The fun and games are over.
Big Ten play begins for Indiana on Saturday, and the Hoosiers get a rude introduction to the league when a more than three decades long thorn in their side arrives in Bloomington.
After beating Ohio State in both 1987 and 1988, IU hasn’t accomplished the feat since. With the Buckeyes currently ranked No. 6 in the nation, the challenge won’t be any easier in 2019.
No. 6 OHIO STATE (2-0) at INDIANA (2-0)
- Kickoff: Noon Eastern Time
- Location: Memorial Stadium (52,656), Bloomington, Indiana
- Television: Fox
- Series: Ohio State leads the series 74-12-5. Last Indiana win — 1988.
- Odds: Ohio State is a 17.5 point favorite
- Weather at kickoff: 74 degrees, wind 4 mph, 0% chance of precipitation.
Tom Allen is 12-15 and now in his third full season as the head coach at Indiana.
Ryan Day is in his first season as Ohio State head coach. He posted a 3-0 record as the Buckeyes acting head coach to open 2018 and owns a 5-0 overall mark. Day served as OSU’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach the past two years after stints as quarterbacks coach with the 49ers (2016) and Eagles (2015).
- Tom Allen previews the game
- Ryan Day previews the game
- Ball to start / Cam Jones to play
- Penix questionable
TALE OF THE TAPE
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BTN GAME PREVIEW
WHEN OHIO STATE HAS THE FOOTBALL
Replacing Dwayne Haskins was no small task, but the Buckeyes seem to have found a good one in sophomore Justin Fields.
All Fields has done thus far is go 38-for-50 (76 percent) for 458 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions. The Georgia transfer has run the ball 21 times for 103 yards and three more scores.
Fields’ primary targets have been K.J. Hill (11 receptions for 78 yards, touchdown), Binjimen Victor (7-134-1), and Chris Olave (7-128-1).
The Buckeyes are very balanced on offense and the running game features a name that Hoosier fans know all too well.
J.K. Dobbins made his college debut in Bloomington in 2017 and scampered for 181 yards. IU keyed on Dobbins in 2018, holding him to 82 yards and 3.2 yards per carry. Unfortunately that led to a 455 yard, six touchdown day for Haskins.
This year Dobbins has 38 carries for 232 yards (6.1 yards per carry) and three touchdowns.
With IU’s strength in the secondary, look for the Hoosiers to once again try to stop the run first and force Fields to beat them throwing the football.
WHEN INDIANA HAS THE FOOTBALL
Obviously the big question is who will be Indiana’s quarterback. Indiana head coach Tom Allen announced on Thursday that starter Michael Penix is a game time decision.
Right now all signs point to Peyton Ramsey. As far as backup quarterbacks go, Ramsey is a nice option to have in a situation like this.
The Ohio native is the program’s all-time pass completion percentage leader (66.4 percent) and he has appeared in 21 career games at Indiana. Last year in Columbus, Ramsey was 26-for-49 for 322 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.
The big question with Ramsey is whether he has the arm strength to fit the ball into tight windows, and force the defense to respect the deep ball to help give the running game breathing room.
Speaking of the running game, it has been a disappointment thus far for the Hoosiers.
Sophomore back Stevie Scott was coming off a record setting freshman year, and running behind a veteran line IU looked to churn out big yards on the ground.
Instead Scott has averaged just 3.5 yards per tote, and the team isn’t much better at 3.9.
Ohio State has only given up 64 yards rushing per game through two weeks fueled by an elite defensive line. If the Buckeyes can make a Ramsey led offense one dimensional it could be a long afternoon.
You won’t find too many more lopsided college football series.
Indiana has not defeated the Buckeyes in 31 years. Ohio State has 23 straight wins over IU.
Six of the last seven years however, the games have been close.
Indiana has better talent and athletes than they’ve had in recent years, and an upset isn’t out of the question if Fields has an off day.
Former Buckeye head coach Urban Meyer said this week that Ohio State respects Indiana because of all of those tight battles in recent years.
Unfortunately, that means the Buckeyes won’t be taking this one lightly.
If Penix surprises and ends up playing we think it will be closer, but otherwise…
OHIO STATE 45
Note: The Buckeyes are the Hoosiers 12th Top-10 opponent since the start of 2015, tied for the third-most nationally with Auburn and Michigan State, behind Alabama (17) and Ohio State (13).
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