The Hoosiers have taken care of business, defeating an in-state Ball State team to open the season, and blowing out an FCS opponent by the largest margin of victory at Memorial Stadium. However, now the real Big Ten East gauntlet begins, and the Hoosiers start with arguably the best in the division: the Ohio State Buckeyes.
With solid attendance last season, it will be interesting to see how the Hoosiers handle business in a game where fans are likely to show up in force. Against Ohio State, you can expect a sea of red and Indiana fans are hoping that they out number the contingency from Columbus.
How to Watch: The Indiana Hoosiers versus the Ohio State Buckeyes
|Who||Week 3: Indiana Hoosiers versus the Ohio State Buckeyes|
|When||12:00 pm ET / Saturday, September 14, 2019|
|Where||Memorial Stadium (Bloomington, Indiana)|
|Tickets||Find the Lowest Ticket Prices on SeatGeek|
|Watch||Big Ten Network|
|Listen||IU Radio Network|
|Spread||OSU -16, O/U 60.5|
Meet the Buckeyes
The Ohio State Buckeyes visit Bloomington having outscored their opponents 87-21 in the previous two games. All 21 points given up came from Ohio State’s week one match up against Florida Atlantic. In short, they have completely dominated their first two games behind transfer quarter back Justin Fields.
Coming into the season, the Buckeyes were ranked as the top dog or the runner-up for the Big Ten conference. Many analysts predicted Michigan to be one of the top performing teams. Considering Michigan’s double-overtime win against Army in Ann Arbor, it’s hard to dispute that the Hoosiers are going to be hosting the top team in the Big Ten East division.
New head coach Ryan Day has taken over for one of the most legendary coaches in college football, and so far he has done very well himself. He had a three-game stint last year when Urban Meyer was suspended, and so far things look rosy in Columbus. Ryan Day has head coach experience on the road when the Buckeyes defeated No. 15 TCU last season in “Jerry World.” This match up against Indiana will be his first road Big Ten game as the head coach of the Buckeyes.
Get to Know the Ohio State Buckeyes
Key Offensive Players
On a loaded Ohio State roster, the most prominent name from the offseason has to be Georgia transfer Justin Fields. Fields has completed 38 of 50 total passes for a total of 458 yards and six touchdowns. Fields has ran 21 times across two games and has added three touchdowns via ground mail. On top of all of that, he still has no picks on the season.
Junior running back J. K. Dobbins is the main attraction on the ground averaging 6.1 yards per carry in 2019. In total, he’s already accumulated another 232 yards and he is nearing the 2,700 yard mark in his Ohio State career. He’s backed up by redshirt freshman Master Teague.
Ohio State may have the most experience at the receiver core with seniors K.J. Hill, Binjimen Victor, and Austin Mack. Hill currently leads the team with 11 total receptions and one touch down. Victor leads the team in receiving yards, along with sophomore Chris Olave. With a new quarterback, these wide receivers are all seeking career numbers for 2019.
The tight-end to watch out for is sophomore Jeremy Ruckert. The 6-foot-5, 250 pound New York native has found the end zone twice this season. He has impressive abilities on both pass protection as well as route running.
Key Defensive Players
Senior linebacker Malik Harrison has a had a great start to his last year in Columbus. He is one of three players in double-digit tackles on the season (10) and he currently leads the team with the most tackles for loss (4.5). He’s supported at the linebacker position by juniors Pete Werner and Baron Browning. Across two games, Ohio State has given up an average of less than 65 yards per game.
Chase Young leads the team in sacks. The 6-foot-5 defensive end is one of the most dangerous players in the Big Ten on the defensive line now that the Bosa brothers are finally out of the Big Ten. Tyler Friday, who plays on the other end has been out due to an undefined ailment.
Michael Penix is going to be throwing into a very tough secondary with Jordan Fuller, the team’s leading tackler, and Jeff Okudah in the middle of coverage. Both upperclassmen have double digit tackles on the season. In two games, Ohio State has given up an average of 186 yards. Despite a highly guarded backfield, expect Indiana to test their luck in the air as a key to victory.
Week 3: What to watch for against the Ohio State Buckeyes
1. Can Penix Handle the Pressure of a Top Defense?
Michael Penix has been described as a calm and collected quarterback. In the pocket, he’s so far showed the same type of ability to remain cool under pressure. Among Indiana’s quarterbacks, Penix is as good as any in terms of not getting flustered on pass rushes. However, now the Hoosiers get to face a sizable team like Ohio State. Each one of Ohio State’s defense linemen weigh at a minimum of 260 pounds.
