Ever since Urban Meyer arrived in Columbus, Indiana has been a team that always seems to give the Buckeyes problems. In fact, Indiana has scored the most points of any team in a single game against Meyer in his time at Ohio State, dating back to the Buckeyes’ 52-49 win in Bloomington, Ind., in 2012. That game was a “program changer” Meyer said a year ago, and the Buckeye defense is playing at a record-setting level.
Indiana has struggled mightily on defense in Kevin Wilson’s time with the Hoosiers, but Meyer went so far as to say that the Indiana defense is the best Ohio State has played thus far this year. The Buckeyes have also played Oklahoma and Bob Stoops this year. That said, I still don’t think the Buckeyes have any problems scoring in this one. Last season in this matchup, Ohio State broke multiple big runs, and I would expect Meyer and Ed Warinner to get Mike Weber going early to try to set up big plays down the field for the young wide receivers.
Defensively, this game should be the Buckeyes’ biggest test so far this season other than the Oklahoma game. The Hoosiers have put up an average of 29.3 points per game on Ohio State in their last four meetings and have done it in a variety of ways. In 2014, it was Tevin Coleman tearing up Ohio State with 228 yards rushing and three scores. In 2012, the Hoosiers threw for more than 300 yards in a losing effort. Although I don’t see Indiana being able to do enough to win this game, I do think the Hoosiers will score some points.
Score: Ohio State 45, Indiana 20
I’m really curious to see how this year’s game between Indiana and Ohio State unfolds. Except for the 42-14 blowout in 2013, this matchup has been a surprising one every year since Urban Meyer took over as head coach for the Buckeyes.
Last season, it was a 34-27 OSU win, but Indiana had a chance to tie it on the final play of the game. In 2014, it was a one-possession game early in the fourth quarter before the Buckeyes pulled away for a 42-27 victory. And in Meyer’s first season, it was a 52-49 shootout win for his Buckeyes.
This year’s contest may be a little more lopsided in OSU’s favor. I don’t think Indiana has the athletes to keep Ohio State’s offense contained. I expect Mike Weber to have another outstanding day on the ground and for quarterback J.T. Barrett to continue his historic season.
The Buckeye defense, however, may have its hands full with the IU offense. Running back Devine Redding is averaging more than 100 yards a game while quarterback Richard Lagow is averaging nearly 320 yards passing per contest. He has already thrown six interceptions, though. It may take the defense and its coaching staff a quarter or so to figure out the Hoosiers’ offense. I anticipate once they do, however, the Buckeyes will shut them down, much like they did in the Rutgers game.
The Hoosiers haven’t won in Columbus since 1987, and I don’t see that changing Saturday.
Score: Ohio State 56, Indiana 13
It sure seems like Indiana has a pretty decent team, but I’m not in the boat that considers a win over Michigan State to be that big a deal. I don’t think the Spartans are very good this season, and I think it’s shown with two losses already in Big Ten play.
That said, Michigan State has some really good athletes and a great coach, so the Hoosiers’ win does tell me a couple of things. First, Indiana can play defense this year. In the past that’s been the biggest problem for the Hoosiers, and a good defense actually could have led to a win or two against Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes in the past few seasons. Secondly, it tells me Indiana isn’t going to roll over for Ohio State. I didn’t necessarily think that would happen anyway, but the Hoosiers are definitely here to play.
Unfortunately for Indiana, and fortunately for the Buckeyes, Ohio State still has the far better team. The talent isn’t comparable and the coaching is obviously in the Buckeyes’ favor, even though Kevin Wilson does a really good job in Bloomington. Plus this game is taking place in Columbus, so that just checks yet another box for Ohio State.
Indiana has played well against Ohio State in the past, but it hasn’t resulted in a win over Meyer just yet. That shouldn’t change Saturday, and once again there’s not a ton of reason to think this one will be close.
