Against a team they should handle, the No. 9 Buckeyes did exactly what was expected in winning their 16th consecutive Big Ten road game.
"Our guys are really focused," Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel said in the Oct. 9, 2009 edition of Buckeye Sports Bulletin. "They try to block out the distractions (and) they like challenges. They like going into stadiums where at least only half the people are for us. Some stadiums we go to none of the people are for us. Our guys are glued in to what we need to do to be successful."
The running games told the story. Indiana's power attack out of the pistol formation, which featured IU quarterback Ben Chappell lined up 4 yards behind center with tailback Darius Willis three-to-four feet behind him, was held to 18 yards on 26 carries. Willis – who had ran for 152 yards a week earlier in a loss to Michigan – recorded only 23 yards on 11 carries.
Conversely, Ohio State rushed for 219 yards as a team, including a 113-yard performance by Brandon Saine – the junior's first time topping the century mark in his collegiate career. Aiding the rushing cause was quarterback Terrelle Pryor and freshman tailback Jordan Hall. The Jeannette, Pa., duo combined for 100 yards.
"We always say whoever wins the battle in the trenches is going to win," Tressel said. "Unless there's something extraordinary, the team that rushes the ball is probably going to win the game."
Indiana head coach Bill Lynch had pointed to the game as a showcase for his team, which entered the contest 3-1, in its recently renovated stadium. Instead, the Ohio State defense silenced the majority of the crowd and the first-team unit allowed only one touchdown. The Hoosiers' second score came with time running out against backups.
The Buckeyes did not take long to build a lead. Ohio State went up 10-0 in the first quarter on a 46-yard field goal from senior kicker Aaron Pettrey and a 5-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Terrelle Pryor to freshman receiver Duron Carter. It was Carter's first career touchdown.
While the quick start made it appear that the game could turn into a rout, Indiana had other ideas. The Hoosiers went on an eight-play, 80-yard drive that was capped early in the second quarter with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Chappell to sophomore receiver Tandon Doss with 12:50 left before halftime.
Ohio State quickly answered, however, scoring on a drive that took only three plays and traveled 55 yards in 64 seconds. Pryor finished the march with a 23-yard scoring strike to sophomore receiver DeVier Posey that gave OSU a 17-7 lead with 11:46 left before the break.
That didn't last long, though, as the Buckeyes quickly answered with a crisp 55-yard touchdown drive that took only three plays and 64 seconds. Pryor threw a 23-yard laser to sophomore receiver DeVier Posey in between two IU defenders for a touchdown and a 17-7 lead with 11:46 left until halftime.
The Buckeyes tacked on another touchdown before halftime to extend the lead to 24-7. Freshman fullback Zach Boren caught an 8-yard touchdown pass from Pryor with 70 seconds left in the first half. Like Carter before, the score was Boren's first as a collegiate athlete. It was also the first touchdown by an OSU fullback since Trever Robinson caught a 1-yard TD pass in the 2007 season opener against Youngstown State.
The only score in the third period occurred on a safety when Indiana punter Chris Hagerup couldn't corral a bad snap and OSU defensive lineman Rob Rose tackled him in the end zone.
Pryor capped the OSU scoring at the 12:05 mark of the fourth quarter with a 1-yard touchdown run on a quarterback sneak. Indiana set the final score with a touchdown on the game's final play against Ohio State's second- and third-string defense. Chappell produced the score on a 5-yard touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Matt Ernest.
Pryor had an up-and-down performance. He completed 16 of 27 passes for 159 yards. He also threw three touchdowns passes but was intercepted once and sacked three times. Posey was the leading receiver for the Buckeyes with four catches for 51 yards and a touchdown.
For Indiana, Chappell was 20 for 34 passing for 210 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions.
Defensively, Junior linebacker Ross Homan shared Ohio State team-high honors in tackles with senior safety Anderson Russell, who returned to the starting lineup in place of suspended senior co-captain Kurt Coleman. Homan and Russell had six stops each, while Russell added a fumble recovery and an interception.
While decisive, the win was not entirely without warts. Both teams combined for 11 penalties, converted only 7 of 26 third-down plays, turned the ball over five times and missed a pair of field goals. Indiana also had a botched punt that turned into an Ohio State safety.
Even so, Ohio State did not struggle.
"It's good to get a Big Ten win on the road," Tressel said. "We'll take that every time. I thought our defense did a good job of setting the tempo and setting us up with field position. (But) we missed a couple of chip-shot field goals, which we've got to get squared away, and we had a couple of turnovers in the fourth quarter, and we got a little sloppy in my mind."