The Buckeyes struggled at times to move the football against Indiana, but ultimately pulled away for a 38-17 victory with a few big plays on defense and special teams. The BSB staff lists their five biggest takeaways from the Ohio State victory.
1. Barrett Isn’t Perfect
No one is, but J.T. Barrett showed that even as a Heisman contender, he is human. For the first time since the devastating loss to Michigan State last season, Barrett failed to throw for 100 yards in a game and looked out of sync with his receivers for most of the day. The redshirt junior missed multiple long throws, something he excelled at as a freshman with the likes of Devin Smith and Jalin Marshall. While he still ran for more than 100 yards, the 26 carries were not ideal and something Urban Meyer said should not happen moving forward.
2. Baker Can Be A Star
After losing a battle with Chris Worley and Dante Booker in fall camp, Jerome Baker got his chance to start when Booker sprained his MCL against Bowling Green in the season opener. Since then, he has returned an interception for a touchdown against Oklahoma, and led the Buckeyes in tackles against Indiana with 11, including two for loss. Baker has proven he can be a starting linebacker for Ohio State and by the time Booker returns healthy, he might not be a starter anymore with the way Baker has played.
3. Nick Bosa Is Ready For Primetime
Bosa, a freshman defensive end, arrived at Ohio State with the legacy of his brother, Joey, to live up to. So far, he’s passed each test with flying colors, and he was one of the brightest starts for Ohio State against Indiana. He finished the game with four total tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. That’s a solid haul for a guy who doesn’t even start. He also came up with one of the biggest plays of the game with a stuff on fourth-and-1. As Urban Meyer said during his postgame press conference, Bosa is ready for a bigger role in this defense.
4. Ohio State Won’t Force The Ball To Curtis Samuel, But Should
Samuel is quite simply the best playmaker at Meyer’s disposal, and he only carried the ball nine times in the win. He didn’t catch a single pass, though that was probably due to the generally bad day from Barrett. Samuel did finish with 82 yards and a score on the ground, which is stellar for such a low number of touches. Meyer admitted the Buckeyes need to get him the ball more often, especially early, but it wasn’t an adjustment the coaching staff made in the game. Against a better opponent – say Wisconsin next week – Ohio State might need to have Samuel lead the way.
5. Urban Meyer Might Be Right About Parris Campbell
Parris Campbell really does have the potential to become the best kick returner in Ohio State history by the time he leaves. Head coach Urban Meyer said that earlier this week and Campbell proved him right. He had a total of 149 kick return yards for the game, 91 of them came on a return late in the first half that set up a crucial Buckeye touchdown. On the play, he showcased his speed and ability to make defenders miss. That play was certainly one of the differences in the game because Indiana had just scored a touchdown before that to make it a 17-10 Ohio State lead. If Campbell did not have a return like the one, the Buckeyes may not have scored that touchdown and would have been kicking the ball to Indiana to start the second half with the Hoosiers only needing a touchdown to tie the game. Meyer said that was one of two of the biggest plays of the game and given the situation you can certainly see why.