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Ohio State football: Breaking down the offense vs. Indiana

After scoring on their first two possessions, the offense stalled but finished strong, scoring three times in the fourth quarter in their win over Indiana.

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

J.T. Barrett

Designed runs Dropbacks Completions Incompletions TD pass Scrambles Overthrow Underthrow Throwaway
14 40 25 10 4 3 5 0 0
Pressured Hit during throw Sacked Pass break up Batted at LOS Drops Intercepted TD run DPI
5 3 2 2 1 1 2 0 0

  • I like how Coach Herman called the first two drives, allowing Barrett to get into rhythm early with quick, high percentage throws.
  • It was clear from the start that the coaching staff found an edge on the perimeter, as they attacked the Hoosiers with swing passes, WR screens and jet sweeps throughout the afternoon.
  • Barrett continues to be the master of the zone read. His split-second decision making is arguably the best in the country when it comes to the zone read. He displays excellent patience at the mesh point, forcing the read defender to crash on the running back before pulling the ball.

  • Especially after the Michigan State game, it is clear that Barrett replaced Rod Smith's role as the power/ short yardage back.
  • After using screens and swing passes, it was apparent that they were going to fake the screen and go deep at some point. After faking a block on a WR screen, Devin Smith released and looked to be open but Barrett sailed the ball for his first non-completion of the day on the final Buckeye play of the first quarter.
  • After the second touchdown, the offense did not score again until the fourth quarter. Turnovers killed the offensive momentum in the first half, changing the complexion of the first half and the rest of the game.
  • A pass did not touch the turf until the 2:44 minute mark of the second quarter.
  • Barrett overthrew his target five times which is something that he seems to do when he is faced with pressure. He converted on numerous short throws but it seemed that his intermediate passes were not as on-target as they have been recently. Could be something to watch for vs. Michigan.

Running Backs

  • This was the first time this season that the Buckeyes' showed the H-Back Pistol look, with Curtis Samuel motioning behind Barrett into the Pistol Formation. They ran a triple option twice out of this look that was perfectly designed and executed for a nice gain. I would expect more two-back sets in the future.
  • They also used a split-back look:

  • I cannot say it enough how good Elliott is as a downfield blocker. He destroys everything in sight.

Wide Receivers

  • The usually reliable Michael Thomas started off slow with a false start on the second drive then losing a fumble on the third drive.
  • So this is what the pivot position is supposed to look like? Jalin Marshall dominated the second half, finishing with 5 receptions for 95 yards and three scores, including another touchdown on a punt return.
  • Next to the punt return, his biggest highlight came on this nifty one-handed catch for a score:

Tight Ends

  • Jeff Heuerman had one of his best, most complete games as a Buckeye. He opened up the hole on Elliot's first quarter touchdown run (shown below) and was a huge factor in both the run game and the passing game all day long.
  • It was great to see Heuerman rewarded with a touchdown on fourth down after fighting for extra yardage on third down in the first quarter.
  • Heuerman's blocking has significantly improved since the end of last season.

Offensive Line

  • The line played very well again, allowing only five pressures and two sacks on Barrett.
  • The offensive line set the tone early, as you could have driven a U-Haul through the hole on Elliott's first quarter touchdown.

Defensive and Special Teams Tidbits

  • Tevin Coleman is a future NFL running back with NFL level burst and his statistics showed it, as he rushed for 228-yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries. But when reviewing the game, Coleman was constantly wrapped up near and behind the line of scrimmage. I charted 15 run stuffs for the defense (2-yards or less on a carry) on Coleman's 28 carries and a handful more that went between 3 and 5-yards. For the majority of the game, the defense kept Coleman in check.
  • On Coleman's 90-yard touchdown run, the linebackers were slow and indecisive, got caught up in the wash and Tyvis Powell's poor angle allowed Coleman to break what should have been a 15-yard run into a 90-yard run.
  • Chris Ash has been deploying multiple rushers on third down this season, they held the Hoosier offense to 4-16 on third down.
  • With the Buckeyes having all of the momentum and on the verge of blowing out the Hoosiers in the first quarter, Kyle Clinton once again kicked the kickoff out of bounds. It has to be at least the fourth time that it has happened this season and it is just unacceptable from a kickoff specialist. The kickoff coverage unit is very good, so I am unsure why they continue to call coffin corner style kickoffs to pin the opposing teams to the sidelines if it goes out of bounds every so often.
  • Credit punter Cameron Johnston with a sensational punt that died on the 1-yardline that led to Marshall's punt return for a touchdown after the defense did their job.
  • The big play of the day was Marshall's punt return for a touchdown. Kyle Jones of wrote up a great breakdown of the play.