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Freshman Mike Weber ran for two touchdowns and junior quarterback J.T. Barrett rushed for one TD and passed for another as No. 2 Ohio State held off Indiana 38-17 on Saturday at Ohio Stadium.
The outcome was still in question until a goal-line stand by the Buckeyes (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) early in the fourth quarter to preserve a 14-point lead,
Barrett then iced the game with a 37-yard TD pass to senior hybrid back Dontre Wilson with 3:51 left before a crowd of 107,420.
OSU sophomore safety Malik Hooker had a pick six nullified late in the game when freshman cornerback Damon Arnette was called for a chop block at the IU 5-yard line.
Barrett was 9 for 21 for 93 yards and an interception and ran for 137 yards on a career-high 26 carries. Weber had 71 yards on 15 rushes, Junior H-back Curtis Wilson had 82 yards on the ground and also ran for a score.
Indiana (3-2, 1-1) quarterback Richard Lagow was 14 for 28 for 182 yards with two touchdowns and the one interception. Devine Redding had 22 carries for 78 yards and the Hoosiers finished with 281 total yards compared to 383 for the Buckeyes/
The OSU defense came up big in the fourth quarter after the second interception of the game by Barrett was returned 31 yards to the OSU 13 by cornerback A’Shon Riggins. Devine Redding rushed 8 yards to 5 and recovered his own fumble in the process. Mike Majette ran for a yard but Lagow’s third-down pass into the end zone was incomplete.
Redding was stuffed by a gang of Buckeyes for a 2-yard loss on fourth down with freshman defensive end Nick Bosa and junior end Mike Hill getting credit for the tackle with 10:10 to play.
OSU entered the game leading the nation with only 9.3 points allowed per game and its 57.0 points scored was third nationally. Indiana was 22nd in total offense with an average of 498.6 yards.
Indiana trailed 24-10 at halftime but scored on its second straight possession to open the third quarter, marching 89 yards in 13 plays and consuming 4:53 of the clock. The Hoosiers converted three third downs, the last being a 7-yard pass to an open Danny Friend. There wasn’t a Buckeye within 10 yards of him in the left side of the end zone.
But as they had done the previous time the Hoosiers scored, the Buckeyes responded in kind. Barrett guided a 13-play, 85-yard drive in 6:11. OSU had 12 rushes, eight by Barrett, and an incompletion. The series ended when Weber dove over the pile from the 1 with 3:38 left in the third.
Despite an off-kilter offense, the Buckeyes led by 14 at the half thanks to several defensive efforts and the electric 91-yard kickoff return by sophomore Parris Campbell that set up a Barrett score with 30 seconds left to negate Indiana’s TD just 33 seconds earlier.
The Hoosiers drove from their 35 after an OSU kickoff by senior Tyler Durbin went out of bounds. The big play was a third-and-6 at midfield completion of 32 yards from Richard Lagow to Ricky Jones. After an incompletion, Lagow found Mitchell Paige open down the middle for an 18-yard score to make it 17-10 with 1:03 left.
It was just the third TD allowed by the OSU defense this season.
Ohio State got the spark it needed on the ensuing kickoff when Campbell returned it 91 yards down the left sideline to the Indiana 6.
Curtis Samuel took a direct snap on the first play for a yard before Barrett went left on a keeper and sprinted in from 5 yards.
Barrett rushed for 67 yards in the first half but was 4 for 9 passing for 41 yards.
He started the game poorly as he committed a first-quarter turnover for the third time this season. On the third play his pitch to Weber was high and bounced off the running back only to be recovered by Indiana defensive tackle Patrick Daugherty at the OSU 29.
The Hoosiers reached first-and-goal at the 5 but two runs produced 1 yard. On third down, Redding tried a sweep to the right but was stopped for no gain by sophomore linebacker Jerome Baker and the Hoosiers settled for a 22-yard field goal by Griffin Oakes at the 11:09 mark.
OSU came back to tie the score at 3 on Durbin’s 37-yard field goal on the 10th play of the series with 6:31 left in the quarter. The possession included a 25-yard catch by sophomore tight end Marcus Baugh and Barrett’s 13-yard run.
The Buckeyes took a 10-3 lead early in the second quarter when junior defensive end Tyquan Lewis forced a fumble by Lagow that junior defensive end Jalyn Holmes recovered at the IU 9. On the second play, Weber broke around the right end to score to make 10-3 with 9:49 to go.
Ohio State went 73 plays in five plays after an IU punt to increase its lead to 17-3. Samuel had runs of 12, 6 and 22 yards to move the ball to the Indiana 32 before Barrett raced 27 yards on the option keeper to the 5. Samuel completed the drive with a 5-yard run with 3:32 to go..