Before every Ohio State-Indiana game, I talk myself into this being the year that the Hoosiers aren’t a pain in the ass for three quarters. “Ohio State is gonna wreck these dudes,” I tell myself. I look at the matchups, see the disparity in talent, and convince myself this game’s different. Every year I’m wrong. You’d think I’d eventually learn my lesson. On the eve of Ohio State-Indiana 2k19, I regret to inform you I haven’t.
I’ve spent all week trying to come up with reasons why Indiana will be annoying again, or even pull off the upset:
- Their wide receivers are very talented, and will be the best test for Ohio State’s secondary yet
- Freshman quarterback Michael Pennix is a dynamic player with a bright future (and is also a gametime decision)
- Their defense is experienced in the front seven, and they’ll probably throw some things at Justin Fields he hasn’t seen before
- It’s Bloomington; who knows what could happen!
Despite all that, I’m convinced Ohio State is going to roll. After that beatdown they put on Cincinnati, I really like where this team is at right now. The defense looks like it can be great for the first time in three seasons, Justin Fields and the offense are dynamic (and still improving), and Ryan Day hasn’t missed a step yet.
That’s not to take away anything from Indiana. I think they’re a legitimately good team that’s going to make some noise in the Big Ten, so I’m not expecting a repeat of last week - just a comfortable win by a team with better talent, playing at a higher level.
Hopefully this is the year I’m right ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
ANYWAY, here are five things I’m thinking about as Ohio State plays Indiana:
Justin Hilliard’s back
Justin Hilliard is listed as the second string “bullet” behind Brendon White this week, which means we’re probably going to see him on the field at least a little. Regardless of how much he plays, Hilliard’s constant perseverance after countless injuries might be the coolest story on the team this year. Here’s hoping for a clean bill of health for his senior season - he deserves it.
Days on the road
It’s not like Indiana University Memorial Stadium is one of the most hostile environments in college football, but it’ll be interesting to see how Ryan Day handles his first true road game as head coach. Him already being with the program for two years before taking over has kind of eliminated some of the usual bumps we see with other first-year head coaches, but it’s still the first time he’ll be in this environment calling the shots, and it’s worth keeping a close eye on his game management decisions.
Same for Fields
As Day knocks down career-firsts, so does Justin Fields. Through two games, he’s been pretty awesome, but his most impressive trait might be not trying to do too much. Hopefully tomorrow is more of the same.
While he’s definitely played in bigger games, this is his first time starting on the road, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see a mistake or two because of it. I’m actually looking forward to seeing how he responds to adversity, and Indiana’s talent up front is good enough to make that happen.
Shine on, Binjimen
Binjimen Victor’s senior season is off to a fast start, and I couldn’t be happier for him. The playmaking ability has always been there, but it’s always been about the consistency with him. Through two weeks at least, it looks like he’s turned the corner in that regard.
Victor’s tied for the team lead in catches, leads in yards, and is doing stuff like this:
Indiana gave up four 20-plus yard completions to Ball State in their season opener, which should bode well for Victor and the rest of the receivers, provided Fields has time to throw.
Remember the last time JK Dobbins was in Bloomington?
That’s the Dobbins that takes Ohio State’s offense to the next level, and the one we saw last week. Here’s to more of that.