Buckeyes Tag Indiana For 540 Total Yards

For the stat-lovers out there, it doesn't get much better than Ohio State's 44-3 win over Indiana. The Buckeyes out-gained the Hoosiers 540-165 in total offense and OSU showcased its balance with the exact same amount of rushing and receiving yards (270). Ohio State entered the game ninth in the Big Ten in rushing, averaging 155.9 yards per game.

Ohio State's offense was the model of balance and production in Saturday's 44-3 drubbing of visiting Indiana.

The Buckeyes piled up 540 total yards, and interestingly had the identical amount of rushing and passing yards (270).

Senior quarterback Troy Smith took another step towards the Heisman with a 15-for-23, 220-yard, four-touchdown performance. He now has 21 touchdowns and just two interceptions on the season.

But for an Ohio State team that talked all week about wanting to establish a better ground game, the rushing output against Indiana was especially gratifying.

"We wanted to show that we're a good running team, as we always do, and I think we did a pretty good job of that," freshman tailback Chris Wells said. "I think we are completely a balanced team. Running game and passing game."

Wells had 10 carries for 65 yards and a touchdown against Indiana. He now has 301 yards on the season (4.5 yards per carry) and three touchdowns.

Wells is listed at 6-1, 225 pounds, but he says you can put him down for 6-2, 235. And defenders are finding out each week that he is a load to bring down.

Wells rated his performance against the young Hoosier defense.

"I feel like I did OK; I did pretty good," he said. "But I feel as if the offensive line did a great job."

Wells is as humble as they come and is already talking like a veteran as you can see. But he admits it was nice reaching paydirt against Indiana on a 12-yard run off left tackle.

"Oh yeah, it's always good to get in the end zone," he said.

Wells enrolled at OSU last spring and most everyone on the team was aware he was the No. 1 high school recruit in the nation. But there was no hazing process – Wells was embraced from day one.

"No, they just took me in and showed me the ropes," Wells said. "They just treated me like one of their old teammates like they had always known me."

And Wells couldn't ask for a better situation. He gets to back up one of the best running backs in the country in junior Antonio Pittman and he's contributing on the No. 1 team in the country.

"It's so fun, man," Wells said. "I'm thrilled to be a part of this. It's great."

Pittman Tops 100

The 5-11, 200-pound Pittman continued the yearly tradition of an OSU back going over 100 yards against Indiana with 16 carries for 105 yards. Pittman's first career 100-game came against the Hoosiers as a freshman in 2004 (20 carries, 144 yards, TD).

Pittman now has 778 yards (5.8 per carry) and eight touchdowns on the season. He is on nearly the same pace as last year when he broke out with 1,331 rushing yards.

But for a confident young man that set lofty goals of 1,700 yards and 15 touchdowns entering this season, he is not quite satisfied. He is doing his best to be a team player, but admits it can be frustrating at times with so many other weapons on OSU's high-octane offense.

"It's hard sometimes," Pittman said. "We have Troy, Ted (Ginn) and Gonzo (Anthony Gonzalez) being the primary, the first option. And then the run comes second. You know, it's hard, because sometimes you feel as if you get taken out too soon, or you feel like you're running well and then all of a sudden we throw the ball two times and we throw two touchdowns and the game is pretty much over. But you've just got to hang in there. We've got a lot of weapons and only one ball."

But Pittman knows if he keeps working hard, his time will come. The Buckeyes are always going to need a strong running game.

"Oh, I definitely feel like that with this team," Pittman said. "We have a great offensive line and if you just stay patient and run behind them, sooner or later you are going to break one."

Ohio State's offense sputtered out of the gate against Indiana with three-and-outs on their first two series. But Pittman helped get things rolling on the third series with a 22-yard reception.

"We as an offense went out there and had a couple three-and-outs and it was time to get something going," Pittman said.

Pittman also broke free for a 44-yard run in the second half. It initially looked like he might go the distance, but Indiana defensive back Tracy Porter had the angle and forced him out of bounds.

"I did too much zig-zagging, but it felt good to bust out like that," Pittman said.

Pittman had scored a touchdown in 12 straight games, but the streak ended against the Hoosiers. Pittman didn't score a touchdown until the Minnesota game last year, and had scored one in every contest since.

"Everything must come to an end sometime," Pittman said. "But I got 100 yards, so it's all good."

Day Of The Tight End

Ohio State's tight ends caught a total of three touchdowns between them against IU. It's safe to say it might be awhile before we see that again. The Buckeyes are known for not throwing to the tight ends much, but Rory Nicol had two touchdowns (covering 23 and 38 yards) and freshman Jake Ballard added a one-yard TD on a very nice diving catch at the end of the first half.

It was Ballard's first career reception in college and it gave OSU a comfortable 28-3 lead heading into the locker room.

"I figured my first catch would be a 5-yard dunk pass, not a touchdown," Ballard said. "But as soon as I caught it I just wanted to share it with my teammates."

Added Nicol: "Jake made a great catch. Jake is a great player and he works hard and I was more excited than he was. He made a great play and that's exciting for us as a group. That's an exciting thing to see."

Nicol's 38-yard touchdown came from Ginn on an end-around pass. Nicol was well-covered, but he made a nice adjustment on the ball and waltzed into the end zone.

Nicol now has nine receptions for 116 yards and three touchdowns on the season. The 6-5, 250-pound junior talked about his first TD of the game, which came on a third-and-one play with the Buckeyes trailing 3-0.

"It's a short-yardage play and sometimes we'll run iso at guys and it's a play that we had in the repertoire and the safety bit down and I was wide open in the field," Nicol said.

Buckeye Sports Top Stories