OSU-Indiana: Game Thoughts

Ohio State easily defeated Indiana last Saturday, 38-10, with the Buckeyes leading 31-0 at halftime. It what was basically a tuneup for this week's battle with Wisconsin, Jim Tressel handcuffed the injured Terrelle Pryor, and would not let him run. This forced Pryor to stay in the pocket and destroy the Hoosiers with his arm. Bill Greene takes a look back at the win.

In a game that was long decided before halftime, Ohio State dominated Indiana 38-10 last Saturday, after cruising to an early lead of 31-0. There were several outstanding individual performers in the win, including quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who added to his Heisman hopes with a great outing.

Terrelle Pryor: In what would have been considered unthinkable in years past, Pryor was under orders not to run because of the quad injury suffered the week before, and was only allowed to stay in the pocket and throw the football. How could one of the greatest running quarterbacks in the college game survive leaning solely on his arm? Try 24-30 for 330 yards and 3 touchdowns. Included were touchdown passes of 22, 60, and 17. Are there still doubts over whether Pryor is progressing as a passer? One could argue it was only against Indiana, but in the past these numbers would have been impossible against Youngstown State. Pryor is still the leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy. A big game this week against Wisconsin in a winning effort, would go a long way toward winning it.

Nathan Williams: Williams has expanded his game, and likewise, Jim Heacock has added to his responsibilities every week, using him more in space and not just as a pass-rusher. Williams is playing better than Thad Gibson, who was selected in the fourth round by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Williams will certainly explore that option should his impressive play continue, and would be fine in the NFL in a 3-4 look. He was all over the field against Indiana, although somehow only credited with five tackles in the game. Williams has recovered from an earlier ankle injury, and is probably the defensive MVP so far. Wisconsin must be able to identify Williams this week, or he could wreak havoc coming from several different angles.

Orhian Johnson: As predicted, Johnson just keeps getting better every week, and he was impressive against the Hoosiers. Broke on the ball better than ever before, probably a result of being more confident in his role on the field. The Hoosiers looked to isolate OJ in coverage, but he was up to the challenge. He also tackled well and delivered some solid shots on runningbacks and wide receivers. Still a lot to learn, but he has a chance to be a great safety at Ohio State.

Dane Sanzenbacher: The Quiet One just keeps rolling along, catching touchdowns and making plays. Dane is a player that Ohio State fans won't truly appreciate until the Buckeyes look to replace him. He is as dependable as any receiver in the country, and if you don't account for him, he will hurt you. Understandably, DeVier Posey gets most of the attention from opposing defenses, so Sanzenbacher keeps killing them. Just the perfect #2 wide receiver.

The Offensive Line: Without Pryor as a runner, and going against a defense designed to stop the run, this much-maligned group still managed to lead Boom Herron, Carlos Hyde and Jaamal Berry to over a five-yards-per-carry average. They had a few breakdowns in pass protection, but a few of those could be attributed to Pryor holding the ball too long, and not having his scrambling ability. All in all, this group played well, as they have for most of 2010. Creating running lanes and protecting Pryor should be the recipe for an undefeated season. Mike Brewster and Justin Boren played well, and it was good to see Andrew Norwell get extended playing time in place of J.B. Shugarts.

Devon Torrence and Chimdi Chekwa: This duo continued their fine play, shutting down a hot quarterback, and some excellent receivers. Add in Christian Bryant, who also played well against Indiana, and needs to continue throughout this season. Chekwa and Torrence have been better than advertised this season, and both are stronger in run-support than was expected. Also good to see Travis Howard and Dominick Clark getting much-needed reps, especially with Torrence and Chekwa being seniors.

Jaamal Berry: Bad day at the office for Berry, only averaging 27 per kick return and 8 yards per carry from scrimmage. At some point, Berry is going to take a kickoff to the house and this week would be a great spot, with points likely hard to come by. You would think he would be in line for more carries just to find out how long he can average 10 yards per pop, and to me, he's the most explosive player on the roster.

Brian Rolle and Ross Homan: These two just keep doing their thing week after week, and like Sanzenbacher, we probably won't realize how good they are until the time comes to replace them. They work so well together and do so much for this defense, that it's probably best to list them together. They can cover, run sideline to sideline, and make plays at the point of attack. Two of the best players in the Big Ten.

Storm Klein: Can't have too many seek-and-destroy linebackers on the roster, and Klein's play against Indiana is exactly how I see his career unfolding at Ohio State. Like so many of these younger players, all they lack is experience and an opportunity, certainly not talent. His penalty on the form tackle was ridiculous, and you could tell Chris Spielman liked it, mainly because he did it 20 times per game in his career.

Johnathan Hankins: Don't look now, but somebody is starting to earn more and more playing time, and it's "Big Hank." I still don't think he's where he needs to be from a conditioning factor, but he is a load on the inside. Hankins could be seeing more time with several power running teams upcoming on the schedule. Garrett Goebel and Adam Bellamy also looked good in backup roles.

This week's road game in Wisconsin figures to be a matchup the rest of college football will be eagerly watching, obviously rooting for a Buckeye loss. The game will be determined by how it's played out, style-wise.

If it's power-ball vs. power-ball, Ohio State will try to escape with a close win, probably with both teams scoring in the teens. However, if Ohio State comes out as "pass-first" and sticks with it, they just might put up more points than the Badgers could possibly match. Wisconsin wants a street fight. Hopefully, Ohio State wants a track meet.


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