(Image courtesy of ohiostatebuckeyes.com, game information courtesy ohiostatebuckeyes.com, cleveland.com, espn.com)
The Buckeyes (3-0) opened B1G Ten play with a rather convincing 51-10 win over the Indiana Hoosiers in Bloomington, IN. This game had a bit of a slow start with Indiana’s first two drives amassing 6 plays and -7 yards sandwiching an Ohio State drive that stretched 26 yards to set up a missed field goal. Ohio State and Indiana then put together 9-play dives that resulted in a Buckeye touchdown, a Hoosier field goal and a 7-3 lead for OSU after the first quarter. The Buckeyes dominated in the 2nd and 3rd quarters by outscoring the Hoosiers 44-7. Both teams floundered in the 4th quarter as the pace of play slowed down quite a bit.
Working off the premise that Indiana isn’t that good of a defensive team, I thought Ohio State was still very effective in its play calling and execution. They had 42 running plays that averaged 7.3 yards per attempt and 29 passing plays that had 7.4 yards per attempt. I’ll leave it to you to figure out the total YPP.
In contrast to their season opener against FAU, Ohio State slow-rolled in the opening quarter before dropping the offensive hammer on Indiana in the 2nd and 3rd quarters.
Also in contrast to their season opener, the offensive line blocked well snap-to-whistle, took good blocking angles and provided adequate time for Justin Fields to pick a receiver and deliver.
J.K. Dobbins (22 carries, 193 yds, 1 TD) has confirmed his status as the alpha dog in the running back kennel, but Master Teague III (MST3K) (10, 106, 1) provided a high level alternative.
Finally, I am still satisfied with Justin Fields’ play. Although he missed on “complete-able” passes (he tended to be high over the middle) he was still efficient. He had three TDs, no interceptions and took only 1 sack.
The defense showed signs of continued improvement. I thought their situational awareness, spacing, coverage and tackling fundamentals are much improved from their opening game, which was much improved over last season.
They gave up three extended (+50 yards) drives in Indiana’s 13 possessions. They resulted in a field goal, a trick play touchdown and a 96 yard pick-6 by Damon Arnette. So, their three extended drives netted Indiana 3 points. That’s pretty good damage control.
I think this may also have been a “get even” game by OSU’s secondary. In last year’s Indiana game, the Buckeye secondary was less than mediocre by giving up 322 yards and 3 passing TDs.
However, they did get spoofed late in the 2nd quarter by an Indiana lateral-pass play that went for 49 yards and the lone Indiana TD. So, final tally; Indiana WR’s -> 1 TD pass. Indiana QB -> 1 pick-6.
Despite boffing his only FG attempt, Buffalonian Blake Haubeil & Co had quite a productive workout on Saturday. He was 7-7 on extra points and averaged 59 yards (42 net) on 8 kickoffs. Drue Chrisman and the coverage team were fairly efficient on his three punts for the game. He averaged 44 yards and two of the three punts were inside the 20 yard line.
Oh, yeah, Chris Olave had his annual punt block in the 2nd quarter to lead to a safety and a 16-3 Ohio State lead.
The defense continues to impress, and not necessarily because they held Indiana to 10 points. Their play recognition, spacing and tacking fundamentals are vastly improved from last season.
The offense appears to be getting into a rhythm an an identity. They had 42 running plays, 36 of which involved running backs. Justin’s carries appear to be sparse, but timely. Dobbins and Teague are, and should shoulder the workload.
Binjimen Victor led receivers, in terms of catches with four. Chris Olave had three and five others had 2 receptions each. I’m fine with no #1 Receiver emerging at this point. With no #1, who the hell does a defense focus on? Good luck.
Below is a table of quarter-by-quarter activity for both teams.
The Buckeyes host the Miami (OH) Redhawks Saturday in Columbus. Miami is 1-2 this season and has yet to start MAC play. They lost to Cincinnati 35-14 on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 pm ET, so you’ll have plenty of time to finish your yard work prior to the game. You’ll be able to watch it on BTN or listen on 97.1. Or both.