No. 2 Ohio State rolled up 290 yards on the ground, including a season-high 137 and a touchdown from QB JT Barrett, to hold off a challenge from visiting Indiana, 38-17 Saturday afternoon at Ohio Stadium in Columbus.
How it Happened
IU (3-2, 1-1) got off to a tremendous start after winning the coin toss and opting to kickoff to open the game. On a first down from the OSU 35, Barrett took the snap in the shotgun and tried to pitch to his tailback Mike Weber. Weber wasn't looking, however, and the ball bounced off his pads in the backfield where IU defensive lineman Patrick Dougherty alertly fell on it for a huge turnover.
Off the turnover, Indiana began marching toward the OSU end zone. Three straight carries for running back Devine Redding netted 24 yards and moved the ball inside the Buckeye 10 but the drive stalled there and Indiana settled for a 22-yard Griffin Oakes field goal and a 3-0 lead four minutes in.
Ohio State (5-0, 2-0) responded as one would expect the No. 2 team in the country to, immediately mounting on a drive of its own. A 25-yard completion from Barrett to tight end Marcus Baugh on a busted coverage moved the ball into Indiana territory but with OSU in the red zone Indiana showed how much its defense has improved this season. On a 3rd-and-11 from the IU 20, Barrett looked for wideout Noah Brown in the end zone but corner A'Shon Riggins batted the ball away to force a field goal attempt. The kick was good from 37 yards to tie the game at 3.
Four straight punts followed as the defensive struggle continued into the second quarter. Early in the quarter IU took over at its own 11 but two plays later disaster struck. QB Richard Lagow was flushed out of the pocket and looked to throw on the run but as he cocked his arm OSU's Tyquan Lewis hit him from behind, jarring the ball loose. The Buckeyes' Jalyn Holmes pounced on it at the IU 9. On replay it seemed fairly clear that Lagow's arm was moving forward at the time of the strip, meaning the play should have been ruled an incomplete pass but the officials didn't agree and OSU took over in great position to score.
OSU quickly took advantage of Indiana's first big mistake. On 2nd-and-goal from the 9, Weber took a handoff on a read-option and bounced around the left end, sprinting untouched into the end zone for the game's first score and 10-3 Ohio State lead with 10:42 left in the first half.
Late in the first half the Buckeyes began moving the ball again, looking to put some distance between themselves and the visitors. After taking over at its own 27, OSU starting breaking off big chunks of yardadge on the ground. A 22-yard rush from running back Curtis Samuel preceded a 27-yard scamper for Barrett that moved the ball to the Indiana 5-yard line. On the very next play, Samuel finished off the drive with a 5-yard cutback run for TD. The five-play drive covered 73 yards in just 2:07 and left OSU with a 17-3 advantage.
Just before the first half ended, Indiana started moving the ball for the first time all day. After keeping the ball on the ground for most of the first half, this drive was executed through the air. On 3rd-and-6 from midfield, Ohio State brought an all-out blitz and IU was ready with the perfect play call. Lagow dropped back and fired a bubble screen to wideout Ricky Jones Jr. over the top of the blitz. Jones Jr. found a ton of room to run and raced to the OSU 18 for a 32-yard gain. Two plays later, Lagow found receiver Mitchell Paige wide open on a post route over the middle for a touchdown to cut the deficit in half at 17-10.
Unfortunately the quick strike score for the Hoosiers left 1:03 still on the clock for the Buckeyes to work with before the half. They barely needed half of that. Parris Campbell returned the kickoff for Ohio State and found a seam on the left side, breaking into the open field past everyone before Rashard Fant made a desperation tackle by pulling Campbell's jersey from behind at the IU 6-yard line. On 2nd-and-goal Barrett cashed in the huge special teams play, keeping the ball on a read-option and bursting through a hole on the left side for an easy touchdown. Ohio State would go into halftime leading 24-10 despite Indiana controlling the ball for a majority of the half.
Indiana opened the second half with its best drive of the day. After starting from their own 11, the Hoosiers began moving the ball on the ground for the first time all afternoon. Redding carried five times on the drive for 35 total yards, including a 19-yard burst down to the OSU 7-yard line. Two plays from there went nowhere but on 3rd-and-goal, Lagow dropped back and found tight end Danny Friend wide open in the end zone after an Ohio State safety bit on a route that looked identical to the bubble screen that had burned his team earlier, leaving Friend all alone. An easy pitch-and-catch pulled Indiana back within seven after a crucial 13-play, 89-yard jaunt down the field. It was Friend's second career touchdown catch.
As they had all day, though, the Buckeyes responded as a team with national championship aspirations should. After taking over at its own 15, Ohio State embarked on a 13-play drive of its own, with 12 of the 13 plays coming on the ground. The big play was a 27-yard rush up the middle for Samuel that moved the ball into Indiana territory. Later in the possession, Weber leapfrogged his way into the end zone for a 1-yard TD. The extra point made it 31-17 after a drive that took 6:11 off the clock.
The score remained that way as the teams traded punts until early in the fourth quarter. Then, the Indiana defense stepped up. On a 3rd-and-14 from the OSU 35, the defensive line got pressure and forced a quick throw from Barrett and the ball sailed on him, tipping off the hands of his intended receiver and landing in Riggins' hands in the secondary. The freshman corner broke one tackle and eventually returned the ball all the way to the Buckeye 13.
Indiana battered its way down to the 4-yard line but a fade to the end zone on 3rd-and-1 fell incomplete, setting up a massive fourth down play for the Hoosiers. On that play, Lagow handed off to Redding for a dive up the middle and the running back was stonewalled behind the line of scrimmage, giving the ball back to Ohio State. That would be the stop that Indiana couldn't recover from and Ohio State would hold on for a hard-fought victory from there.
A 37-yard touchdown throw from Barrett to receiver Dontre Wilson, Ohio State's longest pass play of the game, completed the scoring and made the game look like more of a blowout than it was.
Player(s) of the Game-Ohio State Offensive Line
The Indiana defense entered the game allowing just 3.7 yards per carry to opposing rushers, one of the best rates in the country. Ohio State, on the other hand, averaged 5.8 yards per rush on this day. Barrett (5.3 ypc), Samuel (9.1) and Weber (4.7) all had sterling days running behind a powerful offensive line that opened up huge holes all afternoon, allowing Ohio State to control the clock in the second half and hold Indiana at an arm's length. The Buckeyes ran the ball 50 times.
Indiana last defeated Ohio State in 1988...IU was without All-American offensive lineman Dan Feeney (concussion) for a third consecutive game...the Buckeyes entered the game ranked third in the nation in points per game (57) and leading the country in points allowed per game (9)...The OSU defense came in having picked off eight passes and allowed just two touchdowns through the air; Lagow had two touchdowns and one interception...Ohio State had one stretch from the middle in the first quarter through the start of the fourth during which it did not have a positive yardage pass play...The Buckeyes have still not allowed a point in the fourth quarter or a rushing touchdown this season
Indiana's schedule doesn't get any easier as it welcomes the undefeated No. 12 Nebraska Cornhuskers (5-0, 2-0) to Memorial Stadium for a third straight game against a ranked opponent. The game will kick off at 3:30 p.m. EST with the broadcast to be determined. Nebraska will be coming off a bye week after beating Illinois 31-16 on Oct. 1.