BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Watching scary movies is a popular tradition this time of the year. The horror show that took place at Memorial Stadium will give Tom Allen nightmares for a while.
In the first home primetime ABC showcase event in program history, the Hoosiers (2-5, 0-4 B1G) failed in every aspect of the game, falling 54-7 to No. 5 Ohio State (6-1, 4-0 B1G).
In front of a sell-out crowd, Indiana looked like they may test Ohio State and put together an upset bid like other unranked teams did this week. Illinois and Appalachian State succeeded in their attempts against No. 9 Penn State and No. 14 Coastal Carolina, respectively. Kansas held a halftime lead vs. No. 3 Oklahoma, Tennessee made a game of it at No. 4 Alabama, and Navy made No. 2 Cincinnati sweat.
IU won the toss and deferred, and even though OSU cashed in on their opening drive, Jack Tuttle and the Hoosiers responded with one of their own. Peyton Hendershot hauled in three passes, including one in the back of the end zone, to bring the Hoosiers even at seven. Hendershot finished with five receptions and 35 yards.
However, celebrations of that play were limited due to Tuttle suffering an injury as he released the pass. It’s unclear what part of the body Tuttle hurt, but he needed medical assistance and went to the locker room. Tuttle returned to the game for a play in the second quarter, but Donaven McCulley and walk-on Grant Gremel split every other QB rep after the IU touchdown.
After the Hoosiers tied the game, things quickly spiraled out of control.
Indiana’s defense, who had played inspiring, tenacious football all year, had zero answers against the top-ranked offense in the country. On the first play of the ensuing drive, Stroud delivered a spectacular pass over the middle to Jaxon Smith-Njigba that fit snugly between three Hoosier defenders.
Stroud then connected with Garrett Wilson for 21 yards on a 3rd-and-9 at the IU 42, and future Heisman contender TreVeyon Henderson waltzed into the end zone to put OSU up 14-7. Those three plays seemed to break IU’s spirit on Saturday night.
On the following series, McCulley slipped in the backfield and threw two incompletions. After a poorly-hit punt, OSU started at their own 49 and needed just six plays to find the end zone again, through Henderson once more.
It was always going to be a tall task for IU to win this game, but sloppy, avoidable mistakes repeatedly occurred in the first half. In addition to McCulley slipping and Evans mis-hitting a punt to midfield, IU gave up a safety when a snap went through the hands of Jared Smolar on a punt attempt from his own end zone. The Hoosiers dug their own grave even further with lazy tackling on the ensuing kickoff, and OSU six more plays to go up 30-7. This time, it was Chris Olave finding paydirt.
The beat continued. Indiana went three-and-out, OSU scored a touchdown. Henderson had his third. Indiana went three-and-out once more. Ohio State found the end zone again, through Jeremy Ruckert.
Nothing got better for Indiana after halftime. Playing from behind, the Hoosiers mustered 74 yards of total offense after the break. In fact, after going 75 yards to start the game, the Hoosiers only tallied 53 total yards the rest of the way. OC Nick Sheridan did not help assuage any concerns about play-calling tonight, as his counterpart on the other end, Kevin Wilson, found ways to work with Ryan Day to scheme up open receivers all night, beyond the impressive talent level the Buckeyes possess.
After the results of the day, it’s hard to see how this Ohio State team finds itself outside of the top four in Sunday’s AP poll. On the other hand, the Hoosiers have to find a way to regather and head into a major clash next week to salvage their bowl hopes.
Next Up: Trick-or-Treat with the Terrapins
After a brutal stretch of four top-ten opponents in five games, IU heads to College Park, to take on the 4-3 Maryland Terrapins. Maryland is on a three-game losing streak and lost at Minnesota 34-16 on Saturday. IU is 5-2 against Maryland since the Terrapins joined the Big Ten in 2014. The game will kick off at noon ET on BTN.
Featured Photo: IndianaHQ (Collin Ebel)