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Ohio State beats Indiana. Let's talk about it LIVEPosted by Land-Grant Holy Land - For Ohio State fans on Saturday, October 8, 2016
The Ohio State Buckeyes had some trouble early, but were able to knock off the Indiana Hoosiers, moving to 5-0 on the season.
The Hoosiers got an early break in the game, as a J.T. Barrett pitch to Mike Weber went in and out of his hands. The fumble was recovered by Indiana defensive lineman Patrick Dougherty. It set up the Hoosiers nicely in Ohio State territory, and the Hoosiers quickly made it inside the 10. But the Buckeyes defense held up, and Indiana settled for a field goal.
On the ensuing offensive drive, the Buckeyes kept their composure, and had quickly been driving down the field. In similar fashion to Ohio State, Indiana was able to stop the onslaught, and hold the Buckeyes to a field goal tying the game at 3-3 midway through the first.
Early in the second, Ohio State’s Tyquan Lewis was able to get to Indiana quarterback Richard Lagow and force a fumble, giving the Buckeyes the ball deep in Indiana territory. It would shortly be followed up with a Mike Weber touchdown, making it a 10-3 Ohio State lead. The Hoosiers threatened on the ensuing drive witih a big pass from Lagow to Nick Westbrook for 50 yards put the Hoosiers inside the Buckeyes’ 30, but they couldn’t make anything of it and were forced to punt.
Late in the second quarter, Urban Meyer started dialing up Curtis Samuel’s number. The offense had a much better flow to it, and we saw a couple of good runs from J.T. Barrett. Samuel would finish off the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run, giving the Bucks a two-score lead at 17-3.
Just as Ohio State had grabbed momentum, Indiana took it away. The Hoosiers had a great 7-play, 65 yard touchdown drive. The Hoosiers ran a great 3rd down screen that picked up a big first down to put them in Ohio State territory, and a Richard Lagow pass to Mitchell Paige made it a 17-10 game with just over a minute left in the half.
Parris Campbell gave the Buckeyes a huge kick return, setting the Buckeyes up nicely on the 6-yard line. On the second play of the drive, J.T. Barrett ran it into the end zone to put the Bucks up 24-10 at the half.
The Hoosiers came out just the way you’d want your team to do so at the start of the second half. Indiana converted on three third downs, and scored on another in a 12 play, 89-yard drive that was capped off by a Danny Friend touchdown reception. The Buckeyes had been punching the Hoosiers in the mouth, but the Hoosiers fought back.
Not to be outdone, the Buckeyes pieced together a 13 play, 85-yard drive of their own. The drive was largely led by the Buckeyes rushing attack, consisting of Barrett, Weber, and Samuel. It was a much needed drive and score to keep the Hoosiers away, who were getting too close for comfort.
It seemed inevitable that Ohio State would at some point or another seal the deal with one final score, but even going into the fourth quarter, it didn’t happen. J.T. Barrett threw an early interception that gave the Hoosiers the ball on the Ohio State 13 yard line. The Buckeyes once again held up inside the 5, and got the stop on downs.
After a few changes of possession, J.T. Barrett finally got a passing touchdown, putting him within two touchdowns of tying Braxton Miller’s record of 88 touchdowns responsible for. The Buckeyes were up 38-17 with less than four minutes to go. Malik Hooker would seal the deal with an interception shortly after.
3 things we learned:
1. Slow starts are still a thing. At least offensively. We saw them a lot last season, and it hasn’t been quite as bad this year. The beginning of this game felt very much like a 2015 Ohio State football game, with the offense looking lost at times, and the offensive line being dominated at times. Curtis Samuel didn’t get many touches early, but once he did, the offense really started moving. We also saw Noah Brown get his mitts on the ball a couple times, but no real huge gains.
The Buckeyes, just as they did last year, were able to combat this with great defensive play. The only difference this year it seems, is that the offense appears better, and the defense scores a lot more. That combination might be enough to carry the Buckeyes into the Michigan game, but we saw what dragging for long periods of time does to a team. A big concern, if any, should be that the passing game was poor today. The winds were rather high this afternoon, and Laglow, while better than Barrett statistically, wasn’t all that impressive himself. If there’s a similar performance from the passing game in better conditions, that’s when you should worry.
2. These Buckeyes are very good, but not invincible. As much fun as this season has been, today was a good reminder that any team can lose on any given day. Indiana has improved as a football program under Kevin Wilson, but it’s certainly a game many expected the Buckeyes to still roll in, despite the Hoosier’s impressive aerial attack. All week, it seemed people finally started believing in the Buckeyes to be one of the best teams in the nation, if not the best team. That’s all good and well! But the games still have to be played on Saturday, opponents have to be taken seriously, and games have to be won.
Next week’s challenge in Madison against the Wisconsin Badgers should be another good test for the Buckeyes. Typically games like the one that Ohio State played in today serves as a good wake up call before heading into one like that. The Buckeyes really weren’t awful today, but in terms of comfort, they didn’t look as great as we all might have liked to see.
3. Ohio State can still run the dang ball. Throughout the season, Urban Meyer has wanted a balance on offense. The passing game wasn’t all that great today, but it really didn’t matter the way the Bucks were running the rock. All season, we’ve seen Curtis Samuel and Mike Weber make entire defensive units look silly, and this afternoon, J.T. Barrett got in on the action. There hasn’t been a whole lot of discussion about it, but when Barrett gets into the fold, it’s like a three-headed monster, and it’s really fun to watch.
Mike Weber has had one heck of a freshman season, and he’s been on pace to be one of the best freshman running backs in the school’s history. He’s really shifty, and can do whatever is asked of him. Samuel is very similar, but you can really put him anywhere on the field and he would succeed. As far as Barrett goes, Meyer has tried to keep him out of the running game for health concerns. With the wind as wicked as it was today, that had to change, and Barrett more than did his part on the ground.