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Ohio State-Indiana: A quick history

It’s been a history that has largely favored the Buckeyes.

NCAA Football: Indiana at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

With Ohio State football now just a day away from kicking off again, it’s a pretty good time to look at the history the Buckeyes have had with their conference opponent, the Indiana Hoosiers.

The first time both squads played each other on the gridiron was in 1901. Columbus, Ohio was where the game took place, and it was the place where Indiana got their first win against the Buckeyes. That Hoosiers 18-6 win against OSU was the first installment in a series that has 89 editions—with the 90th taking place on Thursday.

Since 1960, however, it’s been all Buckeyes. Like, it’s been pure domination by OSU. It didn’t matter if Woody Hayes, Earle Bruce, John Cooper, Jim Tressel or Urban Meyer was the main guy roaming the sidelines, the Buckeyes were beating the Hoosiers. Since the ‘60 season, Ohio State has gone 45-2-1 against Indiana. (It should be noted that the 2010 win versus IU was vacated).

The last Hoosier win against the Buckeyes came in 1988 in Bloomington, Ind. That was one of the very few down years the OSU program has faced, in, like, the program’s history in the modern era. Cooper was in his first year as head coach, and Indiana was surprisingly good. 1988 saw the Buckeyes finish 4-6-1, and the Hoosiers finish 8-3-1, ending their season with a win in the Liberty Bowl.

The Hoosiers also beat the Bucks a year earlier, in 1987. More surprising, in hindsight, was how good that OSU team started out. Earle Bruce was in his 9th season as coach, and had the Scarlet and Gray in the top five at the start of the season. Bruce coached the Buckeyes to a tie against No. 3 LSU in Baton Rouge, La., in Week 3 of ‘87. However, when IU faced the Buckeyes in Week 5, momentum was lost—as was a game. A 31-10 Hoosier upset in Columbus set the Buckeyes into a tailspin, and ultimately, Bruce was let go as coach at the end of the season.

But, that two-year window (1987-88) was the last time Indiana has had a handle on Ohio State. Since 2001, the games have been easy ‘Ws’ for the Buckeyes, with the exception of 2012 and 2015. There’s been 21 meetings between the two schools since 1988, and during the Tressel years, the sweater vest went 7-0 against IU. Even with his brand of Tressel-Ball, the Buckeyes were constantly blowing out the Hoosiers.

Jim Tressel vs. Indiana

Year OSU IU
Year OSU IU
2001 27 14
2002 45 17
2003 35 6
2004 30 7
2005 41 10
2006 44 3
2009 33 14
2010* 38 10

The Tressel era saw an average beatdown of Indiana at 37-10. (Which is a very Tressel Ball kind of score.) On top of that, Tressel built on Cooper’s streak of winning against the Hoosiers, and since those two, Luke Fickell and Meyer have done the same.

On the road, the Buckeyes are 26-2-1 against the Hoosiers. Meyer looks to get within striking distance of Tressel’s record against the squad from Bloomington, as a win on Thursday night would give Meyer his 6th win against IU in as many tries.

While the Buckeyes are favored to win, this Hoosier team is a lot better than they were in Tressel years.