Ohio State knows not to take Indiana lightly
Who: No. 1 Ohio State vs. Indiana
When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Ohio State vs. Indiana
Spread: Ohio State -21
Matchup to watch: Jordan Howard vs. Ohio State linebackers
The nation’s leading rusher will have his work cut out for him against the Buckeye linebackers. This is strength on strength at its finest. The Buckeyes are allowing less than three yards per carry, but they haven’t had to operate against a back like Howard. His combination of size and speed will be difficult even for future first-rounders to stop. Keep in mind that in last year’s meeting, former IU back Tevin Coleman broke off 228 yards and three touchdowns, which put the Hoosiers ahead in the second half. That was as one-dimensional an offense as there was in college football, yet Ohio State still struggled against the IU line and let Coleman get a head of steam at the second level. They can’t afford to let Howard to the same.
Thing I’m excited to see: The skill of Ohio State’s skill players
Sounds repetitive, right? This game has all the makings of some long, highlight reel plays from the Buckeye skill players. There’s nobody in IU’s secondary that can match the speed of Jalin Marshall. We all saw that last year when he decided to take over that game in the fourth quarter. We should see more action for Braxton Miller, who’s been relatively quiet since the opener. And after watching Michael Thomas humiliate the top cornerback in the country, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him do the same to a less experienced group. As long as Cardale Jones is able to make adjustments on his deep throws, there’s no reason the Buckeyes shouldn’t have a Virginia Tech-like day on offense.
Number to remember: 17
That’s how many years its been since the nation’s No. 1 team strolled into Bloomington. Most of the current students weren’t old enough to even remember that game, which was also against the Buckeyes. Ohio State is used to dominating the IU crowd in Bloomington. That might not be the case this year. A 4-0 start with the No. 1 team in the country coming into town is the perfect storm of hype that IU has been lacking in the Kevin Wilson era. We’re not exactly used to seeing IU play with “crowd momentum.” Against an Ohio State team that’s been prone to slow starts, the Hoosiers would be wise to try and build as much of it as they can early.
Prediction: Ohio State 49, Indiana 31
I think this one follows a similar pattern as last year’s game. IU will find itself trading big plays with the Buckeyes into the second half, then the wheels will fall off. Remember when Urban Meyer said Jones could’ve had a 518-yard game last week had he connected on his deep balls? That might happen this week. The Buckeyes have too many over-the-top weapons for IU to contain for 60 minutes. And without Darius Latham’s pass-rushing skills, Jones will have more time to step into his throws and take advantage of IU’s deficiencies in the secondary. The Buckeyes get an early scare, but ride another one out in convincing fashion.