|Matchup Preview | Oct. 3, Memorial Stadium, 3:30 p.m.|
|Ohio State Buckeyes (4-0)|| Indiana Hoosiers (4-0)|
Five Fast Facts About Indiana
1. Fifteen Hoosiers hail from the state of Ohio including No. 2 rusher Devine Redding (Cleveland Glenville), impact linebacker Tegray Scales (Cincinnati Colerain) and senior defensive lineman Zack Shaw (Coshocton).
2. Dating back to 2012, Indiana is first in the Big Ten in passing yardage, second in total yardage and fourth in rushing yardage per game. The Hoosiers have rushed for 300 yards 17 times in the Kevin Wilson era.
3. The Hoosiers have had a player rush for 100 yards in 16 of the past 17 games and rushed for more than 200 yards in 14 of 16 contests.
4. Indiana has outscored its opponents 51-0 in the third quarter this season.
5. Indiana is 0-15 all-time vs. teams ranked No. 1, including an 0-5 mark to Ohio State in that situation. The Hoosiers’ last games vs. No. 1 at home (1998) and on the road (2006) were against the Buckeyes.
OHIO STATE RUSH OFFENSE vs. INDIANA RUSH DEFENSE
Since allowing 248 yards rushing in the season-opening near loss to Southern Illinois, Indiana has seen its rushing defense improve immensely. Florida International, Western Kentucky and Wake Forest combined for 306 yards and 3.4 yards per carry over the past three games. On the season, Indiana has allowed 138.5 yards per game and 4.0 yards per carry. Those numbers are in the bottom half of the league but not disastrous, though Ohio State brings in a tailback that has topped 100 yards in nine straight games and an attack that is averaging 5.9 yards per carry this season. If past history is any indication, OSU should be able to run on the Hoosiers, having averaged 296.3 yards rushing vs. IU since Urban Meyer was hired. EDGE: OHIO STATE
INDIANA RUSH OFFENSE vs. OHIO STATE RUSH DEFENSE
Many know Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson as a passing guru, but his teams have been able to run the ball effectively with the likes of Darius Willis, Stephen Houston and Tevin Coleman in his tenure. UAB transfer Jordan Howard is a worthy success, with 168.8 yards per game and 6.1 yards per carry in his first four games in cream and crimson. He’s the main reason the Hoosiers are second in the Big Ten in rushing at 236.5 yards per game. Ohio State’s rush defense has been very good but just shy of great, with Western Michigan and Virginia Tech each having success at times. This will be a test for the Buckeyes, who ceded 228 yards last year to Coleman. EDGE: EVEN
OHIO STATE PASS OFFENSE vs. INDIANA PASS DEFENSE
Ohio State has been up-and-down passing so far this year, as most Buckeye fans know, but Indiana should be the cure to what ails OSU. One reason Indiana is last in the Big Ten in total defense is a passing D that has given up 360.5 yards per game not to mention 11 touchdowns against four interceptions. The deep ball could be in play as well, as Indiana has given up six passes of at least 50 yards this season. Cardale Jones missed some big ones vs. Western Michigan but should get chances vs. the Hoosiers. EDGE: OHIO STATE
INDIANA PASS OFFENSE vs. OHIO STATE PASS DEFENSE
Coming back from injury, Nate Sudfeld has been as efficient as expected for the Hoosiers, tossing just one interception in four games and averaging 285.8 yards per game. He is second in the Big Ten in both passing offense and passing efficiency, and Indiana has spread the ball around to 13 different receivers so far this season. Ricky Jones is a big play wideout, and the Hoosiers will mix deep passes and shorter routes to try to keep a defense off balance. Ohio State is also second in both passing defense and passing efficiency D and should be prepared to handle each of those, but it’s still a tough task because Indiana will spread the field and Sudfeld is an excellent distributor. EDGE: OHIO STATE
Indiana has been solid in the kicking game the last few years, and the same is true this year with Griffin Oakes checking in 7 for 8 on field goals this season. Eric Toth is a solid punter but the Hoosiers have had a punt blocked. Jalin Marshall ran back a punt for a TD a season ago, but Indiana’s coverage units have been very good so far. EDGE: EVEN
With Indiana holding a 4-0 record for the first time in a quarter century, this will be a big game in Bloomington, with Wilson looking for a signature win. The Hoosiers have slowly made progress in his tenure, though the defense has never quite come around, so there is still a major talent difference between the teams. There will still be plenty of Buckeye fans in Memorial Stadium despite IU’s record, so home field advantage is not something Indiana can count on. EDGE: EVEN
Things have gone about as well as Indiana could have hoped this season, with Sudfeld returning to run one of the most potent offenses in the league and the defense being just good enough to allow the Hoosiers to win games. That’s a good strategy against the Florida Internationals and Wake Forests of the world, but it will be tougher to pull off against the nation’s No. 1 team. Indiana might be able to ride enthusiasm for a while, but there’s an obvious talent gap here that will be the difference. OHIO STATE 47-20
The staff pick is an average of predictions by staffers Kane Anderson, Ryan Ginn, James Grega, Tim Moody, Jeff Svoboda and Blake Williams