that won’t work all afternoon.

As it has in the last two weeks, Indiana is going to have to find enough from its running game to keep the Buckeyes honest.  Stevie Scott has 319 yards on the season, but he is only averaging 3.6 yards per carry.  Sampson James has added 84 yards, gaining 3.2 yards per tote.

A big key to the game is Indiana’s offensive line.  Will the Hoosiers have starters Caleb Jones and Mike Katic back?  Will they give Penix time to throw?  And will Penix look to attack with the run to escape the pressure?

If Penix has time he should be able to do enough to keep things interesting.

PREDICTION

Beware of special teams.  Blocked kicks and big returns typically rear their head in this series, and they typically favor the Buckeyes.  Indiana has done well to avoid special teams blunders thus far, and they will need to maintain that with very little margin for error.

The game probably won’t come down to field goals, but it is at least worth noting that OSU starting kicker Blake Haubeil will miss the game.

There will be no fans, no families, no nothing — but Hoosiers and Buckeyes on the football field.  That’s a much better situation for Indiana than the typical 100 thousand plus at the Horseshoe.

But Ohio State is still Ohio State.  And for 25 straight games that has been enough to beat IU — wherever they have played.

Ultimately the Buckeyes will be too much in this one.

INDIANA 27

OHIO STATE 45


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