Rapid Reaction: Ranks thinning for Buckeyes, but Ohio State handles Indiana easily
Stop us if you’ve heard this pair of stories before. Ohio State won easily — and the Buckeyes suffered an injury to a significant skill player.
On an blustery, wintery day in Columbus, the Buckeyes jumped out early and rolled to a 56-14 victory against overmatched visitor Indiana. But late in the second quarter, Miyan Williams — the feature back in Ohio State’s offense because of lingering injury issues with TreVeyon Henderson — was taken off the field with an injury that sidelined him for the rest of the day.
That concern aside, Ohio State scarcely missed a beat.
CJ Stroud — coming off his worst passing game at Ohio State in an even more wintry day last weekend at Northwestern — might have been impacted a bit by the weather, but he rebounded with 5 touchdown passes and 290 yards passing.
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Without Henderson, Miyan Williams rushed for 147 yards on 15 carries before his own injury. Jaxon Smith-Njigba was out again due to injury, but Marvin Harrison topped 100 receiving yards by halftime and made an acrobatic second quarter grab that looked like something from The Matrix as he twisted to get a foot in bounds.
The game opened with an exchange of punts before Ohio State struck on its second possession. The 6-play, 65-yard march included a 32-yard run by Williams and ended with a 6-yard pass from Stroud to Emeka Egbuka. The extra point made it 7-0 Buckeyes with 9:42 left in the first quarter.
After a 3-and-out, the Buckeyes struck again, going 78 yards in 8 plays, finishing with a 14-yard run by freshman running back Dallan Hayden, who has climbed from 3rd to 1st on the OSU running back depth chart due to injuries. Another quick 3-and-out was followed by Stroud connecting with Harrison on a 58-yard bomb. The extra point made it 21-0 with 2:37 still left in the first quarter.
Indiana then answered with a 75-yard, 6-play drive, including a 49-yard pass from QB Dexter Williams II to Andison Coby. Williams found AJ Barner from 7 yards away for the score. Indiana trimmed the Ohio State edge to 21-7 with 4 seconds remaining in the opening stanza.
Ohio State extended the lead on a 3-play drive, with most of the ground covered on a 48-yard run by Williams for the score. Noah Ruggles’ extra point made it 28-7 with 10:41 left in the half. Late in the half, each team failed to capitalize on scoring chances, with Ohio State failing to convert a 4th-and-1 run from the IU 17, and Indiana driving to the OSU 29 before a pair of sacks ended the half. Add in the injury to Williams and it was a less than inspiring end to the half for Ohio State.
After intermission, the Buckeyes opened up their lead. Lathan Ransom blocked an Indiana punt, which was recovered by Xavier Johnson at the IU 2-yard line. On the second play following, Stroud his Cade Stover for a 1-yard score to stretch the edge to 35-7 with 9:33 left in the quarter. Later in the quarter, Ohio State had a 52-yard drive on a trio of Stroud passes, the third being a 12-yard scoring strike to Stover. Ohio State led 42-7 with 7:38 still in the third quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter, Xavier Johnson broke a 71-yard rush to extend the OSU edge to 49-7. After a fumbled punt return by Ohio State, Indiana scored on an 18-yard pass from Williams to Donaven McCulley with 12:03 to play. Ohio State followed with a 1-yard pass from Stroud to Kamryn Babb that stretched the lead to 56-14 with 8:49 left in the game.
Ohio State moves to 10-0 on the season and will travel to Maryland next week. Indiana falls to 3-7, clinching a losing season ahead of a trip to Michigan State next week.