5 Answers: Ohio State at Indiana

The competition to rush the quarterback came out a draw, but the Buckeyes' new-look shotgun offense did more damage than did Indiana's pistol. We look at all that as well as a little bit of "wildcat" in the Indiana edition of Five Answers.

1. Can the Buckeyes protect their quarterback and get after their opponent's?

Indiana and Ohio State entered the game tied for second in the Big Ten in sacks with 11 through four games, and both teams tallied three sacks and were able to bother both quarterbacks with some regularity.

Austin Spitler, Nathan Williams and Robert Rose got to the quarterback for the Buckeyes, while Matt Mayberry and Jammie Kirlew both had solo sacks and Will Patterson and Tyler Replogle combined for another for Indiana.

Ohio State pass rush specialist Thaddeus Gibson was shut out for a fifth time in as many games this season, but that opened up opportunities for Spitler to pressure Hoosier quarterback Ben Chappell from the other side with regularity.

"They slid-protected the whole game. We were bluffing around out there. A lot of times I was standing square up and at the last minute I would get in my blitz stance and they wouldn't know I was coming until the last minute, so they couldn't check their scheme, but they were slide protecting a lot toward our viper the whole game, which is going to leave one guy free off the edge, and that happened to be me off the edge."


2. Can Indiana's pistol offense beat Ohio State's Silver Bullet defense?

Save for one drive in the second quarter and another in the fourth against a group of mostly reserve players, the Buckeye defense was up to the task of slowing the Hoosier offense.

Indiana finished with 228 yards, including just 18 on the ground, and had six three-and-outs.

"It's a difficult offense to stop because you can do so much out of it," said Ohio State defensive tackle Todd Denlinger, who had one tackles and his first career interception. "You've got the power offense out of it as well as the spread, but I think the coaches made a pretty simple game plan for us. We executed well and were in positions to make the plays and just kept getting after it."


3. Will the "Wild Hoosier" play a key role for Indiana?

After Indiana gashed Michigan several times with a series of plays that began with direct snaps to receiver Mitchell Evans, the attack was hardly seen against Ohio State.

The Hoosiers only ran a handful of plays with Evans at quarterback, none of them too consequential.

Evans handed off a few times and ran once for three yards. He also caught two passes for nine yards.

Ohio State defensive tackle Doug Worthington said the Buckeyes were on alert, nonetheless.

"We had to make sure when they were in it because they have a lot of attacks out of that with (Evans) and (receiver Tandon Doss)," Worthington said. "They run it real well and they got Michigan early last week on it, so we had to make sure the linebackers kept us aware and we just had to buckle down. We knew it would be most likely run and use our hands to get off blocks."


4. How much will the Buckeyes defense miss Kurt Coleman?

Ohio State safety and Kurt Coleman sat out the game while suspended by the Big Ten, but the Buckeye secondary seemed in good hands with starters Anderson Russell and Jermale Hines while redshirt freshman Orhian Johnson saw his first meaningful snaps as a Buckeye when Ohio State used its nickel package. Sophomore Nate Oliver also saw a few snaps with the No. 1 defense as nickel back when Hines left the game temporarily with an injury.

"From my vantage point, we didn't give up any home runs," Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel said. "We seemed to tackle well. With Kurt not there and Jermale was limping around there for a minute, we were awfully young. But they kept everything in front of them, and they count on their defensive front to put enough pressure so the ball's got to come out fairly quickly."

Russell started in Coleman's place and came up with an interception and a fumble recovery while tying for the team lead with six tackles.


5. How will the Ohio State coaches draw up the offensive game plan this week?

Much like a week before, the shotgun was Ohio State's most-utilized weapon, and again the Buckeyes enjoyed success running the ball against a more spread out defense.

In his first start as Ohio State's No. 1 running back, Brandon Saine ran for 113 yards on 17 carries while backup Jordan Hall added 37 yards on 11 totes.

Tressel made sure Pryor got plenty of work in the passing game, too, as the Buckeyes continued their attempt to build a balanced attack.

Pryor completed 16 of 27 passes for 159 yards and three touchdowns. He also threw an interception.

"We did some good things," Tressel said. "Indiana's very aggressive. They bring some blitzes and so forth that they do a nice job with. There were times that we recognized and did what we needed to do. There were other times, once or twice, where we held onto the ball too long and didn't do a blitz thrown. I don't know how many throws we had tonight, but you need to throw in a game when you don't what's coming. We always want to try to throw 25 times or better, so we'll have a lot of good film to study."


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