Indiana @ Ohio State football reports and analysis from Andy Graham

PREGAME — Currently viewing the Buckeye band’s celebrated Script Ohio, after the Indiana Marching Hundred drew rousing applause for a particularly spirited rendition of “Sing, Sing, Sing.” If the football teams are as good as the bands today, it could be fun.

Ohio State is, of course, a big favorite today, but the game could be interesting for several reasons, not the least of which is that both teams start true freshmen quarterbacks. OSU’s Braxton Miller is coming off some last-second heroics that keyed the Buckeyes’ upset win over Wisconsin. Indiana’s Tre Roberson has shown admirable poise and presence in his first two starts, at Iowa and last week’s homecoming game against Northwestern. But he and the Hoosiers haven’t tasted victory since the South Carolina State game and today are facing, pretty much unquestionably, their sternest test of the season to-date.

As always, I’ll provide scoring updates and commentary below the fold. Thanks for checking in.

FIRST QUARTER

Indiana 3, Ohio State 0 (10:47). After the opening kickoff went out of bounds, setting IU up on its 40, the Hoosiers moved smartly downfield before bogging down on the OSU 18. Mitch Ewald split the uprights from 35-yards out. A tackle-for-loss by All-American candidate defensive tackle John Simon thwarted the drive, on which Stephen Houston and Tre Roberson had some solid runs, and Roberson converted a third down with a fine slant pass, caught under duress by Jamonne Chester. Indiana went 42 yards in 11 plays to open the scoring.

Big play by the IU defense. Bobby Richardson stripped Braxton Miller, who held the ball too long in the pocket, and Jeff Thomas recovered at the Buckeye 41.

Indiana 10, Ohio State 0 (7:17). The Hoosier offense capitalized on the defense’s takeaway, with a TD drive keyed by a very nifty quarterback draw by Roberson on 3rd-and-6 that carried 16 yards to the OSU 5. Houston lined up in the shotgun and took a direct snap to score on the next play, going right up the gut basically unscathed.

Of course, you don’t really necessary want to make the Buckeyes mad.

Indiana 10, Ohio State 7 (5:58). On a 2nd-and-12, Braxton Miller took off on a quarterback draw right up the middle and no IU defenders ever really got a decent shot at him. Great blocking. And Miller showcased some real giddy-up in zooming 81 yards. It was the sixth-longest scoring run in OSU history and the longest ever by a quarterback.

A first for me in over 50 years of watching football. Malfunctioning chains marking the down and distance have prompted an official timeout. This game has already been entertaining in some relatively unexpected ways. OSU had a 136-92 edge in total offense for the opening quarter, due primarily to Miller’s big TD run. Tre Roberson went 3 of 6 in the air for 25 yards and rushed 4 times for 32.

SECOND QUARTER

Indiana 10, Ohio State 10 (14:07). OSU moved 40 yards in 10 plays, in fits and starts, to get a tying 36-yard field goal by Drew Basil. Indiana lived by the blitz, then died by it during the drive. After a red-dogging Chase Hoobler nailed Miller for a 9-yard sack, creating a 3rd-and-19, Indiana called an all-out safety blitz, leaving Kenny Mullen 1-on-1 with Chris Fields, who caught a 26-yarder over the middle to the IU 42. Another blitz didn’t come home in time to prevent a 25-yard completion to fullback Zach Boren, who slipped out of the backfield and took the ball to the Hoosier 18,

IU’s next drive, on which the option play looked promising, died via a big sack of Roberson by OSU junior John Simon. If there is a better defensive lineman in the nation than Simon, I’d like to see him. I like him even better than all those SEC dudes. The guy has a non-stop motor.

Ohio State 13, Indiana 10 (8:43): “Boooooooom!” went the crowd after Dan “Boom” Herron burst for 48 yards through a narrow crease off left tackle. Leon Beckum tried to fill the hole but got blocked in the back. But the IU defense then stiffened, with Jeff Thomas supplying a great open-field tackle of Herron on a swing pass on third down, prompting a 45-yard field goal by Basil for the first Buckeye lead of the day.

Indiana 13, Ohio State 13 (4:40). IU responds with a 11 play, 72-yard game-tying drive, keyed by a 43-yard bomb on a post pattern from Roberson to Kofi Hughes, who made the catch despite an interference call on OSU’s Christian Bryant. Hoosiers are hanging tough so far.

IU had some very unusual strategy at the end of the half. The Hoosiers used a timeout to set up a 3rd-and-5 call with a minute to play, then called another timeout, for whatever reason. Then, after Roberson hit Hughes with a nice gain for 14 yards and Roberson scrambled for a yard to get to the IU 40, Kevin Wilson seemed content to let the second quarter clock expire, then called timeout with a second left to then have Roberson take a knee. Maybe the play clock was going to run out or something. Strange, though, and not necessarily a vote of confidence for your team.

