Ohio State – Indiana: Notes and Thoughts

Photo Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

It was only a matter of time.

“It was only a matter of time, ” I thought, “until Indiana goes back to being Indiana.” But the Hoosiers kept finding ways to keep today’s game competitive. Much closer than I ever thought it would have been.

But they were bound to get back to normal, eventually. They moved on their first drive, scoring a field goal. They scored a touchdown on their second possession, following an Ohio State fumble. It was midway through the first quarter, and the Bucks were down 10-0.

Things had to get back to normal. Indiana was 1-8 going into the game. The Hoosiers do football like Kim Kardashian does marriage. I’ve never respected Indiana football. And why should I? They haven’t beaten Ohio State since 1988, and have just three victories over the Bucks in the last SIXTY years!

Down 10-0, OSU needed to get things in gear. On second down, quarterback Braxton Miller broke off a fantastically brilliant run for 81 yards. That touchdown was the longest touchdown run for a quarterback in OSU history.

It wouldn’t be the last time today where Miller would dazzle with his feet. As I’ve said before, Miller has this ability to make defenders look like they don’t belong on a college football field.

The Buckeyes would have over 100 yards on the ground with three different runners: Miller, Daniel Herron, and Carlos Hyde. Yet, with as dominating as the Buckeye offense was on the ground, Indiana kept themselves in the game.

At half, the teams were tied at 13.

I must give credit to the Indiana offense. They executed well. They converted 10 third downs. A major part of the reason was true freshman quarterback Tre Roberson. He ran well, he used good judgment in avoiding defensive pressure, and was able to throw down field.

Roberson reminded me a lot of former Illinois quarterback Juice Williams. The type of quarterback who isn’t going to amaze you statistically, but who’s opportunistic and mobile enough to give the offense balance.

For the most part, Indiana wasn’t picking up big chunks of yards, but they did a good job of gaining ground and continually putting themselves into short yardage situations.

Tied at 13 to start the second half, the Ohio State offense began the third quarter of this game just like they did a week ago against Wisconsin with a huge run from Herron. Unlike last week, couldn’t capitalize and the drive ended when Miller threw an interception on third down.

Later in the quarter, the teams would trade a couple of touchdowns. Indiana’s score coming when Roberson hit a wide open Kofi Hughes who could have walked into the end zone with as far away as the Buckeye safetys were.

OSU would respond with a 6 minute, 47 second drive where they continued to pound the ball on the ground. Miller scored a touchdown on a 20 yard third down run that looked like it was a designed run meant to just keep the ball in the middle of the field. Again the Buckeyes had the lead, but would they be able to contain the Indiana offense?

Indiana made it look easy as they drove down the field, and converted clutch third downs. But after a costly false start, and a dropped third and nine pass which should have been caught, Indiana was forced to attempt a field goal with 9:23 remaining. A second false start moved the ball back five more yards, and the 40 yard kick hooked wide left. The Buckeyes still led 27-20.

On the following drive, Herron fumbled. Miller quickly dove on the ball, but they lost 10 yards on the play. They would end up having to punt.

Indiana had picked up a couple of first downs before a first and ten Roberson pass was intercepted by Travis Howard. A turnover the Bucks desperately needed.

Following the turnover, on second down, Carlos Hyde exploded through the line of scrimmage for a 40+ yard run that would setup a touchdown which would extend the lead to 14 points and essentially seal the victory for the Buckeyes.

Miller picked up a couple of huge runs when it was needed. Hyde had some extremely physical runs in the second half, but Herron was the biggest contributor to the OSU rushing attack, gaining 141 yards on the day.

Miller only threw 11 passes on the day. I think OSU would have ideally thrown more, but it was a tight game, and the Buckeyes were able to run at will against the Hoosier defense. It was the offense that they needed to be running to ensure the win.