Rushing Offense - F
Indiana's ground game has been up and down this season, but it dipped to a season-low against the Buckeyes. OSU entered the contest ranked second nationally against the run at 66.2 yards/game, and that number dipped even lower after the Buckeyes surrendered only 42 yards on 26 carries.
As meager as the Hoosiers' rushing totals were, they were bolstered by the fact they ran for 32 yards in the fourth quarter, including 20 by Josiah Sears in the Hoosiers' final meaningless drive. But when the game was still in doubt, the Indiana ground game went no where. Indiana ran for 15 yards in the first quarter; seven yards in the second quarter; and -12 yards in the third quarter.
While its tailbacks Chris Taylor (10 carries, 18 yards) and Yamar Washington (6 carries, 18 yards) who have to deal with most of the questions about the ground game's struggles, the Hoosier offensive line didn't open many holes for the tailbacks to use. Ohio State didn't appear to blitz as frequently as it has in other recent games, which left linebackers like A.J. Hawk ready to step up and fill the holes and stop the Hoosier tailbacks in their tracks.
Indiana also didn't use Blake Powers in the running game like it has in other contests. Powers didn't attempt a scripted quarterback run once in the game, getting sacked three times for -21 yards and scrambling back to the line of scrimmage for no gain on his only other statistical rush of the game.
Notable Stat: Indiana not only had its season-low in rushing yards with 42, it also had a season-low 26 attempts. That eclipsed the previous season-low of 33 in Indiana's 41-24 loss at Wisconsin…Indiana is totaled just 128 total rushing yards in its last two games and is now averaging 114.5 yards rushing/game during its four Big Ten contests. During its three non-conference games, Indiana averaged 176.0 rushing/game.
Passing Offense – F
Ohio State didn't blitz as often as it has in recent games, instead leaving the linebackers in the middle of the field to help in pass coverage. That, along with some solid play from the Buckeye corners, resulted in a long afternoon for Blake Powers.
Powers was limited to 13-of-29 passing for 72 yards and an interception. That interception resulted in a 57-yard touchdown return for Brandon Mitchell late in the third quarter that put the Buckeyes up 31-10 and pretty much sealed the deal. Powers was unable to find open wideouts downfield, as James Hardy was all but taken out of the game with just two catches for 27 yards. When Powers tried to throw underneath, Buckeye defenders were flying to the ball and bringing the ball carriers down before they could turn up field, let alone make a move and get some yards after the catch.
How profound were IU's struggles? Its best passing play of the day was a 20-yard completion from Marcus Thigpen to James Hardy that got Indiana inside the Buckeye 15. The ball was underthrown, but Hardy came back on the play for his biggest gain of the day. A sack of Blake Powers three plays later, wound up moving Indiana back, and Indiana came away with points on the drive soon afterwards when Joe Kleinsmith missed a 38-yard field goal.
A week ago against Iowa, the Hawkeyes gave Indiana plenty of opportunities on the underneath routes and the Hoosiers took advantage of that. But Ohio State's corners and safeties took away Indiana's downfield threats, the linebackers and corners combined to clog the middle of the field, and Powers easily had his toughest outing as a starting quarterback.
Notable Stat:Indiana averaged a miniscule 2.9 yards/pass attempt. Powers' numbers were even worse, averaging only 2.5 yards on his 29 throws. Powers entered the game averaging 6.7 yards/attempt.
Rushing Defense – D
It was the third quarter that really did the Hoosiers in, as a 17-10 game ballooned into a 31-10 cushion by the end of the quarter. That's also the period when the Buckeyes pounded the Hoosiers on the ground.
Ohio State piled up 104 of its 240 rushing yards in the third quarter, with 58 of those coming from tailback Antonio Pittman. Indiana limited Ohio State to 136 yards on 33 carries (4.1 yards/carry) in the other three quarters but the Buckeyes averaged 6.9 yards on its 15 third-quarter carries.
The Buckeyes were particularly dominant on game-turning drive. After John Pannozzo's fumble return had cut the Ohio State lead to 17-10 early in the third quarter, Ohio State answered with a five-play, 79-yard touchdown drive that re-opened a two-touchdown lead. After Pittman was stopped for a four-yard loss on that drive's opening play, Ohio State's next four plays were runs of 17, 18, 25 and 23 yards, capped by a 23-yard touchdown run by quarterback Troy Smith.