HALFTIME: INDIANA 13, OHIO STATE 13

The stats reflect the score. IU has 193 yards of total offense and OSU has 187. The Buckeyes get the ball to start the second half.

THIRD QUARTER:

Ohio State 20, Indiana 13 (10:05). After IU safety Alex Webb’s interception at the Hoosier 2 thwarted the first drive of the second half by OSU, the Buckeyes got the ball back after a punt to the Hoosier 48. Cornerback Michael Hunter and Webb then took bad angles on runs by Miller and Herron, respectively, the latter a 15-yard TD to give the Buckeyes their biggest lead of the day. Indiana continues to play aggressively but inexperience is still evident at times.

Indiana 20, Ohio State 20 (6:56): We very much do have a ballgame, now, folks. Indiana’s offense responded to the OSU TD with a 7 play, 64-yard TD drive capped by a 34-yard scoring pass from Roberson to a wide-open Hughes up the seam off play action.

I don’t think OSU has tried throwing at Greg Heban once all day. It’s always at the opposite corner.

But the Buckeye offensive line is starting to take control this half a bit.

Ohio native Chase Hoobler is having himself a ballgame for the Hoosiers at linebacker.

Ohio State 27, Indiana 20 (0:09). Another blitz on a 3rd-and-long, another quarterback draw, another TD run by Braxton Miller. This time it was on a 3rd-and-goal from the 20 after a great sack for -12 by Leon Beckum. But it was feast or famine for the defense. Miller went right up the middle on the next play, faked out Mark Murphy at around the 10 and cruised in. That capped a 13-play, 80-yard drive that took 6:47 off the clock. And it produced seven points instead of three.

Still, the Hoosiers are within a touchdown, at the Horseshoe, with a quarter to play.

FOURTH QUARTER:

Hoosiers blow a chance to score off a nice drive that reached a 2nd-and-3 at the OSU 12. But a false start on Justin Pagan (playing right tackle now after Eckert’s earlier injury), then an abortive keep play, a dropped pass by Ted Bolser, another false start on Pagan and a missed 40-yard field goal attempt, sent wide-left by Mitch Ewald, ensued. Not a positive development regarding IU’s upset chances. OSU takes over at its own 23 with 9:11 to play, up 7.

Chase Hoobler and Alex Webb unload back-to-back huge hits on Braxton Miller, the first a 7-yard sack and the second a huge blow on an incompletion. Miller was shaken up and OSU had to punt, with IU taking over at its 28 with 5:49 to play.

Perhaps do-or-die for IU’s offense now. It has moved the ball well most of the day, and needs to now. The defense stepped up to give it a chance.

But after a big 18 yard pass on third down to Hughes and a 12 yard scramble to get IU to the Buckeye 44, Travis Howard broke back to brilliantly intercept a Roberson pass with 4:07 to play.

And 2 snaps later, Carlos Hyde burst free for a 47-yard gallop to the IU 7, essentially clinching the game. Any kind of Buckeye score here will ice it, with just 2:44 remaining.

Ohio State 34, Indiana 20 (2:41). And the upset dream dies. But it died hard. IU still very much had a chance, in OSU territory, before Howard’s huge interception. Had the Hoosiers managed to get the game to OT, obviously, anything could have happened. IU’s defense still is allowing too many big plays, but fought hard all day and the Hoosiers showed promise, overall. This might not be quite a vintage OSU team, but still an immensely talented one, and this was a pretty gallant effort today by Indiana.

 

9 comments

  1. Usually it is a “well the game wasn’t as close as the score makes it look like” but instead I think, this time we can honestly say, ” it WAS a lot closer than the score makes it look”. When it is pretty much a total rebuild job you start by looking to see if there are improvements and I think we can say that, while this game goes in the record book as a loss, we can also say that we have seen some improvement over how it went in the last 3 or 4 games.

    When you’re really young making even small steps can be the type of things that lead to really big steps.

  2. Agree, today they played hard, and had a much better team effort. They looked prepared and ready to play, and Tre and Kofi looked great. Thought both lines played their best games so far…

  3. Yep, the improvement in line play was impressive. I’m not saying it was great but, man oh man, it was certainly better. First time I’ve seen a pass rush all year, of course a lot of that was coming off the corner, but it all fit together. I thought the coaches on both sides of the ball did a nice job of putting the players in a position to succeed. Considering the number of freshmen we are playing, I think the coaching staff did a great job today.

  4. Lots of distance between the 1st 4 games and this one. Improvement is advancing because the staff now is getting authentic effort. The program is in good hands.

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  6. Don’t really care since the players union wants more than half the profit. These cats don’t realize that if these scout did more research, there would be more attention of other talents. It’s a shame how these players are crying about 3%, rather watch college ball, will see more game action versus players reaction.

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