Carlos Hyde broke 1000 yards rushing today for the season.

Carlos Hyde broke 1000 yards rushing today for the season.

In the midst of an intermittent snow fall, the Ohio State Buckeyes took on the Indiana Hoosiers in Columbus, Ohio. After last season’s close battle, people expected something similar this season. The results on the field turned out to be very different with the Bucks securing a 42-14 win over the (surprising!) scoring challenged Hoosiers. With the win, the Buckeyes advanced their win streak to a school record 23 victories. They also claimed at least a share of the Leaders Division, and a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game, possessing the tie-breaker over Wisconsin.

Braxton Miller did not throw much considering the weather, but hit better than last week with 11/17 for 160 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception. He added 144 yards and 2 touchdowns on 13 carries for the day. Joining him on the ground was Carlos Hyde, who picked up 117 yards and 2 touchdowns on 18 carries, and surpassed 1000 yards rushing for the season for the first time in his career on his senior day. Jeff Heuerman led all receivers with 59 yards on 2 receptions, while Dontre Wilson caught 3 passes for 32 yards and a touchdown. For Indiana, Nate Sudfeld connected on 25 of 41 passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns. Tre Roberson led all rushers with 12 carries for 79 yards, while Kofi Hughes picked up 9 receptions for 120 yards.

With the potential for snowy, windy conditions the Buckeyes planned in advance to bank on the rushing game. They started with a little toss to Dontre Wilson, getting away from the wide receiver screen they had run the last few games. A huge breakout run from Miller for 41 yards put the Buckeyes in great scoring position, which Carlos Hyde was able to take advantage of. Two carries gave Hyde his 14th touchdown of the season, this one from 16 yards out.

Lots of love needs to be given to this very veteren offensive line. They open holes in the running game better than many lines I’ve seen in a long time, which is a huge help to Hyde, Miller and Wilson. Even better is the wide receiver blocking, which I lambasted 2 years ago when the Buckeyes played Colorado and got no blocking from the skill players. That has improved immensely, and takes just a few more defenders out of the play.

Not surprisingly, Indiana was prepared for this game. Possessing the second best offense in the Big Ten (which, honestly, isn’t saying a lot), they blocked well and moved the ball smartly on the ground from the get-go. They earned the first opportunity to move the chains on second down, but were forced into a three and out on their next chance. On third down and one, the Buckeye D-line swallowed up a run up the middle to end the drive.

The snow started to fall again on the Buckeye’s second drive. The wind in Ohio Stadium tends to swirl in a crazy way when its strong enough, and it certainly looked that way here. With the sudden change in conditions, the Bucks focused exclusively on the run game. They came out in a large pistol formation. Amazingly, Herman surprised everyone by calling a TE pass to Nick Vannett that ended up being dropped. On the subsequent play, though, Braxton Miller showed his usual elusive burst and housed the ball from 37 yards out.

Indiana’s offense began to find more success both throwing and running on their subsequent drive. The Buckeye’s defense, recognizing the threat presented by Indiana’s big play ability, operated occasionally in the 3-3-5 defense, running three down on the defensive line, five linebackers, and five coverage men deep. Switching back to the nickle coverage to help get pressure on the QB, the Bucks forced Indiana into a 3rd and 16 that Indiana was able to turn into a 4th and 4 on a nice pass play.

Preparing to go for it, Indiana was called for a delay of game and were forced to punt. It was possible that Indiana was trying to draw the Bucks offsides and were satsified to punt. It ended up working out well for Indiana. On the following drive, Braxton Miller was hit in the backfield causing him to fumble the ball. Indiana recovered near the OSU 35 yard line giving them their best field position of the game. The Hoosiers were able to put the ball in good position for a field goal try, but the weather conspired to cause the ball to bounce off the right upright – the first miss for Mitch Ewald all season.

After both teams struggled to move the football, Indiana found themselves in a punting situation deep in OSU territory. Bradley Roby, as he has done repeatedly this season, got into the backfield and blocked the kick. Ron Tanner was in perfect position to scoop it up and run it back to the 10 yard line, where he was tackled by the punter. Two plays later, Guiton snapped the ball on an end-around to Miller. After the toss, Miller looked to throw to Heuerman in the endzone, but instead had to take it in himself for his second rushing touchdown.

