It wasn’t always pretty. At times, it wasn’t very promising. But after another solid performance from Braxton Miller, it was the Ohio State Buckeyes moving to 7-0 with a 52-49 victory over the Hoosiers on the road, despite a late comeback push from Indiana, who scored with 1:40 to play.
They would then get the ball back on a controversial official’s review and Stephen Houston would score on a late TD pass from Nate Sudfeld, but the Buckeyes would get the ball back to end what was yet another defensive struggle against a spread, hurry up offense.
The Silver Bullets were dogged in the aerial game, as the Hoosiers put the ball in the air 54 times, completing 28 of those attempts for a total of 352 yards. Senior Fullback turned linebacker Zach Boren led the team in tackles, as Ohio State struggled to stop the big play.
Stephen Houston scored on a 59 yard run to answer back in the first quarter after the Buckeyes scored 10 points on their first two drives. Cameron Coffman would connect later with Shane Wynn for a 76 yard touchdown score. The Hoosiers would also have scoring plays of 12 and 25 yards through the air.
Ohio State would score on big plays of their own.
The Scarlet Assassins took a ten point lead early on a 12 yard pitch to Corey Brown halfway through the first. Drew Basil would add a 35 yard field goal on the next drive to take the early 10 point lead. Braxton Miller would open up the game offensively in the second with one of his best passes of the season – a 60 yard lead pass to Devin Smith in stride to give the Buckeyes a two possession lead heading into the locker room.
Miller would then burst out of the gates in the third with a 67 yard touchdown run. After getting past the defensive line, #5 hit the NOS button and shot out of a cannon and past the Indiana secondary in the middle of the field for six. The Heisman candidate went 13/24 for 211 yards and ran the ball 23 times for a total of 149 yards. He was the true catalyst on the field, as he has been for most of the season.
Carlos Hyde finished with 22 carries and a total of 156 yards. The junior back averaged seven yards per carry. He would score on a beautiful shovel pass from Kenny Guiton late in the third, and punched in six more points at the start of the fourth from one yard out to cap off a 10 play 78 yard drive.
Special teams yet again played a huge factor.
Isaiah Roundtree got a handle on a Ben Buchanan punt in the first, but the Hoosiers wouldn’t capitalize on the turnover. In the second quarter though, Travis Howard would dive into a Erich Toth punt deep inside Indiana territory. Brad Roby would jump on the football in the end zone for an automatic six points.
Penalties again were a factor, as Ohio State finished with a total of 91 penalty yards on ten yellow flags, the majority being false start issues on the offensive line. One of the tales of the game were time of possession. The Buckeyes controlled the clock, and only turned over the football once. Yet the big play kept Indiana in the ball game all the way to the end of the horn.
You can say what you like about the game and how Ohio State didn’t perform up to standards. Part of the equation though is that Indiana finally has some play makers that can make ballgames interesting.
After the game, Urban Meyer addressed the defensive struggles the team has had against the spread offense and that he plans to get more involved on the defensive side of the ball this week.
The Buckeyes will take on Purdue at Noon Eastern next Saturday at Ohio Stadium.