Buckeye Breakdown: OSU Runs Away From IU

Sixth-ranked Ohio State poured on the points in the second half for Saturday's 42-27 win vs. Indiana, but it wasn't as easy as many expected. There were some definite highs and lows, and BSB has the breakdown and what happened and what we learned in the victory.

Ohio State run offense: Ohio State’s relative struggles on offense — that’s what happens when you throttle teams all season, even defenses as good as Michigan State and Minnesota — can probably be traced mostly to the rather pedestrian day for the running game. The Hoosiers did a good job of avoiding getting exploited up the middle after Ezekiel Elliott’s early 65-yard touchdown run. The front seven received a big lift from reserve linebacker Tegray Scales, a freshman from Cincinnati Colerain who had eight tackles. -- Marcus Hartman

Ohio State pass offense: The passing offense delivered mixed results against Indiana. J.T. Barrett threw for more than 100 yards, completed 71 percent of his passes with four touchdowns through the air. Barrett started hot, completing his first eight passes, but nearly all of those were swing passes or short routes and a bulk of the passing numbers came on those kinds of plays (or the jet sweep shovel pass, which is a pass in name only and certainly helps to inflate the passing numbers). Then you have the two interceptions. The first was particularly bad as Barrett simply air-mailed a ball. The second did hit off Evan Spencer’s hands, but there were two defenders in the area and it appeared that better options were there. After the game Urban Meyer agreed that his quarterback missed badly on at least three open receivers throughout the game. The third turnover came on a passing play as well as Mike Thomas had poor ball security after a catch. All and all, the passing offense got the job done by putting up points, but it was far from the team’s best game in that regard. -- Blake Williams

Ohio State run defense: Welp, this didn't pass the test. Indiana ran for 281 yards and three touchdowns, 228 of those and all the scores put up by IU star Tevin Coleman. Urban Meyer said after the game that when Coleman gets up to speed and hits the second level, he's gone, and he was right. The Indiana back is super impressive and will get paid to play football some day, but the fact is Ohio State said it wanted to keep him below 100 yards and didn't get the job done. He got 142 of those yards on two plays — TD runs of 90 and 52 yards, the former the longest run ever in Ohio Stadium and the longest by an OSU opponent — so that means OSU was pretty solid the rest of the day, but all the plays count so you have to ding the Buckeyes for those high-profile mistakes. The Buckeyes will get a good back Indianapolis either way so this will continue to be a concern until it's not. -- Jeff Svoboda

Ohio State pass defense: This is an area in which Ohio State excelled, although some of that needs to be attributed to the fact that the Buckeyes were facing a true freshman who had zero hope of ever seeing the field a couple of months ago. Zander Diamont did not have a very good day through the air, completing 11 of 27 passes for 114 yards. Even his interception was ill-timed, as he was picked off by Tyvis Powell deep in his own territory while trying to lead a game-tying drive in the fourth quarter. Had it not been for Cleveland Glenville product Shane Wynn, it would have been a much uglier affair. Wynn accounted for seven of the 11 completions and 93 of the 114 yards. Only two other players caught passes for Indiana, and one was running back Tevin Coleman who amassed 3 yards on two catches. -- Ryan Ginn

What We Learned…

Ryan Ginn: This is something I seem to learn over and over again, but it’s futile to try to predict what will happen in college football. Truly, it’s amazing how results seem to fluctuate on a week-to-week basis, and that’s true in every conference. Ohio State looked pointed toward the easy victory that everyone expected thanks to two quick touchdowns but found itself trailing the Hoosiers in the third quarter before Jalin Marshall took matters into his own hands. It’s an ugly win that will have the nation crying over OSU’s playoff chances, but it’s still better than the alternative. Right, Arizona State?

Marcus Hartman: Ohio State still has issues with stopping good running games. Tevin Coleman is an elite running back, but the Buckeyes have to avoid getting gashed for the big plays he made if they want to make any noise on the national level. There were also signs of weakness toward the end of last season before the stop unit collapsed in the final three outings. That said, the offense is in good hands with a determined quarterback and plenty of playmakers. Jalin Marshall’s emergence says a lot about his talent and his maturity as he bounced back from a week that was marred by mistakes.

Jeff Svoboda: We've kind of learned all year that except in the direst of circumstances, these Buckeyes are talented enough to overcome the plethora of youthful mistakes they make in a game. So what we might have learned most today was that concern about the run defense is real. As we know, the Big Ten has some of the best backs in the nation, but a great team would embrace that challenge. And I'm sure the Ohio State players do, in fact, but reality fact is that Jeremy Langford, David Cobb and Tevin Coleman all had big days, topping 130 yards apiece vs. OSU. Coleman was kept under wraps for large portions of the game, but 228 yards allowed and three touchdowns (two on long runs) isn't championship defense and was well over the 100 yards the Buckeyes targeted as a reasonable goal for Coleman.

Blake Williams: The turnover issues are a real concern. The past two weeks I was willing to believe that the giveaways were mostly the result of some fluke plays, but after three more turnovers against Indiana it’s a real concern. Barrett’s two picks were a result of one bad throw and one poor decision while Meyer said the Thomas fumble was a problem of not properly securing the ball. Those aren’t flukes. It’s yet to cost them, but this streak of turnovers is a real concern and will bite the Buckeyes sooner or later if they don’t clean things up.

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