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Ohio State vs. Indiana: 2023 game preview and prediction

Ohio State kicks off their 134th season of football with a trip to Bloomington to battle the Indiana Hoosiers.

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Ohio State opens their 2023 season on Saturday when they travel to Bloomington to take on the Indiana Hoosiers. This marks the 16th time the Buckeyes have played a Big Ten contest in their first game of the year, winning each of the previous conference season openers. Ohio State also played a Big Ten game on the road in 2017, which was also against Indiana, and in 2021 at Minnesota. Prior to the 2017 matchup with the Hoosiers, the last time the Buckeyes kicked off their season with a Big Ten game was all the way back in 1975 at Michigan State.

History with the Hoosiers

The Buckeyes will be looking to continue their domination of the Hoosiers, holding a 78-12-5 edge all-time in the series with their neighbors to the west. Ohio State has won the last 27 meetings with Indiana, which is the nation’s longest winning streak by a team over one opponent. The last victory for the Hoosiers came all the way back in 1988.

Even though Indiana has been able to keep a few games against Ohio State within a touchdown over the last 15 years, that certainly wasn’t the case last season. The Buckeyes jumped out to a 21-0 lead and never looked back, winning 56-14. Ryan Day’s offense racked up 300 yards on the ground and through the air in wintry conditions at Ohio Stadium. That output marked the fourth time under Day the Buckeyes have ran up at least 300 yards both running and passing.

Not only did Ohio State reach those marks last season against Indiana, they also accomplished the feat in 2020 against the Hoosiers.

A potent offense

The Buckeyes enter the season as one of the favorites to make the College Football Playoff. Ohio State returns 16 players that earned All-Big Ten honors last season. Headlining those returning players are wide receivers Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka, who are the most lethal duo at wide receiver in the country.

Both receivers caught at least 70 passes, amassed at least 1,150 yards receiving, and combined for 24 touchdown receptions in 2022. Harrison is in the conversation as a Heisman Trophy candidate, and would likely be the first receiver taken if he declares for the 2024 NFL Draft. Add in Julian Fleming, Cade Stover, Carnell Tate, and others, and it is no wonder why Ohio State has the most feared receiving corps in the nation.

What the biggest question this offseason for Ohio State has been who will be throwing passes to those talented receivers? Head coach Ryan Day finally named a starting quarterback on Tuesday for the opener. Kyle McCord will get the first crack at filling C.J. Stroud’s shoes at quarterback. Even though McCord was named the starter, it is still likely we’ll see Devin Brown get some snaps, and the Buckeyes won’t have a true starting quarterback until later in the month when they head to South Bend to take on Notre Dame.

Not only will Ohio State have new starting quarterback, they will also have three new starters on the offensive line. Returning are guards Donovan Jackson and Matthew Jones, while Carson Hinzman has been named the starter at center, beating out Louisiana-Monroe transfer Victor Cutler Jr. San Diego State transfer Josh Simmons and Josh Fryar should round out the tackle spots.

The Buckeye offensive line is coached by Justin Frye, who is entering his second season as a member of Ryan Day’s coaching staff. Frye grew up in Indiana and played college football for the Hoosiers, where he started a school record 45 consecutive games from 2002 to 2006. Frye is also the associate head coach for the Ohio State offense.

One group that is hoping the offensive line gels quickly are the Buckeye running backs. TreVeyon Henderson is looking for a bounce-back season following a sophomore year that was plagued by injuries. Miyan Williams also had some injuries issues of his own during the season that limited his playing time later in the year. Entering this season, the two running backs have combined for over 3,200 rushing yards and 37 rushing touchdowns. Along with those two backs, Dallan Hayden had some strong moments last year, and Evan Pryor will be returning after missing the 2022 season with a knee injury.

The Silver Bullets

In Jim Knowles’ first season as defensive coordinator, Ohio State certainly made positive strides. Unfortunately, the group lost their way in the two biggest games of the year. There are returning veterans like Tommy Eichenberg and J.T. Tuimoloau, as well as underclassmen that are ready to make their mark like Sonny Styles and C.J. Hicks.

The defensive unit where the most questions need to be answered is in the secondary. Starters Denzel Burke, Josh Proctor, and Latham Ransom return, but can they lead a group that was torched by Michigan and Georgia? The group will have some reinforcements in Styles, Malik Hartford, and Ole Miss transfer Davison Igbinosun, who had a tremendous freshman year with the Rebels.

The defensive line and linebacker units have a little clearer picture because of their depth and what they showed on the field last year. Tommy Eichenberg will be looking for another 100-tackle season, while Steele Chambers is only getting better the more he is on the field after moving to linebacker from running back in 2021. C.J. Hicks should see plenty of playing time this year in his second season in Columbus. The linebacker unit also got a huge boost after James Laurinaitis was added to the coaching staff as assistant linebackers coach.

