1. A win is a win is a win ... but, man, that game was painful to watch. The final score was 38-17 in favor of Ohio State, but it sure didn't seem like a three-touchdown win. And for much of the game, it didn't seem like the final margin would be anywhere near 21 points. Ohio State took a 17-3 lead (on a Curtis Samuel 5-yard touchdown run) with 3:32 left in the first half. Then Tyler Durbin booted the ensuing kick-off out of bounds, giving Indiana the ball at their own 35-yard line. The Buckeye defense forced a 3rd-and-6 at midfield, but on the next two plays the Hoosiers connected on a 32-yard pass into the red zone and an 18-yard pass for a touchdown, cutting the Ohio State lead to 17-10 with just 1:03 left in the half. Thanks to a 91-yard kick-off return by Parris Campbell, the Buckeyes were able to regain their two-touchdown lead right before halftime.
Indiana went on a 13-play, 89-yard touchdown drive to start the second half, once again making it a one-score game, 24-17. The Buckeyes would score a third quarter touchdown of their own to push the lead back to fourteen points, 31-17. After a J.T Barrett interception, Indiana began at the Ohio State 13-yard line with 11:34 left in the game. With the short field, the Hoosiers had an excellent chance to make it a one-score game down the stretch. Indiana gained eight yards on first down, but then the Buckeye defense stuffed three straight plays and the offense took over on downs at their own 4-yard line. After an Ohio State punt, Indiana once again turned the ball over own downs, this time in their own territory. Ohio State scored a short field touchdown to bump the lead up to 38-17, and that was all she wrote.
2. It seems like every so often the Buckeye offense goes into a funk and yesterday was one of those games. J.T Barrett entered the game completing 68.2 percent of his passes this season, and 65.0% for his career, but he managed to complete just 9 of 21 passes (42.9%) for a paltry 93 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Barrett showed better in the running game where he had 26 carries for 137 yards (5.3 average) and a touchdown. With 230 yards of total offense, Barrett remains in 5th place among the Buckeyes' career leaders (6,769 yards), 119 total yards behind Troy Smith (6,888 yards) for 4th place. With a pair of touchdowns, Barrett moves into 2nd place among the Buckeyes' career leaders (86 total TDs), two touchdowns behind Braxton Miller (88 total TDs) for 1st place.
The offense had three short-field touchdowns: 9 yards on 2 plays after a fumble; 6 yards on 2 plays after a 91-yard kick-off; and 33 yards on 4 plays after a turnover on downs. The other two touchdown drives were 10-plays, 51-yards and 13-plays, 85-yards.
3. The Buckeyes did manage to run for 290 yards on the afternoon for an average of 5.8 yards per carry, but Mike Weber was largely ineffective (15 carries, 71 yards, 4.7 average, 2 TDs, long run of just 9 yards); Curtis Samuel was underused (8 carries for 82 yards, 9.1 average, 1 TD); and J.T. Barrett was overused (see above). The Ohio State offense had a clear speed advantage against the Indiana defense but the team seemed reluctant to test the edges on a consistent basis.
4. For the season, Mike Weber now has 83 carries for 566 yards. After a mediocre showing against Indiana, however, his yards per game dropped from 123.8 to 113.2, and his yards per carry dropped from 7.3 to 6.8.
5. With 45 all-purpose yards, Dontre Wilson now has 2,698 for his career. He moved past Maurice Hall (2,681 yards) and into 28th place at Ohio State. Wilson's 37-yard touchdown reception was the longest touchdown of his Buckeye career.
6. Parris Campbell had a 91-yard kick-off return, which was the longest since Teddy Ginn's 93-yard effort against Florida in the 2006 national championship game. Campbell was tackled short of the end zone on the play, which means that the Buckeyes still have not scored a touchdown on a kick return since November 27, 2010 (Jordan Hall, 85 yards, vs Michigan).
7. The Buckeye defense had a strange day. The team had 9 tackles-for-loss and forced a pair of turnovers (fumble, interception), but managed only one sack against Indiana quarterback Richard Lagow. The defense held Lagow to 14 of 28 passing (50.0%) for just 182 yards, but allowed three passes of 20+ yards (21, 32, 50) and a pair of touchdowns. Indiana converted only 6 of 17 third downs (35.2%), but the Buckeyes allowed a 50-yard completion on 3rd-and-10; a 32-yard completion on 3rd-and-6; and four straight third down conversions on Indiana's 13-play, 89-yard touchdown drive to open the second half. After the aforementioned touchdown drive, the Buckeye defense finally clamped down, allowing Indiana just 22 yards on 19 plays the rest of the game, and killing Indiana's final drive with an interception by Malik Hooker (his 4th on the season).
8. Hooker's interception and return was a thing of beauty, and it would have been a pick six except for an absolutely atrocious "chop block" call by the officiating crew. The call did not affect the outcome of the game (although it did affect the over/under), but sometime soon the Big Ten officials will blow a call that will cost some team a victory. Let's just hope that our Buckeyes are not the victims of the worst officials in college football.
9. Linebacker Jerome Baker led the team with 11 tackles and 2 tackles-for-loss; defensive tackle Robert Landers also had 2 tackles-for-loss, and he now leads the team with 7 TFLs on the season.
10. Cameron Johnston had a good but not great day punting the ball. He had six punts for 295 yards, for a net average of 45.8, but only three punts were inside the 20-yard line, and one was booted into the end zone for a touchback.
11. In general, the Buckeyes played a sloppy game, with a pair of turnovers (fumble, interception) and 9 penalties for 83 yards.
12. Urban Meyer improved his record at Ohio State to 55-4 (.932 winning percentage), and 34-2 (.944 winning percentage) in Big Ten play.
13. With the win, Ohio State has now beaten Indiana 22 times in a row dating back to the 1991 season, and the Buckeyes own a 73-12-5 record (.839 winning percentage) all-time against the Hoosiers.
14. Final question: Are the Hoosiers better than we thought? Did the Buckeyes play down to their level? Or is our team just a bit overrated this year? We shall soon find out, as the next two games are at Wisconsin (at night, after a bye week) and at Penn State (ditto).
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