The teams traded possessions to open the game before Indiana's Tracy Porter returned an A.J. Trapasso punt 34 yards to the Ohio State 15-yard line, giving IU an opportunity to take early momentum. However, Ohio State's defense was up to the challenge, holding the Hoosiers to no yards on the ensuing drive. Indiana was held to a 34-yard field goal by kicker Austin Starr.
The Hoosiers had the lead, but the Buckeyes took momentum from the defensive stop.
"As soon as they got the ball that close, I came out and told the guys, ‘Let's go, let's stop them now so we can really take their hearts out of it,' because I think when teams get that kind of field position they can feel that momentum going for them," senior defensive end Jay Richardson said. "It was strong for us to come out and make that statement early that we're going to be here and we're going to do our best to stop them."
Two possessions later, the Buckeyes' offense got on track. Senior quarterback Troy Smith connected with tight end Rory Nicol on a 28-yard touchdown pass to start the OSU onslaught. The strike with 2:55 left in the first quarter gave Ohio State all the points it needed.
Smith threw four touchdown passes – one each to Nicol, Ted Ginn Jr., Anthony Gonzalez and Jake Ballard – in the first half. He completed 15 of 23 passes for 220 yards before coming out of the game with a large lead in the fourth quarter and handing the game over to backups Justin Zwick and Todd Boeckman.
Ginn caught five passes for 72 yards and even threw a touchdown pass. Junior tailback Antonio Pittman led the rushing attack with 105 yards on 16 carries.
The final offensive numbers for Ohio State were impressive. The Buckeyes topped the 40-point mark for the first time in the 2006 campaign and for the first time since the Buckeyes' 48-7 drilling of Northwestern in 2005. The offense piled up 540 yards, its highest total since the 617 it rolled up against Notre Dame in the previous season's Fiesta Bowl.
The defense held its end of the bargain, too. Ohio State held IU quarterback Kellen Lewis and the Hoosiers to just 165 yards of total offense. Only seven of those yards came on via the rushing attack. Lewis completed 15 of 28 passes, but those went for only 106 yards. The talented freshman had hurt teams with his scrambling abilities during the '07 season, but Ohio State sacked Lewis four times and held him to minus-10 yards rushing.
"They did a great job of moving people around before the snap, trying to confuse you," Lewis said. "Some of the stuff we were prepared for, but others we weren't. I guess that's obvious. We only scored three points."
Once Ohio State broke through against Indiana's defense, the rest of the first half belonged to the Buckeyes. Smith gave the 105,267 fans at Ohio Stadium a Heisman moment early in the second quarter when he scrambled around and eluded Hoosier defenders before lofting a pass to the end zone that fell into the arms of Ginn for a 31-yard score.
The lead increased to 21-3 when Smith found a Gonzalez on a crossing pattern for a 5-yard scoring strike. Ohio State closed the first-half scoring when Smith gave a clinic on how to run the two-minute offense. Taking over at the IU 49-yard line with 51 seconds remaining in the second quarter, Smith started the drive with a 21-yard pass to Brian Robiskie and a face mask penalty moved the ball to the 14-yard line. Robiskie and Smith connected again, pushing the ball to the IU 1. Ballard then connected with Smith again for a short-yardage score, giving Ohio State a commanding 28-3 lead at the break.
It was more of the same in the second half. Ginn threw his first touchdown pass of his career – a 38-yard pass to Nicol on a flea flicker to increase the lead to 35-3. A 51-yard field goal by Aaron Pettrey made it 38-3, and a fourth-quarter touchdown run by Chris "Beanie" Wells for 12 yards capped the scoring.
The only thing that didn't go Ohio State's way on a bright, sunny day after the Buckeyes' final touchdown when Pettrey missed the extra point. His boot clanged off the left upright.
Following the victory, even Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel couldn't find much his team did wrong.
"Well, we didn't start out great the first two or three minutes of the game," Tressel said, "but I thought after that we did everything we had to do to have a decisive victory."