Game 7 Recap: Ohio State 54 – Indiana 7
If there was any lingering doubt on who the best team in the Big Ten was last year, the Buckeyes made sure there was no lingering doubt by completely dominating Indiana, who was without their best player in Michael Penix Jr. The Hoosier student section had some four letter words for the Buckeyes at the start of the game, and Ohio State got the last word before the 2nd quarter even started. The Indiana fans hanging over the rail might be the new “Surrender Cobra.” The weather was drizzly enough to somewhat limit the passing game, but the Buckeye receivers feasted on an over matched Indiana secondary.
Indiana started with the ball and converted all 4 3rd down conversions and 75 yards to a touchdown. They hit the Buckeyes with a few trick plays, and there was a slight moment of panic if this game was going to turning into what the second half of last years game was, and if the defense improvements were real, or just an illusion thanks to overmatched competition. It turns out, that was the only productive drive for the Hoosiers as the Buckeyes held them to 128 total yards. That marks their best defensive output in 5 years.
Ohio State scored on their first 6 possessions in the half, and forced a safety to score 44 points in the first half. Outside of end of game drives, they have have scored on 20 of their last 22 first half drives in the last 4 games. The offense totaled 539 yards, which is their 5th straight game of gaining 500 yards.
CJ Stroud was as good as he has been the last 2 games, passing for 4 touchdowns and 266 yards, completing 21 of 28 passes. He extended drives with his legs as well with 1 yard on three carries, but one of those was for 9 yards. He has the number 2 overall rating in the country with 192.79, behind Grayson McCall from Coastal Carolina.
TreVeyon Henderson broke free after his first 2 series, where there was something going on in the sidelines with his helmet being taken away. He was productive on the ground and in receiving once more. He had 81 yards on 9 carries and 2 touchdowns. He also had 1 catch for 14 yards and a touchdown. With Master Teague and Marcus Crowley out for the game, Miyan Williams returned, and rushed for 60 yards on 8 carries and a touchdown. Evan Pryor was the next backup with 11 carries for 48 yards.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba lead the receivers with 6 catches and 99 yards. Garrett Wilson had 5 catches for 59 yards. Chris Olave caught 2 catches for 24 yards and a touchdown, bringing him to 30 total touchdowns, and in second place in the all-time touchdown list for Ohio State. Jeremy Ruckert was very involved as well with 5 catches for 47 yards and 2 touchdowns. That gives him 12 touchdowns for his career and is second in the all time list for tight-ends at Ohio State.
Indiana was the last game before the competition significantly increases as the Bucks will host 20th ranked Penn State, who is coming into the game after a loss to Illinois in a 9 overtime chess match.
The true turning point was on the offseason with the level the Buckeyes have been recruiting, but scoring 54 unanswered points after Indiana scored their only points on their opening drive just spoke to the separation between these two teams. When Ohio State led 44-7 at halftime, the fans started to get out of the rain and head home.
Star of the Game
TreVeyon Henderson. CJ Stroud had a great game, and threw some NFL level passes, but Henderson is just electric, and with his 3 touchdowns this game he has 14 for the year in 7 games. The freshman record is 18 and was set by Maurice Clarett.
Ohio State has looked like a completely different team after their loss to Oregon, and to a degree Tulsa, and no one has looked as good as they have been offensively in the country. The loss to to Oregon is weighing them down, and part of the reason why they need Oregon to lose once more time, but they have 3 games upcoming against ranked opponents, and a chance to win the Big Ten. That alone should be enough to get them in. Oklahoma still is undefeated after looking pedestrian against Kansas, and Cincinnati was challenged on the road against a 1 win Navy team.
Ohio State (6-1) returns home to host Penn State (5-2) at 7:30pm on ABC.
Indiana (2-5) will travel to Maryland (4-3) at 12pm on BTN.
Photo credit: The Lima News