Troy Smith, QB – Indiana is developing its own dual-threat quarterback in Kellen Lewis, but Buckeye signal caller Troy Smith remains the conference's standard of excellence in that category. The 6-1 senior has thrown for 1,495 yards and 17 touchdowns while completing 68.2 percent of his throws. He's also thrown a league-low two interceptions, helping him top the conference rankings in passing efficiency and elevating him to a legitimate Heisman Trophy hopeful for the undefeated and top-ranked Buckeyes.
Like Lewis, Smith is a weapon when he decides to run the ball as well. During his career he's rushed for 1,052 yards and 13 touchdowns, and Ohio State is 6-1 when he rushes for at least 50 yards in a game. Two of those 50-plus yard efforts have come against Indiana – in 2004 Smith rushed for 58 yards on 11 carries, and then in 2005 he carried 12 times for 55 yards and two scores. Of course he's had success throwing the ball against IU as well, completing a combined 26-of-47 passes for 383 yards and three touchdowns.
Anthony Gonzalez, WR- Ted Ginn, Jr., gets most of the national acclaim, but Gonzalez is an equally popular target for Troy Smith. Gonzalez has caught 34 passes for a team-high 522 yards and five touchdowns. He's also had a couple of his best games in the Buckeyes' biggest games of the season – he had eight catches for 142 yards and touchdown in OSU's 24-7 win over No. 2 Texas, and added a five-catch, 77-yard, two-touchdown effort in Ohio State's 38-17 win at Iowa.
The 6-0, 195-pound Gonzalez will often work out of the slot and be a popular target in the middle of the field. He's been a big part of the Buckeyes' ability to move the chains this year, as 29 of his 34 receptions have resulted in first downs. His 34 receptions rank third in the Big Ten, trailing only Purdue's Dorien Bryant (41) and Ginn (36).
Gonzalez is the younger brother of former Indiana safety Joe Gonzalez.
Quinn Pitcock, DT- There were plenty of big name losses from the Buckeyes' defense a year ago, including three first-round NFL draft picks in linebackers A.J. Hawk and Bobby Carpenter, safety Donte Whitner. But the 6-3, 295-pound Pitcock was one of the two starters who returned for Coach Jim Tressel, and he's been a dominant force on the defensive front.
The Lombardi Award candidate ranks second in the Big Ten with seven sacks to go along with 8 ½ tackles for loss and 26 tackles, and he anchors a Buckeye defense that ranks second in the conference in sacks (24) and leads the league in scoring defense (9.0) and turnover margin (+1.43). His productivity has gone up dramatically from a year ago when he totaled 28 tackles, three tackles for loss and one sack while playing in 12 games.
Along with fellow defensive tackle and returning starter David Patterson (15 tackles, three tackles for loss), the Buckeyes have one of the nation's best tandems of defensive tackles.
Doug Datish, C- Datish is the best of the bunch on a very good – and huge – Ohio State offensive line. The 6-5, 295-pound Datish moved to center after playing left tackle a year ago and is a Rimington Award candidate. Datish is actually the smallest of a Buckeye offensive line that averages 6-6 ¼ and 316 pounds. On the left side Tresell goes with a pair of sophomores in 6-8, 325-pound Alex Boone at left tackle and 6-8, 329-pound Steve Rehring at left guard, and on the right side the Buckeyes have 6-6, 310-pound Kirk Barton at right tackle and 6-4, 305-pound T.J. Downing at right guard.
It's a unit that has surrendered only eight sacks this season while also opening holes for Buckeye tailback Antonio Pittman (126 carries, 673 yards, eight touchdowns). They'll have a huge size advantage over a Hoosier defensive front that averages 6-2 and 274 pounds.
What's coming up:
On Monday – Five Numbers to Note
On Tuesday - Four Players To Know
On Wednesday – Three Big Concerns
On Thursday – Two Key Matchups
On Friday – One Bold Prediction
Four Days and Counting
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