Nate Williams is out, and Zach Boren has been moved to linebacker. And that’s just what we knew about heading into the game; a matchup that Ohio State dominated until mental lapses and a “never say die” Hoosier team made the contest too close for comfort late.
Since Eric is at a wedding and Tim’s got work, you’re stuck with me for the recap. Buckle up.
Braxton was able to get enough of the passing game going over the middle of the field to keep the Hoosiers honest, and found Jake Stoneburner for an early first down catch on a close call. A pass interference call kept the Ohio State drive alive, and Braxton made a good read on an option pitch to Corey Brown for the first Buckeye score. After a three and out by IU, the Buckeyes took over again and began to feed Carlos Hyde. After one first down, though, the Buckeyes were forced to punt, and IU began on their own seven yard line. The Hoosiers continued to have the dropsies, and IU punted back to Ohio State. Rod Smith reported for duty for Ohio State on their third drive. After a couple of nice runs, Devin Smith dropped a sure touchdown forcing Braxton to scramble on third down to pick up the long first. A couple of times during the first quarter, Ohio State showed a new wrinkle of a “touch pass”- they were unsuccessful in converting, though, and Drew Basil added his third field goal of the season.
Indiana got their first first down of the game, and began to move up tempo. Indiana ran an off-tackle play to Stephen Houston who ran 53 yards for the score, and the Hoosiers drew within three. Heuerman dropped the first down pass attempt, and Indiana was able to feather the option attempt and stop Braxton from any gain. A false start put OSU at third and 15; Braxton was only able to pick up five yards and the Buckeyes punted… and it was blocked by Indiana. The Hoosiers started at their own 17, and gained two yards prior to the end of the quarter.
The quarter began with a swing pass on second down, then Indiana’s Wilson ran off tackle for their second score of the game. Rod Smith returned the kick to the 30 yard line, and found Jake Stoneburner for the first down. Indiana’s defense continued to get penetration and limit Ohio State’s quarterback runs. Two quick tosses to Corey Brown led to a fourth and one, and Coach Meyer elected to go for it on a quick snap. Carlos ripped off a long run as the Buckeyes turned the temp0o up a notch. A Rod Smith run brought up third down, but Braxton was unable to connect in the end zone and Basil missed the subsequent FG attempt. The Hoosiers regained possession and maintained momentum.
The Hoosiers picked up a first down as their QB scrambled, but were forced to punt and Corey Brown recovered at the 28. Jake Stoneburner got another first down on a dump down pass, but the deep ball to Smith on first down was just long. Braxton had a lane on second down, but he slipped after getting only a couple of yards. Corey Brown was open for the first down, but the ball was too low and Ohio State was forced to punt. Indiana would start on their own 13 yard line.
A first down run was stuffed for a six yard loss, and second down screen picked up four. A deep pass was broken up by CJ Barnett, and Indiana was forced to punt. The Freak Show proved their worth again, and Travis Howard blocked it into the end zone where Bradley Roby recovered for the Ohio State score.
Indiana started on their own 25, where a quick pass and a Jonathan Hankins tackle for a loss led to a third down, where a Hoosier receiver was stripped by Roby for a third down. Corey Brown’s long return was brought back by a block in the back by Rod Smith and Ohio State began with the ball on the 22 yard line. Hyde ran for 15 yards on the sweep, but two short runs brought up a third and long for the Buckeyes., where Braxton hit Devin Smith in stride for his fifth touchdown of the year on the 60 yard play.
Indiana got 15 yards on the kickoff on a personal foul call, and started with a run for four yards. Travis Howard forced a dropped pass on second down, but the third down toss was successful for the first down. Two consecutive incompletions, and a nifty move by Shane Wynn led to the decision by Coach Wilson to try to draw Ohio State offsides- to no avail, and IU took the delay and punted to end the half.
Thoughts from the first half
Indiana is a good team against the run, and really took advantage of the fact that Ohio State struggles against true spread teams- Nebraska and Michigan State were primarily power teams. The defensive front was held pretty ineffective against the quick timing of Indiana’s offense, and OSU was less willing to bring additional pressure and sacrifice coverage options. Ohio State will need some continued success in the passing game and a couple of interceptions to be victorious, in my opinion.
Indiana started on the 25 yard line after a kick into the endzone, and their first pass was dropped after a hard hit by the Buckeyes. Indiana threw for a first down just over Orhian Johnson’s hands, and then went deep on a 39 yard pass over Doran Grant, who was in for an injured Travis Howard. A pass interference call started Indiana on the eleven yard line, where they only managed four yards on three plays. The subsequent 23 yard field goal closed the gap to 24-17 Ohio State.
Indiana native Rod Smith returned the kick to the 30, where Braxton Miller ripped off a 75 yard touchdown run reminiscent of his 81 yard run against the Hoosiers from 2011. Indiana went three and out and punted back to the Buckeyes and had the ball partially blocked by Bradley Roby. Carlos Hyde started out the next series with a huge run down to the Indiana 16 yard line. Braxton scrambled to the five, but was wrapped up on first and goal. His pass in the end zone was intercepted, though, as the IU’s Heban picked it off the turf.
A quarterback scramble started the IU series with a four yard gain, but pressure forced a third down that saw IU connect with Glenville’s Shane Wynn on a pass that went for a long touchdown after several Buckeye defenders were picked by another Hoosier receiver. Ohio State started on the 25 yard line after the touchback.
