5 Questions: Indiana at Ohio State

This week Ohio State returns home to face an improved Indiana squad. We spotlight the Hoosiers' passing game, the Ohio State pass rush, Terrelle Pryor, the OSU offensive line and the return game for both teams. All of those topics figures to play prominently in the game.

1. What will Terrelle Pryor be able to do?

Tight ends coach John Peterson was not very forthcoming with information about how much Ohio State's star quarterback was able to do in practice Wednesday night, but players sounded optimistic about how much Pryor can contribute against Indiana on Saturday.

"We might be in a situation where you alter a few things, but obviously that's not up to us," senior wide receiver and co-captain Dane Sanzenbacher said. "I think as an offense when something like that happens we have confidence in the guys who are coming in, but at the same time we know we have to pick up the slack as a receiving corps and the o-line and everything."

With Pryor likely still hobbled at least somewhat, look for the burden of running the ball to shift more toward veteran running backs Dan Herron and Brandon Saine as well as perhaps sophomore Jordan Hall.

2. How will the Ohio State secondary match up with the Indiana passing attack?

The Hoosiers come to town averaging 348.3 yards per game, a total that tops the Big Ten and is fourth in the nation.

Senior quarterback Ben Chappell is the triggerman, while Tandon Doss, Darmarlo Belcher and Terrence Turner form a talented trio of wide receivers who are all 6-3 or taller.

"Whenever you have a quarterback who can throw it anywhere on the field, it's going to be a challenge," Ohio State cornerback Chimdi Chekwa said. "He can dissect a coverage. He'll make the smart throws."

All four of the passing principles faced Ohio State last year, but the 6-0 Chekwa says he sees improvement in their 2010 film.

3. Is this the week the Ohio State pass rush breaks out?

The Buckeye have done their fair share of affecting opposing passers, but OSU does not have much to show for it on the stat sheet. With eight sacks in five games, they find themselves in the middle of the pack in the Big Ten.

Indiana, meanwhile, has allowed only four sacks (in four games), but there figure to be ample opportunities to get after the not-particularly nimble Chappell considering how often he drops back to pass (40.5 times per game).

"The thing I'm proud of about our offensive line is that we threw the ball 64 times (in a 42-35 loss to Michigan last week) and gave up two sacks," Indiana head coach Bill Lynch told reporters in Bloomington earlier this week. "One of them we got beat, and one of them was a communication breakdown in the way we were sliding the protection."

His Hoosiers will face a whole new challenge this week with the likes of Cameron Heyward, John Simon and Nathan Williams bringing pressure.

4. Can the Ohio State offensive line bounce back?

This group is coming off its roughest performance of the season. The Buckeyes were knocked around on the front line for much of a 24-13 defeat of Illinois last week, although they managed to end on a high note when they paved the way to a game-clinching touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Indiana may be a good group to get well against: The Hoosiers enter the contest with the Big Ten's worst rushing defense (207.0 yards per game), and they have struggled to generate a pass rush after losing star defensive ends Jammie Kirlew and Greg Middleton. So far Indiana has only four sacks and 12 tackles for loss.

5. Will someone make a difference in the return game?

Doss is more than a receiving weapon for Lynch's team. He enters the week as the Big Ten's top kickoff returner. He averages 31.3 yards per return, keeping alive a recent tradition of strong return numbers for the Hoosiers.

All good Buckeye fans know kickoff coverage was a problem earlier this season for the Scarlet and Gray, but Ohio State is coming off consecutive weeks of improvement in that area.

Young returners Jaamal Berry (28.6 yards per return) and Hall 25.5) are threats in their own right for the home side this weekend.

Doss and Hall are both dangerous punt returners as well.

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