With Indiana struggling to score points they decided to switch QBs with four minutes left in the quarter, playing Tre Roberson for Sudfeld. Roberson is a much more dynamic running quarterback that provides a bigger spread danger for the defense to account for. Unfortunately, Roberson is not as good of a passer, demonstrated when Indiana plugged Sudfeld in to convert a 3rd and 7. Sudfeld stayed in for the remainder of the drive, working Indiana down to field goal range on another long pass, but some good defensive play forced Indiana into a 4th and 6. Choosing to go for it, OSU’s coverage helped OSU’s D-line pick up the sack to force the turnover.

The Buckeyes took advantage of the poor decision and solid field position. Two runs, one from Carlos Hyde and one from Miller, each earned first downs. Miller then found Heuerman at the 5 yard line on a very well thrown pass even with the wind still causing issues. Hyde was then able to pound the rock in on the next play for his second touchdown of the day.

The Hoosiers weren’t going to let that be the story of the half. After receiving the kick, Roberson drove the offense down the field past the 50. On the last play of the half, Sudfeld found Cody Latimer on the left side. Latimer managed to gain 21 yards, and looked like he needed to beat only Doran Grant to find the endzone. Unfortunately for him, Grant slowed him down enough for Shazier to come up and finish the play to end the period.

With the snow starting to fall faster, and with it beginning to accumulate on the field, Indiana came out to work their offensive magic. Continuing the success they ended the first half, the Hoosiers were able to drive deep into OSU territory. Looking at a first and goal from just inside the 10 yard line, a holding call forced them back and gave the Buckeye defense enough momentum to stop the drive and force a field goal try. Like before, Mitch Ewald ricocheted the kick off the upright, this time hitting the left instead of the right.

It didn’t take long for Indiana to get another chance on offense. A tipped Braxton Miller pass was intercepted inside OSU territory. Indiana was able to pick up a first down, but got bogged down by the Buckeye defense. After missing several field goals, the Hoosiers decided to go for it on fourth down, and again failed to pick up the conversion. That would turn out to cost the Hoosiers as Braxton Miller ran the Bucks down to the 24 yard line. A simple forward toss to Dontre Wilson in the backfield was all that was necessary to get the freshman burner onto the scoreboard.

Things looked bleak for the Indiana offense momentarily. After a rough pass over the middle that was broken up by Bradley Roby, Sudler took a shot from Noah Spence that sent him to the sideline. Tre Roberson returned to the game and quickly rattled off a huge run that could have scored but for Roby tripping him up at the 20. A few plays later Indiana had found their way inside the 5 yard line, and it was looking like the OSU defense would give up the shutout. Finding no room running the football, Indiana tried to score on a pass to the corner of the endzone on fourth down that was dropped, perhaps with a little early contact from Cam Burrows.

The Buckeyes weren’t going to just let things stand. Starting on their own two, Carlos Hyde powered through a few solid runs to open up space behind the offense. With the drive looking like it would eat plenty of time, things suddenly fell apart with a bad center to QB exchange costing the Bucks a down and some yardage. On the next play, Miller zipped a pass to Heuerman over the middle to earn the first down. He followed that with a 39 yard pass to Devin Smith in single coverage for the touchdown and a certainly insurmountable lead.

Indiana would eventually get on the scoreboard. A solid drive down the field, as they had managed to demonstrate all day, put them in scoring range again. Facing yet another 4th down inside the five yard line, Sudfeld connected over the middle with Shane Wynn for their first touchdown of the day. A very unfortunate Kenny Guiton fumble on his first run of the day gave Indiana another shot on offense with five minutes remaining.

Ohio State’s defense stood tall against a great challenge today. Indiana has had a solid offense this season, scoring no less than 28 points in all of their games until just last week against Wisconsin, where they scored only 3. Having pitched a shutout through 3 and a half quarters is an impressive achievement against this potent offense, and was a good sign for the young defense going into the toughest part of the schedule. Things are moving in the right direction for this team, and they’ll get their chance to prove it, having secured their spot in the Big Ten Championship Game to play Michigan State.

The Buckeyes next take on the M*ch*g*n Wolverines in Ann Arbor, M*ch*g*n in The Game on Saturday, November 30th. You’ll be able to see that game at Noon on ABC. Until then, have a very Happy Thanksgiving.

1 Comment

  1. KenNo Gravatar
    November 23rd, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    Nice summary, Eric.

    First, congratulations to the Buckeyes as they continue the win streak. It will be continued next week. Next, congratulations to Carlos Hyde, and the offensive line, for hitting the 1,000 yard mark. Finally, congrats to the defense for shutting out a high-powered offense for 54 minutes. Well done.

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