Game Analysis: Ohio State 42, IU 14

The Hoosiers failed to capitalize on their opportunities Saturday in Columbus.

p>Instead of a traditional game story, we'll do more of a game analysis at AllHoosiers.com. Here's the latest, following Ohio State's dominating 42-14 victory over Indiana Saturday afternoon at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.

WHAT LOOKED GOOD: The result was obviously a familiar one on Saturday afternoon, but there were actually a lot of positives for the Hoosiers. They moved the ball all afternoon, to a tune of 442 total yards. They were actually only outgained by 29 yards in the game, and yet lost by 28 points.

The Hoosiers regularly moved the ball into the Ohio State red zone, but failed to come away with points until their last two possessions of the game.

Indiana's defense actually really impressed me on Saturday. It was a much better performance than I've seen from the Hoosiers in quite awhile, and the defense certainly cannot be blamed for this loss. The defense forced three Ohio State turnovers and made the Buckeyes punt twice. That's five stops, but Indiana never could really make it a game on the offensive end.

Player-wise, senior wide receiver Kofi Hughes had a big day. Hughes had a career-high nine catches for 120 yards. He was the Hoosiers' only consistent performer against the Buckeyes.

WHAT NEEDS TO IMPROVE: Red zone offense, primarily. Indiana failed to score a touchdown one from the 2-yard line, and then Ohio State marched 98 yards down the field for a touchdown. The Hoosiers moved the ball inside the 10-yard line on another instance, and also failed to get any points.

The primary reason? They couldn't run the ball worth a darn. Indiana finished with 122 net rushing yards, but that number is distorted by several late Indiana runs. The Hoosiers could simply not run the ball on Ohio State, and that changed the game.

Indiana's punt protection must also get better. The Hoosiers' had a punt blocked for the third time this season on Saturday, and it swung the momentum to Ohio State in a hurry. The Hoosiers actually nearly had a second punt block, but Erich Toth was able to get a rugby-style kick away.

Indiana's quarterbacks, specifically Nate Sudfeld, also need to learn to be more patient. Sudfeld got happy feet in the pocket sometimes on Saturday and rushed off-target throws to receivers -- and open receivers, at that. The cold, snowy conditions were undoubtedly a factor for Sudfeld, a California native, but that can't be used as an excuse.

MOMENTUM CHANGER: With 9:21 to go in the second quarter, Ohio State blocked a punt and recovered it at the IU 8-yard line. The Buckeyes scored a touchdown two plays later and went ahead 21-0. The Indiana defense had played well to that point, but after the Hoosiers went down by three scores, the game was over.

BAD 7 1/2 QUARTER STRETCH: Indiana didn't score a single touchdown over a seven and a half quarter stretch beginning last week at Wisconsin and ending in the third quarter Saturday against Ohio State. During that span -- and get this -- the Hoosiers were outscored 93-3.

EWALD UNLUCKY: Indiana kicker Mitch Ewald missed his first two kicks of the season on Saturday, both hitting off the uprights and bouncing back onto the field. On his first kick, a 42-yard attempt, Ewald hit the right upright and on the second attempt, a 40-yarder, he missed it off the left upright. Ewald is 9-of-11 on the season.

UP NEXT: Indiana closes its season next Saturday against rival Purdue in the Old Oaken Bucket game at Memorial Stadium. The game time will be announced on Tuesday.


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