Popely's Take: Ohio State 42, IU 14

Instead of a traditional game story, check out our analysis of Indiana's loss to Ohio State on Saturday.

What looked good

Not much. For the second straight week, Indiana was dominated in all phases of the game. Indiana's defense, however, did make some plays that gave IU a chance to hang with Ohio State. Ohio State quickly went up 14-0 close to midway through the first quarter, but IU's defense responded.

On Ohio State's next possession, redshirt freshman defensive lineman Ralphael Green stripped Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller, and Darius Latham recovered the fumble at the Ohio State 36. IU failed to score. Indiana forced Ohio State to punt on two of its next three possessions, but the Hoosiers didn't get any points out of it. Early in the third quarter, Greg Heban intercepted Miller at the Ohio State 39, but Indiana once again failed to score.

Senior wide receiver Kofi Hughes was one of the few bright spots on an otherwise defunct offense, catching nine passes for 120 yards. Sophomore quarterback Nate Sudfeld rebounded from a rough start to finish 25-for-41 (61 percent) for 224 yards and a pair of touchdowns.


What needs to improve

Lots of things, but we'll focus more on the offense, which was counted on to keep Indiana in games this year. Instead, it laid an egg for the second consecutive game. Indiana couldn't get the run game going, finishing with just 122 yards rushing and an average of 3.1 yards per carry. The Hoosiers made it inside the Ohio State 35-yard line five times without scoring. Nate Sudfeld looked off all day, uncharacteristically missing several open receivers.

For example, Indiana had 3rd and 10 at the Ohio State 25, and junior wide receiver Cody Latimer found a soft spot in the zone coverage. But Sudfeld badly overthrew Latimer and Indiana was forced to attempt a field goal. Even the normally sure-handed Latimer dropped a pair of touchdown passes — neither of which were gimmees, but both were catchable — later in the game. It was just that kind of day for Indiana.

The Hoosiers finished 7-for-21 on third down and gained 442 yards but had little to show for it. Indiana finally punched it in with 5:59 to go in the game on a 4-yard strike from Sudfeld to Shane Wynn. By that time, Indiana had gone nearly eight full quarters since its last touchdown. After averaging 39.5 points per game in its first eight games, the Hoosiers have scored 17 points total the last two games.

Not that the defense was without its struggles. Yes, it did make some big plays to get the offense the ball back, but it simply had no answer for OSU's rushing attack. Ohio State ran for 311 yards and averaged an absurd eight yards per carry. Miller finished with 114 yards rushing on 13 carries (11.1 yards/carry) and two touchdowns. He victimized Indiana with the read-option and did most his damage by running straight up the gut. Senior running back Carlos Hyde ran for 117 yards on 18 carries (6.5 per carry) and two touchdowns.

Ohio State's running game successfully softened up Indiana's secondary. Miller threw a pair of touchdown passes, the first a 24-yarder to Dontre Wilson with 4:44 to go in the third quarter. Early in the fourth quarter he tossed a perfect deep ball to Devin Smith, who beat his man on a seam route for the 39-yard touchdown. Miller finished 11-for-17 for 160 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.


Momentum changers

A few plays come to mind, and they all revolve around Indiana's offense being unable to capitalize on a good play by the defense. First, there was Ralphael Green's aforementioned strip-sack of Miller that gave IU the ball back at the OSU 36. Indiana came away with zero points despite the short field. The Hoosiers forced Ohio State to punt on its next possession, but once again Indiana couldn't move the ball. Ohio State blocked Erich Toth's punt and recovered at the IU 8-yard line and Ohio State scored a short while later to go up 21-0 with 9:21 to go in the first half. Indiana then got to the Ohio State 26 before turning it over on downs. Ohio State scored four plays later to take a commanding 28-0 lead with 1:29 to go in the half. If Indiana could have scored on one or two of those possessions, it could have been a much different game. Instead, the game was decided during that ugly sequence in the second quarter.


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