After sunny conditions were predicted for Saturday for most of the week in Columbus, on Friday rain, snow, and some wind took over the forecast. For once the meteorologists were right, as the conditions were less than ideal for contest between the Hoosiers and the Buckeyes. Trust me, I was there so I had first-hand experience. Not that it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle, since I grew up south of Buffalo. I have attended many cold weather Bills games.
Luckily for Buckeye fans, Ohio State handled this week’s nasty weather a lot better than last week against Northwestern. It helped that the wind wasn’t nearly as brisk as last week in Evanston, but there were moments when the wind got going, adding to the chill in the air. I had some friends that were at the Ohio State-Michigan game last year, and while they said that game was a little bit colder, yesterday’s game wasn’t any treat for them.
After having to hear about how they couldn’t run the football, Ohio State proved a lot of people wrong on Saturday, rushing for 340 yards in the victory. Even though the Buckeyes didn’t have TreVeyon Henderson for a second straight game, they didn’t need the services of the sophomore, allowing him to rest his ailing foot with the Michigan game just 13 days away.
Dallan Hayden scored the first rushing touchdown of the game for Ohio State, hitting the end zone from 14 yards out with just over four minutes left in the first quarter to give the Buckeyes a 14-0 lead. Early in the second quarter Miyan Williams broke away from the defense for a 48-yard touchdown, pushing the Buckeye lead to 28-7. Unfortunately, Williams was injured later in the half, and wouldn’t return for the game, finishing with 147 yards rushing on 15 carries. Luckily for Ohio State, the leg injury doesn’t sound as serious as it seemed during the game.
With Williams and Henderson not available, Hayden was able to reach 100 rushing for the second time this season, finishing with 102 yards. Earlier this year, Hayden rushed for 108 yards in the 77-21 win over Toledo. While Hayden saw most of the work at running back following the injury to Williams, Xavier Johnson had a huge play, taking his only carry 71 yards for a score early in the fourth quarter. Even though Johnson is technically a wide receiver, his role in the running game could expand if Williams and Henderson aren’t available the next few weeks.
There was one moment in the game where emotion pierced everyone’s soul, both on and off the field. C.J. Stroud’s fifth touchdown pass of the game went to Kamryn Babb. Not only was it Babb’s first touchdown of his Ohio State career, it was also the first catch of his college career. Prior to this season, injuries have derailed each of his first four years as a Buckeye.
Kamryn Babb, a former top 100 recruit, is in his 5th year at Ohio State.— Ben Stevens (@BenScottStevens) November 12, 2022
• torn his ACL four times
• been voted captain twice
• now scored his 1st career TD
College football is just the best. pic.twitter.com/c43xT0lXxc
Most people would have looked towards another path in life if they had suffered as much adversity as Babb has during his career. Instead, the wide receiver continued to work hard to get back on the field, even if it was just for a short time. While he has been on the sidelines, Babb has been there for his teammates, doing all he could to help the team get better off the field, since he could be on the field with his teammates. That’s why Babb was named a captain prior to the season.
Once Babb was able to haul in the touchdown, you could see the emotion not only from him, but from all his teammates. It was such a great moment that warmed the hearts of everyone that was still inside Ohio Stadium late in the game.
Babb deservedly got all the attention after the game when it comes to the wide receivers with his emotional touchdown. At this point, performances like we saw yesterday from Marvin Harrison Jr. have almost become expected. The son of the NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver makes this look so smooth and easy out on the field. With his length, Harrison just glides to the football, and it always feels like he is exactly where he needs to be, as evidenced by how many of his receptions result in either first downs or touchdowns.
What’s been amazing to watch is just how comfortable Harrison is in his first year as a starter at wide receiver. Some players that are so hyped up coming out of high school have trouble finding a comfort zone on the field, but that certainly isn’t the case with Harrison. Most teams would have been had a hard time recovering from the loss of a talented wide receiver like Jaxon Smith-Njigba. That hasn’t been the case with the Buckeyes, who haven’t really missed a beat without Stroud’s favorite target from last year.
For the most part, the game from the Ohio State defense went pretty well. Not to say there weren’t some issues. Late in the first quarter, Indiana hit a long pass play, which would lead to their first touchdown of the game. The Buckeyes have been better against the pass this season, but there are still moments that look like flashbacks to last year, when they had some much trouble slowing down the passing attacks of their opponents. When that happens, you can definitely tell that Ohio State fans are shaking in rage at the issues of the pass defense popping up again.
Luckily the 49-yard pass to Andison Coby accounted for a little less than half of the passing yards Indiana was able to accumulate during the game. Then again, it’s not like Indiana was great throwing the football, especially after losing leading receiver Cam Camper a few weeks ago due to injury. The Hoosiers already came into the game with issues at quarterback with Jack Tuttle getting injured last week, which put Connor Bazelak back as the starting quarterback. Dexter Williams II actually threw more passes than Bazelak in the game.
We’ll get a better idea where the secondary stands this week, since the Buckeyes will try and slow down Taulia Tagovailoa and Maryland. The Terrapins will come into this game coming off a contest where they were dominated by Penn State 31-0. Ohio State can’t relax heading into this game, since Tagovailoa has the weapons and ability to cause problems for the secondary of the defense.
The Buckeye that is most related to winter probably is tight end Cade Stover. It’s not like Stover isn’t used to the cold, as he grew up working on his family’s farm. Please believe there were winter mornings where Stover was up before sunrise, doing necessary work in single-digit temperatures.
Stover looks like a guy that was born on the frozen tundra. While most people inside the stadium were bundled up yesterday, Stover was running around with no sleeves on. The cold temperatures might have actually helped Stover put together one of his better performances of the season, with the tight end scoring touchdowns on two of his three receptions.
Just imagine how awful it must have been for any Hoosier defender that had Stover in their sights. Either you have to try and find a way to take down “Farmer Gronk” knowing that the hit is going to be even more painful than normal, or you can make a business decision. With 29 catches for 366 yards and five scores this year, Stover is putting together one of the best seasons by an Ohio State tight end in recent memory.