Despite earning their fifth win of 2016, the Ohio State Buckeyes were significantly challenged for the first time this season against Indiana. Even though the 38-17 final score showed a lopsided victory, the game shed light on a handful of deficiencies that the team had not yet been forced to address. In his weekly press conference, head coach Urban Meyer said that the team is learning from the difficult game heading into a tough road-game against the No. 8 Wisconsin Badgers.
J.T. Barrett remains atop the quarterback depth chart, as he will for the entire season, barring injury. However, Barrett had one of his worst passing games of his career going 9 for 21 for just 93 yards on Saturday. While he did compensate with a season-high 137 yards on the ground, it is expected that Barrett will need to execute better in the passing game against Wisconsin in order to walk out of Madison undefeated. Backup Joe Burrow did not play against IU.
At running back, Mike Weber had the lowest output of his young career, accounting for just 71 yards on the ground. Weber remains the co-starter at RB with Curtis Samuel, who is also listed as a co-starter at H-back. A fringe Heisman candidate, Samuel went for 82 rushing yards on nine carries against Indiana.
The starting wide receivers continue to remain as they were in previous weeks. Noah Brown OR Parris Campbell at the X position, with Terry McLaurin OR James Clark at Z, and Corey Smith OR Johnnie Dixon also listed as starters. Austin Mack and Binjimen Victor are the third-string options at the X and Z respectively. Unlike the week before, when 12 players caught passes for Ohio State, Brown was the only wide receiver with a reception against the Hoosiers, gaining just 16 yards. On Monday, Meyer admitted that the receivers would have to be more involved on Saturday in Madison.
The H-back spot remains unchanged with Samuel OR Dontre Wilson slotted to start. While Wilson did not run the ball at all on Saturday, he did lead the team with three receptions for 42 yards and a touchdown.
The tight end spot is firmly locked down by Marcus Baugh with A.J. Alexander listed as the backup. Baugh caught one pass this week for 25 yards, but dropped two others that could have led to big gains and extended drives.
The offensive line starters are listed as Jamarco Jones, Michael Jordan, Pat Elflein, Billy Price, and Isaiah Prince (from left to right). While the Hoosiers hurried Barrett multiple times, there was only one sack recorded.
On the defensive side of the ball, Sam Hubbard OR Jayln Holmes and Tyquan Lewis remain listed as the defensive end starters. The backups at defensive end are Nick Bosa OR Jonathon Cooper, though Bosa’s playing time is increasing week-to-week. In the middle, Michael Hill anchors the defensive line alongside Dre’Mont Jones who replaced Tracy Sprinkle. Davon Hamilton is listed as the co-starter with Jones. Meyer said that the entire defensive line is walking around the Woody Hayes Athletic Center like they are the kings of the hill after a strong performance against IU.
The linebacking core continued to be a strong unit against Indiana. Raekwon McMillan remains slotted in at middle linebacker. Surrounding him are outside linebackers Chris Worley and Dante Booker OR Jerome Baker. Booker, who is dealing with an MCL sprain, did not play against IU, allowing Baker to lead the team in tackles with 11, including two for a loss. Rashod Berry, Joe Burger, and Craig Fada are the backup LBs.
At cornerback, Gareon Conley is the starter on one side and Marshon Lattimore OR Denzel Ward on the other. At the safety position, Damon Webb and Malik Hooker remain the starters. Erick Smith is listed as the backup to Hooker, while Jordan Fuller is the backup to Webb. Hooker, who leads the nation in interceptions, recorded his fourth of the season and, were it not for a suspect clipping call, would have collected his second pick-six of the year against the Hoosiers.
On special teams, senior walk-on Tyler Durbin continues to be the starter for both kickoffs and field goals as Sean Nuernberger recovers from a groin injury that forced him to miss most of camp. Durbin has yet to miss a field goal in his short career, going 5 for 5, and he is currently 35 for 36 in extra points.
Senior Cameron Johnston remains as the team’s punter, which is no surprise considering he is one of the country’s leading Groza Award candidates. He had his busiest day of the year against Indiana, booting six punts for an average of 49.2 yards, which puts him in the top five nationally.
At punt returner, Dontre Wilson OR Corey Smith OR Curtis Samuel are all in play, but Wilson has been getting the majority of the action, handing 10 of the team’s 13 returns for 96 yards. On kickoff returns, Dontre Wilson OR James Clark OR Johnnie Dixon are listed as starters, although Parris Campbell is the team leader with six returns for 208 yards. The long-snapping duties are given to Liam McCollough, and Johnston holds on kicks.