5 Answers: Ohio State at Indiana

Ohio State ended up having to survive a late-night affair at Indiana. We take a look at how five key areas contributed to the game, including the Buckeye running game, the OSU linebackers and more.

1. Will the Buckeyes suffer a letdown?

Ohio State's 52-49 win at Indiana certainly had the feel of one that did not have the full attention of the visitors.

The offense got off to what could be described as a flat-footed quick start as the Buckeyes went 75 yards in nine plays for a touchdown but needed a third-down pass interference penalty to keep it alive.

Overall, the effort on both sides of the ball was choppy for the Buckeyes, who had 10 penalties for 91 yards accepted by their hosts.

Center Corey Linsley acknowledged the team came out flat after a pair of emotionally charged wins over ranked teams the previous two weeks.

"There was a ton of reasons for the flatness, but there's not excuse for that. Obviously you saw it in the first half on both sides of the ball and towards the end of the game on defense. No excuse for that, but that definitely played a little role in why we played the way we did."

2. Can Indiana slow down the Ohio State running game?

After a strong performance against Michigan State one week ago, the Indiana run defense upheld its status as the worst in the Big Ten by yielding 353 yards on the ground to the Buckeyes.

Running back Carlos Hyde rumbled 22 times for 156 yards and a touchdown while quarterback Braxton Miller added 149 yards on 23 totes. Both left many would-be tacklers in their midst, Hyde often powering through them while Miller danced around them.

This marked the second consecutive season that pair both broke the century mark and the Buckeyes went over 300 yards against the Hoosiers.

3. Have the Buckeyes learned to deal with screen passes?

This was not a part of their game the Hoosiers particularly called upon, choosing instead to challenge the Buckeyes down the field and with a plethora of crossing routes.

On one notable exception, freshman defensive end Noah Spence split a pair of blockers and made a nice open-field tackle on IU running back Tevin Coleman.

Quarterback Cameron Coffman completed 22 of 44 passes for 275 yards and a touchdown before being relieved by Nate Sudfelt, who went 6 for 10 for 77 yards and a pair of scores.

"They have a good scheme, the No. 1 (passing) offense in the Big Ten coming into this, so they did what they're supposed to do," cornerback Bradley Roby said. "We just didn't do our job."

4. Who wins third downs?

Ohio State finished with a slight edge, converting 7 of 14 third-down chances while the Hoosiers were 8 for 19.

Both teams were also successful on one fourth-down conversion apiece, but big plays were a bigger factor than drive-sustaining conversions in a wild contest at Memorial Stadium.

Five of Indiana's scoring drives consisted of five plays or less, and the Hoosiers had three touchdowns that covered 25 yards or more.

Three of the Buckeyes' touchdowns covered more than 40 yards, and they scored on a blocked punt recovered in the end zone.

5. Will a linebacker step up for Ohio State?

Yes, but not anyone we had in mind when this question was drawn up.

With a handful of his regular linebackers nursing injuries this week, Meyer opted to move fullback Zach Boren to the other side of the ball to provide leadership and energy to a mostly young group.

Boren spent most of the night alternating by series with Storm Klein, who eventually had to leave the game with an undisclosed injury. Klein had three tackles while Boren had a team-high eight.

The new guy had his ups and downs, including getting to the sideline for a tackle on another of the rare Hoosier screen passes but coming up empty in the open field on a 25-yard touchdown catch by Stephen Houston that closed out the scoring in the fourth quarter.

Meyer said he did not expect Boren's move to be a one-week gig.

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