COLUMBUS, Ohio — Things look bleak, and we’re not talking about just the weather in Columbus on Saturday.
Tom Allen and the Hoosiers (3-7, 1-6 B1G) had simply no answer for the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes (10-0, 7-0 B1G) in a 56-14 defeat. The Buckeyes cruised to 662 yards of total offense. Heisman candidate CJ Stroud was outstanding, completing 61% of his passes for 297 yards and five scores. The Buckeyes rushing game accumulated 322 yards, led by Miyan Williams’ 147.
Coming off of a feeble home loss to No. 14 ranked Penn State, the Hoosiers visited Columbus and the No. 2 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes on a snowy Saturday afternoon, looking to snap the nation’s longest losing streak against another opponent. IU quarterback Connor Bazelak made his return to the starting lineup after missing last week’s contest with an injury.
The two teams exchanged early three-and-outs. However, the Buckeyes struck first putting seven points on the board after a run-dominated drive. The Hoosiers struggled to stop the ground game from the onset, giving up 100 rushing yards in the first quarter.
The Buckeyes did not slow down after two first quarter touchdowns. Stroud exposed the Hoosier secondary with a first play, 58-yard deep ball for a third touchdown to superstar Marvin Harrison Jr. Trailing 21-0, the Hoosiers put sophomore quarterback Dexter Williams in to shake things up.
Williams made an immediate impact finding Andison Coby downfield for a 49-yard gain, setting the Hoosiers up for their first score. Ohio native AJ Barner caught a 7-yard touchdown pass from Williams to give the Hoosiers life and silence “The Shoe.”
Ohio State kept up its relentless offensive attack and Miyan Williams broke free for a 48-yard touchdown. Williams would leave the game later on with an injury.
The Hoosiers tried to respond but could not generate much offense, going three-and-out three times in the second quarter.
In a last-minute drive, the Hoosiers were able to march down the field and put themselves in field goal range. OSU sacked Dexter Williams twice, though, and ended the first half leading 28-7.
Indiana received the second-half kickoff and started off strong. Emery Simmons hit the ground for a 44-yard run to put Indiana in field goal range. The drive ended with a failed 4th down conversion, resulting in a turnover on downs.
Indiana forced an OSU punt and started on their own 23-yard line. After a quick three downs, OSU blocked the IU punt attempt and recovered the ball on the Hoosier 2-yard line. Stroud found TE Cade Stover for a 1-yard touchdown pass and added to the Buckeye lead, 35-7.
IU repeated a three-and-out, successfully punting the ball away. The Hoosier defense gave Stroud plenty of room, allowing a deep pass that led to another Stroud-to-Stover touchdown connection.
The Buckeyes led 42-7 at the start of the 4th quarter. OSU RB Xavier Johnson ran for a 71-yard touchdown on the first play of the drive, extending the lead to 49-7.
The Hoosiers had difficulty responding to the Buckeye offense but made a few big plays down the stretch, which should help development going forward. After a muffed punt, the Hoosiers had the ball on the OSU 18-yard line, leading to a Donaven McCulley touchdown reception.
Overall, Williams went 6/19 for 107 yards, two passing TD, and zero INT. He added 75 rushing yards as well, but lost 29 rush yards to sacks, netting out to 46. As far as his prospects for next week, “We will evaluate everything as a staff, but I liked what I saw from Dexter today,” Allen said.
OSU punctuated the win with a touchdown catch by Kamryn Babb before pulling Stroud from the game. Babb has fought through four ACL tears and has spent five years in the OSU program. His score set off celebrations on the Ohio State sideline and around The Shoe.
Indiana stays on the road, taking a trip to Big East foe Michigan State. Time and TV are yet to be determined. Michigan State knocked off Indiana 20-15 last season. The Spartans are a game away from bowl eligibility after beating Rutgers 27-21 on Saturday.
Photo by Ohio State Football