As a die-hard Buckeye fan, which we all are, were there visions of last year’s Iowa game floating about in your memory bank? It was mine!
Was it all déjà vu in repeat mode?
One year ago, an emotional fourth-quarter comeback over Penn State was followed by one of the most inexplicable results in program history for Ohio State — a 55-24 loss at Iowa.
The Buckeyes weren’t going to let a repeat performance destroy a promising 2018 season.
The third-ranked Ohio State trailed 17-14 in the second quarter, pulling a nervous energy over Ohio Stadium. But a Buckeye wave descended upon Indiana, with the Buckeyes taking control in the third quarter. A 49-26 final score offered relief in a portion of the schedule that was supposed to be effortless.
Breakdown: The Iowa game became a week-long narrative, and it seemed all for naught when Ohio State (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten) raced out to a 14-3 lead. However, this is a new product of Indiana football. These Hoosiers (4-2, 1-2 Big Ten) had fight, as Urban Meyer’s discovered too often during his seven seasons at Ohio State.
Consecutive Indiana touchdowns and a Dwayne Haskins interception put the Hoosiers ahead. The Buckeyes responded with 14 points of their own and held a double-digit lead the rest of the game. But it doesn’t eliminate brewing moments of complete anxiety.
A third-quarter Hoosier touchdown trimmed OSU’s lead to 35-26 (IU failed on the two-point conversion), and Haskins threw another interception on the next possession. The Buckeye defense stood solid, though, and forced a punt before taking over.
Haskins finished with a program-record tying six touchdown passes, joining J.T. Barrett and Kenny Guiton. Haskins was 33 of 44 for 455 yards, six touchdowns, and two interceptions. His 455 yards were three shy of the school’s single-game record set by Art Schlichter in 1981.
Dropped passes and overthrows were Indiana’s ultimate undoing. Peyton Ramsey completed 26 of 49 pass attempts for 322 yards and three touchdowns. There were moments, dropped passes, runs not finished off, and some bad playing making, that I am certain the Hoosiers would love o have back …. But that, re-dos, are not a reality … certainly in football anyway.
Perhaps the most dramatic moment of the game came in the fourth quarter when Meyer fell to one knee and needed assistance getting back to the Ohio State sideline. He said after the game that a headache flared up. Meyer, who’s suffered from serious headaches in the past, underwent a brain operation in 2014 to remove a small collection of fluid that was tied to a congenital arachnoid cyst first discovered when he was an assistant at Notre Dame in 1998.
An indication of the win: Came when Indiana native Terry McLaurin caught his second touchdown pass of the day, a 17-yarder from Haskins in the fourth quarter. It gave Ohio State a 42-26 lead, breathing room it coveted all day but couldn’t find.
Parris Campbell, Johnnie Dixon, and McLaurin — all fifth-year seniors and wide receivers — caught touchdown passes. Campbell caught nine passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns. Dixon had five catches for 73 yards and a touchdown, and McLaurin caught four passes for 59 yards and two touchdowns.
J.K. Dobbins (82 yards, touchdown) and Mike Weber (70 yards) combined for 152 yards rushing.
Dre’mont Jones had a sack and a fumble recovery, and linebackers Pete Werner and Tuf Borland each recorded one sack. Werner broke up three passes, and Borland had two tackles for loss and a forced fumble.
My view: Indiana’s offense was buzzing right along in the second quarter, averaging more than eight yards per play. Trailing 21-17, the Hoosiers took over in their own territory when Reese Taylor fumbled at the 32-yard line as he hit the ground. Jordan Fuller recovered, and Indiana native McLaurin scored a touchdown for the Buckeyes six plays later to give the Buckeyes a 28-17 lead.
A closer look: Indiana’s 317 first-half yards and 20 points were the most Ohio State has allowed this season. In the second half, IU had 89 yards and scored six points.
■ The Buckeyes converted 8 of 16 third-down attempts compared to Indiana, which was only 3 of 14 on third down. The Buckeyes were 3 of 4 on fourth down.
■ The Buckeyes collected a “good” 609 yards of offense on an operation of 92 plays.
■ Indiana wide receivers Nick Westbrook (109 yards, touchdown) and J-Shun Harris (104 yards) each finished with 100 yards receiving.
Next week: The Ohio State University now meets up with a second consecutive week where they are heavily favored against an overmatched Minnesota (3-2, 0-2 Big Ten) at o Ohio Stadium. The Gophers have been outscored the past two weeks 90-44 in losses to Maryland and Iowa. But, let’s not forget that Iowa game from a year (+ one week) ago….