After a 2-0 start to the 2019 season, the Indiana Hoosiers hit a road block constructed by quarterback Justin Fields and the Ohio State Buckeyes Saturday afternoon. Indiana was outscored 44-7 after the first quarter and could not handle the two headed snake of Fields and running back J.K. Dobbins leading to a 51-10 loss and a 2-1 on the season. All three phases of the Hoosier’s game was not there today and it showed as the Buckeyes made plays in every dimension of their game while Indiana was trying to stay afloat.

In my mind we have established a standard how we’re going to play on both sides of the football and on special teams and in all three phases weren’t good enough today. We’ve got to evaluate the film and learn what we can learn from this, flush it, press on.

Head Coach Tom Allen

When will the running game find its way?

Photo: IndianaHQ

Entering Saturday’s matchup against the Buckeyes, Indiana recorded 262 rushing yards the first two games averaging to 131 per game. The Hoosier backfield has not picked up on the success from last season and after three games, it is still a question. Indiana mustered up 42 rushing yards on 31 attempts to put that into perspective, Ohio St. ran the ball 42 times and racked up 306 yards on the ground.

Quarterback Peyton Ramsey (who got the start after Michal Penix was ruled out before the game) led the Hoosiers with 14 carries for 14 yards while freshman running back Sampson James picked up 14 yards on 4 carries for a 3.5 yard per carry average. Returning starter Stevie Scott had nine yards on the day and has tallied just 118 yards through three games. Where does the problem lie? Is it up front on the offensive line led by three seniors or was it just the pure talent of the Buckeye front seven.

It’s not good enough. I know they had a lot to do with that today but at the same time, it’s not good enough. Three games in you’ve got a chance to get a pretty decent test case on where you’re at, and it’s got to be more effective, there’s no doubt about it. It starts up front, ends up front.

Head Coach Tom Allen when asked about the running game

The defensive miscues returned.

Photo: IndianaHQ

Indiana cleaned up the defensive problems from the Ball State game against Eastern Illinois last week but those miscues crept their way back into the Hoosier’s on-field performance Saturday. The Buckeye’s put on a show offensively and Tom Allen’s defense had no answer for their balanced attack totaling 520 yards and five touchdowns. Fields threw for 14/24 for 199 yards and three scores finishing the day with a quarterback rating of 169.2. Running backs Dobbins and Master Teague combined for 299 yards on 32 carries and two end zone appearances.

Missed tackles remain an issue after Saturday’s game as Buckeye running backs broke off many Hoosier defenders on their long runs. At 5-10 and 217 pounds, Dobbins used his size and strength to march his way down the field on many plays, shrugging off tacklers after first contact and taking multiple players to wrestle him down.

I know we’ve got a lot of young guys on defense, but those young guys are a year older than they were a year ago and they’ve got to rise up and tackle those big strong backs like they had today.

Head Coach Tom Allen on missed tackles.

The Ohio St. backs busted through the Indiana defensive line very quickly with their up tempo offense causing many rotational changes up front for the Hoosiers. Even with the mass substitutions up front, the defense could not stop big runs early on and it made the tackling issue standout for the entire unit.

I don’t think effort was where it needed to be. Just overall a disappointing day. It’s not us. Just need to go back to the drawing board and get stuff fixed. Keep the guys’ confidence up. Take this one to the chin like a man and continue to go on, it’s a long season.

Indiana Linebacker Reakwon Jones

Special teams did not execute like needed.

Special teams can change the overall momentum of a game in a flash, that was the case for Indiana during Saturday’s contest. There were many moments where the Hoosier’s special teams unit could not get the team out of the hole, but instead pushed them deeper down.

Kick Returner David Ellis #10 returns a kick against the Buckeyes.
Photo: IndianaHQ

A kick-catch interference penalty early on and two returners colliding while attempting to catch a kick were just some of the many self-inflicted mistakes by Indiana’s special teams.

The punting unit was not there for Indiana as a missed assignment up front led to a blocked punt that went into the end zone for a Buckeye safety. The safety pushed the deficit to 16-3 in the second quarter and Ohio St. took the ball next drive 75 yards for another touchdown blowing the game wide open. Haydon Whitehead’s next punt after the blocked was shanked off his leg for only 12 yards leading to great field position for Fields and his offense. Whitehead averaged just 38.6 yards on seven punts for the day tipping the field position scale to Ohio State.

They just make me sick because you don’t win many games when you get a punt blocked.

Head Coach Tom Allen on blocked punts.

The one bright spot for Indiana’s special teams was kicker Logan Justus. The fifth year senior was perfect on kicks for the day with a 29 yard field goal and an extra point in the first half. Justus’ field goal makes him five-for-five on the year and earns him his 100th career point.

They’ve got to be big every week. They just can’t be most of the time, it’s got to be all the time.

Head Coach Tom Allen on the blocked punt.

Peyton Hendershot is emerging as a top target.

If anything can be found from the film room after Saturday’s game is that tight end Peyton Hendershot has become a legitimate offensive weapon for the Hoosiers. The redshirt sophomore out of Tri-West High School hauled in four receptions for 70 yards and the only Indiana touchdown of the day. Hendershot was left on an island after a backwards pass from Ramsey to Donavan Hale sucked in the Buckeye defense leading to Hale throwing the ball to Hendershot for a 49 yard score just before halftime.

It was wide open. We had run it for a few weeks and we were thinking that the safety was going to be there, but it was literally just wide open. It was unreal. It was good to see it finally work out though.

Indiana tight end Peyton Hendershot on his touchdown catch from Donavan Hale.

The Hendricks county native now has 13 receptions for 191 yards and two touchdowns through three games this year. With a 6-4 and 255 pound frame, Hendershot has used his athletic and big play ability to be a reliable option for Kalen DeBoer’s offensive system as the season heats up.

This loss is a wake up call for Indiana.

Indiana has not defeated Ohio St. since 1988 but has played competitive with them the past few seasons. In many of those games, the Hoosiers would stay close throughout until the Buckeyes eventually pulled away for victories.

Saturday’s game was not that. The Hoosiers were outplayed the entire game and could not keep up with the high powered Buckeyes and it showed on the scoreboard as well as the stands as a packed Memorial Stadium turned into a near empty bowl after halftime. Fans showed out to the game but seeing Indiana fail to keep up with another top team led to the student section nearly gone by the end of the game.

The Hoosiers have competed with the top of the of the conference many times in the past, but the results have not shown for the program breaking through like they want to. This loss was not like ones in the past where Indiana was in it through the end, the Buckeyes entered this game and made a statement from the start.

We’re going to find out the character of our program and where we stand right now. I said today was going to show us a lot. Well, you know what, it wasn’t in the way that I wanted, but we’re still going to find out some things about the Hoosiers.

Head Coach Tom Allen on his program after Saturday’s loss.

Coach Tom Allen will be looking to rally his troops quickly as they have one more non-conference game against UConn next week before they face Big Ten opponents the rest of the way.

Featured Image: IndianaHQ

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