And each had the Buckeye defense shut them down. Ohio State cruised past Indiana 38-10 and held the Big Ten's top passing offense to 141 yards.
Indiana entered Saturday averaging 348.2 yards per game through the air, nearly 70 yards more than any other conference school. Leading that attack was Chappell, a fifth-year senior who had thrown 12 touchdowns against only one interception. Against the Buckeyes, however, Chappell had his TD total stay the same and have his interception total increase to three.
The Ohio State defensive line stressed getting pressure on Chappell, and the secondary – playing a full game without senior nickel back Tyler Moeller for the first time – was tasked with stopping a large and athletic group of receivers. It was a big test, but one the unit passed with flying colors.
"The thing about playing against our defense is that you're going to get a little bit less time to get rid of the ball than you're used to," Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel said. "That's one. And two is that our secondary breaks on the ball and plays you close because they're counting on the fact that you're going to have to throw a little bit sooner.
"They're very, very well prepared. That defensive staff and those players make such a commitment. They know what they're walking into each week. They knew they were walking into some great receivers and a good quarterback."
Chappell had an afternoon he'd probably like to forget in Ohio Stadium. He completed 16 of 26 passes for a mere 106 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions. Indiana's quick-hit passing attack prevented the OSU defensive line from recording any sacks, but Chappell ended several plays on his back when he was hit as he threw the football.
"I think we affected him," senior defensive tackle Dexter Larimore said. "We didn't get the sacks we wanted, but we helped the back end by making him throw quickly. He couldn't throw downfield as much as he would have liked."
Harassing Chappell was one key to victory. Senior linebacker Brian Rolle said the defense saw on film that the IU signal caller was not as good throwing on the run, so the Buckeyes wanted to make him uncomfortable.
"We knew that he wasn't a mobile guy, so we weren't worried about him running the ball," Rolle said of Chappell. "We made him try to beat us with his arm, and our back end did a great job of accepting that challenge."
Junior Nathan Williams finished with six tackles, including 2.5 for a loss, and said that the lack of sacks was far from a big deal.
"If we get a shot at the quarterback every few plays, that's fine for us even if we don't get a sack," Williams said. "Our goal is to affect the quarterback, disrupt him and the offensive line so the secondary can make plays like they did today."
Williams and other defensive players also credited Ohio State's success stifling Indiana's rushing attack in allowing it to stop the pass. Indiana was held to 69 yards on the ground and was clearly limited without starting tailback Darius Willis, who was out with a groin injury.
"Whenever you can stop the run, it helps the D-line get to the quarterback and disrupt their offensive line," Williams said.
Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Heacock called the defense's success a total team effort.
"I think we had good pressure and good secondary play," he said. "That combination, along with running to the ball, was it. I think we prepared hard and had a pretty good feel for what they were doing. I think it was just the unit playing hard together."
The impressive defensive performance also left the unit with a better taste in their mouths than they had a week early against Illinois after the Fighting Illini had some success moving the football.
"We really want to get back (on the field) after last week," senior linebacker Ross Homan said. "We didn't have our best showing last week, so we came in and took a step forward this week."