2018 Game Preview: Ohio State vs Indiana
Ohio State Preview: Ohio State won arguably its biggest game of the season, outside of The Game, and it should be smooth sailing from here until potentially Michigan State. The Penn State thriller places them at the top of the Big Ten East, and the combined record of the opponents they will face in October is 9-9. The two biggest games of the season were both played in September, and Ohio State enters October 5-0.
One of the bigger storylines entering this game is making sure Ohio State keeps focus and does not have another Iowa situation this year. Urban Meyer indicated that he didn’t need to address the Iowa game last year with his team, but he did have a “call to arms” meeting with his team on the Sunday after the Penn State victory to rally the younger players on the team that it is time to step up. It is also Homecoming weekend, so a lot of the timeouts at the game will be covering the homecoming court and who will be named king and queen. That could be the biggest drama of the game. Ohio State, if they do what they are supposed to do, should win this game easily.
Dwayne Haskins finally felt pressure this past weekend, and did not look as sharp for most of the game against Penn State as he had the other games of the season. He was able to lead the Buckeyes to the game winning drives, and continued to build his Buckeye legacy. The next few opponents will not show the same threat, and we should see the same Dwayne Hasksins of the first 4 games. Tate Martell should enter the game on the fifth series, and if the Buckeyes have built a big enough lead, the starters should be sitting by the fourth quarter, and the reserves should finish the game.
Mike Weber wasn’t 100% against Penn State, but he was able to contribute to the victory. Expect Ohio State to keep him rested while they are playing the next three opponents, and let JK Dobbins have the bulk of the carries. Brian Snead has still been out the last three games, reportedly to have violated team rules, so the back up Master Teague should get a share of the mop-up duty. Demario McCall should be able to contribute this game as well.
There is an argument than can be made that it is the coaching of Brian Hartline, the leadership of the receiving corp or the system that was established before, but the wide receivers continue to be a bright spot for this offense. Like TCU, there were a few costly drops which stopped some of the first half drives. But the unselfishness is undeniable, and the blocking has been elite.
The defense again gave up some big plays, but Penn State has a good scheme and is a quality opponent. The defense was able to lock down when it needed to, and held the number one scoring offense to only 26 points. The next few games will be good experience for the defense to sharpen up their mistakes and errors that have allowed the big plays to happen throughout the season.
Indiana Preview: Indiana is 4-1, and coming off a 24-17 win against Rutgers. Their lone loss was a 35-21 loss to Michigan State, but they were able to get a Power 5 win against Virginia earlier in the season. Sophomore quarterback Peyton Ramsey leads the Big Ten in completion percentage at 71%, and has over 1000 yards passing for the season. He has been described by Urban Meyer as a great quarterback, so he might be the lone bright spot on the Hoosier offense.
Last year, Ohio State gave up over 400 yards passing in Bloomington to open the season, as Indiana was able to unleash a lethal passing attack, but they lost depth at the receiver position.
Freshman running back Stevie Scott has 464 yards on 68 carries for the season, and busted out a 64 yard long run. The Ohio State defense will need to play disciplined to control the Hoosier offense.
Buckeye Spotlight: The Ohio State defense. At the moment, the biggest flaw for this years Buckeye team is the big plays the defense have given up. They are fortunate to be able to have the next 4 games to work on assignments and lane protection. The linebackers will be able to gain experience which will be helpful for any post season run, and the secondary will be able to work on coverages. The defensive line, which has been the bright spot of the defense, is a little banged up, including Nick Bosa, who is rehabbing from an abdominal surgery, and Dre’Mont Jones, who sustained some injuries from the Penn State. This is a great time for the younger players to get confidence in the rotation, and build the depth that Ohio State will need to challenge any opponent in a potential playoff game.
Hoosier Spotlight: Peyton Ramsey. He is a good quarterback on a decent team. Indiana does not have the same depth that Ohio State does, but he could cause some problems if given time, and is accurate with his passes.
Water Cooler Stat of the Game: 71-19-5. That is Ohio State’s Homecoming game record, and hopefully that can make it 72 wins. They also have the 2nd longest winning streak in the country at 10 wins, only behind UCF who has won 17 in a row.
Prediction: This game should be decided by halftime. The 4pm start time is not an ideal time for this type of game, but if the Buckeyes are able to slow down the passing attack of Indiana, and control the ball on the ground, the fans should make it back home in time for the late games. Indiana is a good team, and the 4-1 record is impressive, but they do not have the same talent that Ohio State has, and will head back home to play a good Iowa team.