This was an odd game to say the least. Ohio State had three rushers go over one hundred yards and the game was still competitive in the middle of the fourth quarter. Indiana did a great job coming out of the gates with energy and jumped out to a 10-0 lead. The Buckeyes bounced back as their running game steamrolled Indiana en route to a 34-20 victory.
For their part, Indiana went down swinging.
Tre Roberson had an impressive performance. Until late in the game, he didn’t seem phased by the Silver Bullets and made great plays on the ground and through the air. He showed terrific poise and like Braxton Miller should have a promising career.
Like Roberson, Braxton made plays with his arm and legs. He did a good job taking what the defense gave him. Miller also showed toughness by staying the pocket just long enough to get off the pass. He’s continuing to exhibit growth and if he can remain healthy, he should have an excellent end to the season.
The difference in the game was Ohio State’s rushing attack.
The Buckeyes finished with 401 total yards, of which 346 were rushing. Dan “Boom” Herron, Carlos Hyde and Braxton Miller each finished with over 100 rushing yards. It was the first time Ohio State had three players with 100+ yard games since 1989.
On the other side of the ball, the Silver Bullets employed the bend but not break philosophy.
A week after holding Wisconsin’s running game to just 89 yards, the Buckeyes allowed 159 yards on the ground to the Hoosiers. This in turn opened up the passing game and allowed Indiana to make big plays through the air. The mental collapses in the secondary coupled with the Buckeyes inability to stop Indiana’s run game, kept the Hoosiers in it.
The defense was able to recover late and rectify some of their wrongs.
The Buckeyes shut down Indiana on their last two series. Travis Howard came up with a big interception and the defensive line pressured Roberson on Indiana’s last series. Even after giving up big plays, it was good to see this unit recover and make big stops at the end of the game.
Though the Buckeyes won’t win style points, they executed well enough to win. They must now focus on improving, as their slate won’t become any easier.
One thing Ohio State must do is start games better. Too many times this year they have come out of the gate flat and eventually this could cost them big.
Moreover, as well as the defense has played, they continue to give up too many big plays, especially in the secondary. Even with many new faces on this unit, they have had enough game experience to know what is coming at them.
Even with their weaknesses, there’s no denying Ohio State has potential.
This is an incredibly young, but talented team. If they can eliminate these mental mistakes there isn’t a team remaining on their schedule that can beat them. The focus next week needs to be on playing a more complete game with fewer mistakes. If they can, they will be one-step closer to potentially playing for the Big Ten title.
Feel free to contact Sean with any questions or comments.