After two Carlos Hyde runs, a deep pass to Devin Smith resulted in a 15 yard pass interference call and a subsequent first down for Ohio State. Rod Smith took the next run 11 yards down the field, and the following one picked up eight.
On second down, an Indiana defender hit Braxton Miller late and out of bounds; it resulted in a 15 yard penalty, but also kept Braxcon out for the next play. Kenny Guiton handed off to Carlos Hyde for 8 yards, and the next play resulted in Ohio State’s second false start of the game. Guiton and Hyde ran the “inside option” play to perfection and Carlos rambled into the end zone for yet another OSU score.
While the piranhas were excellent for most of the night, on the following kickoff Verlon Reed missed a big tackle, and Indiana found themselves in Buckeye territory following the kick return. Indiana got a first down on a deep out pass, and the subsequent one was dropped by Roby in what was sure to be a pick six. No worries, though, as Christian Bryant looked to intercept Indiana’s Coffman, but the play was overturned on video review. Nevertheless, the screen pass was incomplete, and IU lined up for a field goal attempt. One of the conference’s best kickers added three more.
Ohio State started on the 21 yard line after Rod Smith’s return. Jake Stoneburner got the Buckeyes nine yards, when Carlos Hyde pushed through for twenty yards on third and one. Rod Smith fumbled on second down, but Braxton was able to fall on it and bring up a third and four. Corey Brown picked up the first down on the out route. Devin Smith dropped his second sure score in the endzone, but Miller finds Hyde on a broken play for the first down to end the quarter.
Ohio State started on the 23 yard line, when Carlos left off where he started and rumbled into the endzone for the score, which was brought back to the one after video review. Hyde blasted through for the score after a “quick huddle” by the Buckeyes. 45-27 Ohio State.
Indiana started on their 25, but the deep ball was just out of Hughes’ grasp. An enormous hit by Noah Spence came a second too late, and Indiana was able to pick up a first down. Storm Klein went down with what appeared to be a hamstring injury, meaning Justin Boren would fill that slot for the remainder of the game.
The Hoosiers put together a nice drive with short passes, but a long end around to Shane Wynn put Indiana within the red zone. A fake screen and throwback to the tight end resulted in a first and goal after Boren made a touchdown saving play. Boren continued to wreak havoc, making the tackle on the next run, but Indiana went into hurry up mode and scored on a tailback dive to make it 34-45 Buckeyes.
Corey Brown made the catch for a first down at the 35, and Hyde went no where on the next play. Braxton scrambled for a first down on a broken play, but Ohio State’s third false start pushed them back to the 42 yard line. Hyde found no room on the next play, and Braxton picked up all but four on the second down. A slant to Devin Smith, combined with some elusive running, resulted in his second touchdown of the game. 52-34 Ohio State with over six minutes to play.
The 23 yard line was where Indiana started next, and began another good drive with an 11 yard run following an 8 yard pass. The first down play was swallowed up, the second down pass was almost intercepted, and the dump off pass on third down was blown up by Christian Bryant. Indiana punted under heavy pressure, and the Buckeyes started on their 23 yard line with a false start on Carlos. He picked up the five yards on first down, Braxton followed with a three yard gain, but was flushed and ended the OSU drive.
A lot of young defenders were inserted into the game, particularly on the front line, as Indiana wanted to put together some sort of positive yardage. With a minute and a half to play, though, Ohio State was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct and unnecessary roughness after a pass that was blown up and a cheap shot at Hankin’s knees. The yardage allowed Indiana to score their another touchdown on a short pass over the middle.
Indiana kicked onside, but the kick went out of bounds and was tossed back into the field of play. Video review showed that the IU defender had his foot out of bounds when he released the ball, but the play was not overturned. For those keeping score at home, that’s four video reviews that went against Ohio State tonight.
Indiana continued to drive with the clock winding down, and Ohio State had several opportunities to intercept and end the game. An offsides penalty against the Buckeyes led to third and five, when a broke play turned into a first down for Indiana. A long shuttle pass led to a score that tightened up the score for the Hoosiers. The two point sweep was good, and we have a three point game with one minute remaining.
Second Half Thoughts
The Buckeye defense continues to struggle with injuries and big plays- although it’s not uncertain that these two aren’t related. Klein’s leg and Williams’ concussion will be key to watch as the weeks continue, and Ohio State fans have to be concerned coming into next week’s matchup against a Purdue team that runs a spread offense at a much higher level than the Hoosiers do.
On offense, it’s hard to find problems given the score, but I think that Braxton continues to struggle making the correct read on several option plays. There were numerous examples where he handed the ball in the face of a huge running lane for himself, or kept it when Hyde or Smith could have gone for big yardage. Devin Smith’s drops also continue to be a problem, as do the lost yardage and momentum killed by the false starts.
Focus continues to be a problem for Ohio State- it makes sense, given the youth and the two huge games that Ohio State just had, but the mental letdowns will not be something that Buckeye coaches will look forward to seeing, and that players will not looking forward to having addressed in the coming week of practice.
Video review… seriously? It cost Stanford a game tonight and almost cost Ohio State.
The Buckeyes are 7-0, and host Purdue next week in Columbus.