The key to winning the game for the Hoosiers is to be effective in the passing game, which is a lot of pressure for a quarterback, especially considering he is only a redshirt freshman. Can Penix step up his performance on a big game day?
Update September 12: Given Indiana’s starting quarterback may be in question, the Hoosiers are looking to take advantage of the deeper quarterback room with Ramsey potentially getting the nod on Saturday morning. We’ll know more as we get closer to game day.
2. Newly revealed offensive schemes
Two foundation-layings games were a helpful start for the Hoosiers, but now it’s time to see what Kalen DeBoer can bring to the table. The Hoosiers have already opened up the playbook with deeper throwing and cadence trickery. With the offense in a more comfortable position, can the begin to execute more complex plays and sets? For a game like Ohio State, Indiana needs to bring it all out. Expect new sets that have never been seen before to be used this Saturday and Indiana to specifically work in a few new plays during this week’s practice.
3. Potential as a program-changing victory for Tom Allen
What an opportunity Tom Allen has before him. Indiana arguably has one of the more talented teams. There’s a ton of buzz around the new starting quarterback, and with alcohol sales ready and a decent showing at the first half of the Eastern Illinois game, there is momentum that Indiana football can ride.
A victory over Ohio State would be the first in thirty years and the Hoosiers could genuinely be looking at breaking the coldest AP ranking streak among Power Five teams. There’s a strange feeling in the air and Tom Allen is going to be one anxious coach leading up to Saturday, but this game could truly be program-changing. That being said, the road is extremely tough. Ohio State is one of the highest ranked teams in the nation for a reason.
4. The Hoosiers’ ability to keep gas in the tank until the very end
Historically in the last countable number of seasons, the Hoosiers have generally tapered off in the second half. Despite their best efforts in the first half, where they often keep the game at just one possession into the halftime intermission, Indiana football has not been able to “breakthrough” and finally take a signature win. The Hoosiers have above-average depth relative to the past few seasons. We saw this just last Saturday against an Eastern Illinois team where the Hoosiers have very serviceable second-string and even third-string players in some positions. We’ll keep a close eye on the amount of “huffing and puffing” we see on the field in the fourth.
5. Pounding into the Ohio State brick wall
Ohio State has been highly effective in slowing down the run in the first two games, and the Hoosiers have simply not been as successful as the previous years. As mentioned, the Buckeyes have allowed an average of less than 65 yards per game in the first two contests of the season. Indiana, on the other hand, has rushed around 130 yards per game against a MAC team and an FCS team. You might see a couple of designed plays for Penix to rush; however, the Hoosiers have to be successful in the air if they are interested in moving onto 3-0.
Week 3: Indiana Hoosiers versus Ohio State Buckeyes Predictions
45-27 Ohio State. Indiana starts off hot but then OSU takes over in the second half. Defensively, Indiana cannot stop the duo of Fields and Dobbins as the Buckeye offense runs through the Indiana defense. Offense shows bright spots but can’t keep up in the end.Andrew Rude
35-31 Ohio State. Despite being backed by a big home crowd in Bloomington, the Hoosiers let go of a number of early touchdowns that create a chase-situation for the rest of the game. Hoosiers will have a dramatic push until the very end, but Ohio State ultimately hangs onto a lead that was built in the first half.Rob Jiang
41-28 Ohio State. Indiana has a solid game offensively and keeps things interesting through 3 quarters. But J. K. Dobbins runs wild and the Buckeyes offense (led by Kevin Wilson) proves to be too much for the Hoosiers.Dakota Thompson
24-14 Ohio State. Early season wall will hit both teams and I predict this will not be much of a high scoring game. Indiana will move the ball at a decent pace, but won’t be able to find the end zone very much. Defense will play well, as they usually do against OSU, until part-way through the 3rd quarter and OSU’s depth will take over on both sides of the ball. Indiana is much deeper this year, but OSU is always deep and will end up prevailing in a game that Indiana will never be out of it.Noah Freeman
44-32 Ohio State. OSU offense has looked great through the first two weeks. Justin Fields is a player you can’t mimic in practice so the IU defense has their hands full. OSU defense has also looked solid and that means Penix is facing his biggest test of his career. IU is out matched talent wise but should keep this close and uncomfortable for a superior OSU team through 3 quarters. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an upset but I think the Hoosiers are a year or two away from a serious shot.Matt Lukens
Featured Photo: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images