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If Ohio State plays like they did in the second half against Indiana, this team may be better than last year’s

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One pundit believes it about the Buckeyes—and I may be believing it, too.

Ohio State v Indiana Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

“Again, find a parallel with the Buckeyes: A new season has arrived, kicked off with a 49-21 win against Indiana defined by a stylish second half, and this year’s group might be even better than the last.”

Paul Myerberg on Ohio State being a complete team, even after a back-and-forth first half against Indiana | USA Today

Fresh off the win against Indiana, news outlets around the country wrote their views on the Buckeyes 49-21 second half throttling of the Hoosiers. Paul Myerberg of USA Today gave his take on what he saw from the 2017 edition of the Scarlet and Gray.

Spoiler: Myerberg thinks the Buckeyes have a shot at the title. Even though OSU started off slow and trailed at halftime, the offense turned it on in the second half. J.T. Barrett threw a few touchdowns, including a 74-yard pass to Parris Campbell that busted the game wide open. Defensively, the Bucks stifled Hoosier quarterback Richard Lagow in the second half. Lagow, he threw for over 258 yards and two scores in the first 30 minutes of action, couldn’t get the same momentum in the final 30 minutes. The OSU defensive line brought five sacks, and the Buckeye secondary forced two interceptions.

This was the first game where Kevin Wilson and Ryan Day were part of the Scarlet and Gray coaching staff. The fact that it only took one half of football to get the wheels spinning shows how much firepower and adaptability this team has. The running game is there, the passing game will (hopefully) get there, the defensive line is probably the strongest unit on the team, and the secondary showed signs of life late in the game.

All those components contribute to Ohio State being a team that is expected to make a push for the national title come November and December. While pundits witnessed the first half of the first game of the 2017 Buckeyes, they know that this team is the real deal.

"I'm probably the only good thing going on in my town right now, so I just thought of it as bringing my city up," Dobbins said after spending the past week watching the flooding in the Houston area.”

J.K. Dobbins’ quote after rushing for 181 yards in the Buckeyes win against Indiana, as reported by Michael Marot | The Associated Press via NCAA.com

A total team effort lead to the Buckeyes getting that win on Thursday night. A big reason for that: freshman sensation J.K. Dobbins. In his first ever game in an Ohio State uniform, Dobbins got the starting nod—filling in for an injured Mike Weber.

What would happen over the course of the ballgame was something spectacular. Dobbins eclipsed the freshman rushing debut record of 175 yards that was set by Maurice Clarett in 2002. In the first half against the Hoosiers, Dobbins got the rock 15 times and ran for 107 yards. One of those rushes he broke off for 35 yards, his longest of the night.

While it was an impressive showing on the field, there may have been a more personal reason for why Dobbins had a fantastic night on the gridiron. The hometown of the RB, La Grange, Texas, was hit hard by Hurricane Harvey. Even though La Grange is 100 miles east of Houston, houses and businesses flooded due to the Colorado River bank swelling to over 50 feet. With Dobbins being so far from home, it had to be an emotional week.

Football is such a trivial event compared to a storm that caused death and destruction. But, Dobbins used his gridiron performance to give his hometown to smile about after one of the worst storms in American history.

“And then things like size, speed, raw talent, the weight of all human history, and Calvinist predestination kicked in. OSU RB J.K. Dobbins and WR Parris Campbell broke out highlights of their own — more of the running extremely fast variety than the circus catch variety — and everyone looked up and realized the Hoosiers had rushed for all of negative-2 yards until garbage time.”

Jason Kirk on the continuing heartbreak Indiana faces as TEAM CHAOS | SB Nation

Keeping up with the theme of OSU getting the 21-point win against the Hoosiers, we now focus on the Hoosiers themselves. Again, IU found themselves in a big game—and for 2.25 quarters, seemed like they had a real shot to win the game. However, the debacle came, and Ohio State pulled away behind big plays on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.

The 29-point scoring spree from the Buckeyes punctuated a fact in recent times: IU has let the big game slip away. Jason Kirk of SB Nation rattled off the times in the past handful of seasons where the Hoosiers came close to getting a huge win, but turned up empty-handed.

Kirk mentioned the fact that Ohio State was No. 1 in 2015 when they faced Indiana, and pulled off a win after a fourth-down stop at the goal line. The Hoosiers also played a very good No. 8 Michigan State team in 2014, and were up on the Spartans in the second quarter before getting obliterated into the college football galaxy, 56-17.

It’s been a theme for Hoosier football in recent years. But there is a bright side: that means IU has been good on the gridiron to keep these games against top opponents competitive.

Their time for a big win will eventually come.

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