Indiana's tackling certainly could have been better and it over-pursued on a couple of occasions that gave Smith and Pittman big gainers on cut backs. But Ohio State gets plenty of credit for not only its offensive line opening holes, but for its wide receivers ability to block downfield. Ohio State wideouts consistently locked up IU's cornerbacks and safeties to give its runners opportunities for big gainers downfield.
Notable Stats:Indiana has allowed an opposing runner to have a 100-yard game in four of its seven games this season (Central Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio State). One of the game's Indiana didn't give up 100 yards to an individual was the Nicholls State game, when IU gave up a season-high 408 rushing yards. Nicholls State did have three runners, though, that ran for at least 95 yards.
Pass Defense – B
Yes, Indiana allowed Troy Smith to complete 14-of-23 passes for 226 yards for a touchdown, and Santonio Holmes had a big day as well with 104 yards and a touchdown on five catches. But all in all, Indiana has little complain about when it comes to its pass defense.
Why? What the unit gave up, it also took back. Indiana's pass defense produced one touchdown when John Pannozzo stripped Ted Ginn, Jr., after a short reception and ran it back for a 57-yard touchdown. Earlier in the game, Tracy Porter intercepted a Troy Smith pass at the goal line and returned it 63 yards to set up Indiana's only other points on a 39-yard Joe Kleinsmith field goal. The unit was also solid on 3rd downs, and the Buckeyes converted only 3-of-13 3rd down attempts on the afternoon.
One of Indiana's biggest concerns about Ginn and Holmes was their ability to get deep, but Ohio State's longest pass play on the day was 28 yards. Indiana also had four sacks, with both Victor Adeyanju and Kenny Kendal totaling 1 ½ sacks on the afternoon.
In a game of lowlights, the Hoosiers pass defense was at least respectable. IU Coach Terry Hoeppner has been looking for his defense to produce points, and Pannozzo's return was the unit's first points of the season.
Notable Stats:Indiana suffered a big loss early on when starting safety Troy Grosfield was lost for the game after seemingly getting up woozy after making a tackle.
Special Teams – D-
The Hoosier special teams were woeful to say the least.
Ted Ginn, Jr., had 220 return yards, including a 62-yard punt return for a touchdown. He seemingly had a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, but a personal foul call away from the ball waved off the score and left his with "only" a 73-yard return.
Tyson Beattie averaged 41.2 yards on 10 punts, but Ginn's big returns knocked Indiana's net punting down to a modest 30.2 yards per kick. Austin Starr, meanwhile, had a nice pooch kickoff to start the second half that was seemingly fumbled by Mike D'Andrea, but an official's inadvertent whistle waved off what would have been a huge turnover for the Hoosiers.
If Indiana's struggles on kick coverage weren't enough, Troy Grosfield also had a fumble on a first-quarter attempted fair catch that gave Ohio State the ball inside the IU 30 and set it up for its first score on the afternoon.
The only bright spot was a 68-yard kickoff return by Jahkeen Gilmore in the second half. That return gave the Hoosiers an opportunity to cut into a 24-10 Buckeye lead, but Joe Kleinsmith missed a 38-yard field goal to squander Gilmore's big return.
Overall – D-
This was a game that was dominated by Ohio State in all three phases. Ohio State outgained the Hoosiers 478-137 and had 22 first downs to Indiana's eight. Ginn, meanwhile, put an end to a frustrating season with game-changing plays on both the kickoff return and the punt return.
While Indiana's performances at Wisconsin and Iowa showed that it's capable of competing with the Big Ten's best and that it is capable of reaching the six –win total it needs to get to a bowl game, the Ohio State contest showed there's still plenty of work to be done.
For a program that is building, this sort of outing was bound to come one week or another. It wasn't exactly the performance Hoeppner was hoping for in front of a sold-out crowd of 52,866, but he also knows that one game and one bad performance won't derail Indiana's season just yet.
Indiana-Ohio State Report Card
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