Score: Ohio State 42, Indiana 10
If you listen to the talk around this game, it seems as though Indiana has the respect of Ohio State, as well the Hoosiers should. Not only has Indiana played the Buckeyes tough the past few years, but Indiana’s overtime win against Michigan State was the kind of game the Hoosiers would come agonizingly close to winning the past few years before losing in the final moments.
So that in some ways shows a Hoosier team that is continuing to make strides under Kevin Wilson. This year’s team still can move the ball but probably isn’t quite as explosive as the past few years, but the defense – which has betrayed Indiana in the clutch so many times in Wilson’s tenure – is better, perhaps making it more likely the Hoosiers can win in tight games.
But the reality is this Indiana team isn’t that different from the past few editions under Wilson. By most advanced stats – those that take play efficiency into account – the Hoosiers were right around the 60th-best team in the country last season. This year, those same stats have Indiana in the same range, just as the Hoosiers were in 2013 after a lull in ’14 (likely brought on by injuries).
So what does it mean? This Indiana team is likely about as good as the past couple of seasons – years in which the Hoosiers pushed the Buckeyes to their limit. But at the same time, Indiana still isn’t in the same league talent-wise as Ohio State.
With that in mind, I’m still taking a Buckeye victory.
Score: Ohio State 48, Indiana 27
Another week, another dominating performance from Ohio State. That was the case last week for the Buckeyes in a rout of Rutgers, and it’s hard to imagine anything but a similar outcome this weekend as Indiana comes to Columbus.
Yes, the Hoosiers look like a decent team and are coming off a tough, overtime win over Michigan State. Yes, Indiana has consistently given Ohio State fits, most notably pushing the Buckeyes to their limit before falling 34-27 last year in Bloomington. And yes, the Ohio State staff is lauding this as the best Indiana team since Urban Meyer arrived in Columbus. But the Spartans may not be very good, this weekend’s game is in Ohio Stadium and this Indiana team also lost to Wake Forest, so I’m not buying this as anything but a blowout.
Unlike the Scarlet Knights, the Hoosiers will score points but Ohio State’s No. 1-ranked scoring defense has me gun-shy about predicting too many. I think the Buckeyes will effectively slow down running back Devine Redding, the Big Ten’s second-leading rusher (behind Ohio State’s Mike Weber) with 103.3 yards per game. Ohio State hasn’t allowed a single player to gain more than 78 yards on the ground, and Redding won’t eclipse that mark either.
The ability of the Buckeyes to stop the run and the fact that Ohio State will build a lead will result in a lot of passing for the Hoosiers, and the Silver Bullets will haul in another interception. Going one step further, Ohio State gets another defensive touchdown and I’ll take Jerome Baker as the man to find pay dirt, just as he did against Oklahoma.
The Ohio State offense will be predictably explosive with Weber clearing 100 yards again and Noah Brown returning to the end zone. Despite the narrative that this could be a trap game and that the Hoosiers play the Buckeyes tough, this one won’t be in doubt.
Score: Ohio State 45, Indiana 17
Matt Weaver, Peegs.com
Indiana, coming off arguably the biggest win in the Kevin Wilson era against Michigan State, goes on the road to play arguably the best team in college football in Ohio State. Since Wilson has been at IU, the games with Ohio State have been pretty competitive. For that to happen this week the Hoosiers will need to play their best game, as well as get some help from the Buckeyes.
This Ohio State team might be the most complete offensive team in the nation. They are led by a great quarterback who can run and throw, and they are able to beat teams either through the air or by running it. The Indiana defense is a much improved unit, but this will be by far its most difficult challenge this season.
IU has done a solid job defensively of not giving up too many big plays, and for the Hoosiers to have any chance this week, they can’t allow OSU to score quickly on offense. As good as Ohio State is offensively, it might be even better defensively. The Buckeyes are just dominating opposing offenses and not allowing them to do anything. This to me will be the key for Indiana. It has to be able to run the ball and control the pace of the game as much as possible. I think it will be a game for a couple of quarters, but OSU just has too much talent and I look for the Buckeyes to pull away in the second half.
Score: Ohio State 45, Indiana 24