Opposing quarterbacks on Ohio State’s schedule this year should be fearful of what they’ll see from the Buckeye defensive line, which is deep and talented. J.T. Tuimoloau put together one of the best personal defensive performances in a game last year against Penn State. Lining up alongside Tuimoloau is Jack Sawyer, Ty Hamilton, and Michael Hall Jr. Youngsters Tyleik Williams, Caden Curry, and Kenyatta Jackson Jr. will also make noise at points this season.

Where Indiana stands

Indiana enters the 2023 season without much momentum. Tom Allen took over as head coach in 2017, and in each of his first four seasons his teams won at least five games, earning bowl bids in 2019 and 2020. Over the last two years, the Hoosiers have gone just 6-18. If results don’t improve quickly, Allen’s seat in Bloomington is going to get even hotter. Overall, Allen is 30-40 during his time as head coach of the Hoosiers.

Unfortunately, Allen doesn’t have a lot of experience to lean on this year. Indiana returns just two everyday starters on defense, and are just one of eight programs that return single-digit starters on offense and defense. To try and fill some of the the holes on both sides of the football, the Hoosiers were active in the transfer portal, bringing in 24 players in the offseason.

The Hoosier offense

Much like Ohio State, Indiana is searching for their starting quarterback. Redshirt freshman Brendan Sorsby and Tennessee transfer Tayven Jackson are battling to take snaps for the Hoosiers. Jackson is the brother of Trayce Jackson-Davis, who was a star for the Indiana basketball team. Sorsby saw very limited action in 2022, throwing six passes against Penn State, one of which was picked off.

One player Ohio State will have to keep close tabs on is sophomore Jaylin Lucas, who led the team with 944 all-purpose yards in 2022. Lucas was the only true freshman with multiple kickoff returns for touchdowns last year, and is already second on the career kickoff touchdown charts at Indiana. Even though Lucas is a running back, he also is a threat through the air, as he caught 16 passes in 2022.

While Lucas can make some noise catching the football, the main receiving threat for Indiana is Cam Camper, who was putting together a strong season last year before suffering a knee injury in October against Rutgers. Prior to his injury, Camper caught 46 passes for 569 yards and a couple scores. Aside from Camper, the only other returning player to catch at least 20 passes was running back Josh Henderson.

Along with Josh Henderson and Jaylin Lucas, one running back who the Hoosiers could lean on is Christian Turner, who started his career at Michigan before transferring to Wake Forest, where he played the last two seasons. Turner ran for over 500 yards in each of the past two years for the Demon Deacons, and totaled 12 rushing touchdowns. If Turner gets going early, expect the Hoosiers to keep feeding him, especially with the inexperience at quarterback for Indiana.

Even though the Hoosiers have the 10th youngest offensive line among FBS tams, they do have a couple returning starters. Matthew Bedford has started 28 of the 29 games he has played at Indiana, while Mike Katic started all 12 games last year. The Indiana coaching staff got a boost when they brought in 33-year coaching veteran Bob Bostad as the offensive line coach, who recently held the same position at Wisconsin.

Indiana’s defense

The star returning defender for Indiana is Aaron Casey. The linebacker registered 86 tackles and 10.5 tackles for loss last season. Aside from Casey, there are a lot of new faces on the defense. The Hoosiers brought in Stanford transfer Jacob Mangum-Farrar to lineup with Casey at linebacker. Also coming from Stanford is cornerback Nic Toomer. Another transfer corner in the mix is Jamier Johnson, who started his career at Texas. Toomer and Johnson will join Indiana vets Noah Pierre and Josh Sanguinetti in the secondary.

Other transfers that will feature for Indiana this year include defensive linemen Andre Carter and Philip Blidi. Carter was a force at Western Michigan, racking up 13 sacks, 27.5 tackles for loss, five forced fumbles, and two interceptions in 46 games. Blidi comes to Bloomington from Texas Tech, where he’ll be reunited with defensive line coach Paul Randolph.

Trying to put together a defensive game plan to slow down the Buckeyes will be Matt Guerrieri, who was hired as Indiana’s co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach in the offseason. Guerrieri has quite a bit of familiarity with what Ohio State will try to run after spending the 2022 season in Columbus as an analyst.


Even with the questions Ohio State has at quarterback and the offensive line, there’s no reason this game should be close. The Buckeyes have the edge at every position on the field, and have loads more experience on the Hoosiers. Really the biggest question in this game will be if McCord can make some strides at quarterback, or how quickly will Day turn to Devin Brown if things aren’t going as planned.

Even though neither team has played a snap this year, Indiana seems like they’ll be in the basement of the Big Ten East, and if that’s the case this could be Allen’s last season with the Hoosiers. Ohio State continues their domination over Indiana with another easy win over the Hoosiers, which could end up looking a lot like last year’s game in Columbus, except with better weather.

LGHL prediction: Ohio State 49, Indiana 13