Photo by Mike Schumann / The Daily Hoosier

IU Football: Ohio State Crushes Indiana in Big Ten Opener

It wasn’t the sort of history Indiana wanted to make.

The Hoosiers suffered their twenty-fifth consecutive loss to Ohio State in a 51-10 wipeout — the Buckeye’s biggest margin of victory against the Hoosiers in Bloomington.

The score only tells part of the story.  The Buckeyes owned all aspects of this game.

Let’s start with this number:  9.

That was Indiana’s total for rushing yards in the first half Saturday. Put a 1 in front of it and a 6 behind it and you get Ohio State’s rushing yardage by halftime: 196.

And that stat was thematic, relating to the total Buckeye dominance at the line of scrimmage, which continued throughout the game.

Ohio State’s total offense advantage by the end was 528-257, including 314 to 42 on the ground, and that was with the Buckeyes clearly taking the foot off the accelerator midway through the second half.

Indiana was faced with an uphill battle before the game even began, with starting quarterback Michael Penix being held out with an undisclosed injury.  That meant junior quarterback Peyton Ramsey was tasked with leading the Hoosiers.

Indiana hung close for just a quarter, with both teams getting on the board in the first period.

IU caught a break when Ohio State kicker Blake Haubeil was wide-right on a 32-yard field goal attempt capping the Buckeyes’ opening drive.

Ohio State would find itself in the red zone again on their next possession, this time finishing it with a score as quarterback Justin Fields found the end zone for a three-yard touchdown run

Indiana responded with a 59-yard march reaching the Ohio State 11, but settled for a field goal after Ramsey’s pass to Donavan Hale in the end zone was broken up.

And after that relatively back-and-forth first quarter, it was pretty much all Buckeyes, all the time.  OSU throttled Indiana with a 23-point second quarter.

First, Ohio State sophomore QB Justin Fields found Chris Olave for a 37-yard touchdown pass.

Then Olave found another way to produce points.

The ensuing Hoosier possession produced just 5 yards before Olave blocked Haydon Whitehead’s punt, which went through the back of the end zone for a safety to make it 16-3.

That moment put OSU firmly in control and left IU’s head coach feeling ill.

“So basically, one of our guys in the shield blocked the interior guy in the A-gap and wasn’t supposed to and let his guy go.” Indiana coach Tom Allen said. “And to me, blocked punts are just — they just make me sick because you don’t win many games when you get a punt blocked.”

The Buckeyes would waste no time scoring again.

Stalwart OSU junior running back J.K. Dobbins, on his way to another big day against IU, galloped 56 yards to the Indiana 24. Just 90 seconds later Fields would get his second touchdown pass connecting with senior K.J. Hill.

Dobbins would break another huge run, this time finding the endzone. Dobbins ran past, through and over more than one defender in taking the ball 24-yards for a touchdown to make it 30-3 with 4:09 left in the half.

“We missed a lot of tackles.” Indiana linebacker Reakwon Jones said when asked about the defensive performance. “The communication and effort wasn’t where it needed to be. Overall just a disappointing day.”

The Hoosiers would get their lone touchdown via trickery on their final possession of the half. Ramsey threw a lateral to Hale, who then threw to a wide-open Peyton Hendershot, with the tight end easily completing a 49-yard scoring play.

“We had been practicing it for a few weeks.” Hendershot said about the play. “We were thinking the safety was going to be there, but it was literally wide open, it was unreal. It was good to finally see it work out.”

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Any ounce of optimism soon faded as the second half commenced.

Ohio State opened the third quarter driving 75 yards for their fifth touchdown on the day, with Fields finding Dobbins on a four-yard pass.

IU’s offense continued to sputter, and while the Buckeyes had to start their next drive at their own three, it didn’t matter. Backup back Master Teague capped the 97-yard march with a 40-yard run to the endzone spurred by terrific cross-blocks in the interior line.

The Hoosiers would finally put together a good drive on their next possession. But it did not end well.

With the last play of the third quarter, on a third and goal at the Ohio State seven-yard line, OSU senior cornerback Damon Arnette picked off a Ramsey pass and took it back for a 96-yard touchdown.

That was another slice of undesirable history in a day full of undesirables – the longest returned interception for a score ever for an IU opponent.

With the score 51-10, the fourth quarter would essentially turn into a third-string scrimmage for both sides.

The bellicose Buckeyes haven’t just beaten the Hoosiers 25 straight times. Recent history also shows, for example, Ohio State (3-0) has gone 16-2 versus arch-rival Michigan since the turn of the century. OSU has been the Big Ten’s best the past couple of decades and didn’t look likely to relinquish that status Saturday.

After such a crushing defeat, all that is left for the Hoosiers is to learn from this loss and move on.

“We got to go back to the drawing board to get things fixed,” Jones said. “Keep the guys confidence up, take this one on the chin like a man. Continue to go, it’s a long season.”

“It’s a new week and this season is so young with so many opportunities,” Ramsey added. “So it’s just about coming back on Monday. Leaders got to lead and continue pushing forward.”

Indiana (2-1) will have to turn this page and focus on writing a new chapter next week, with UConn coming to town for another noon kickoff next Saturday.

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