It was a tale of two halves in Bloomington tonight, as the Buckeyes pulled out a 49-21 victory. Things started out promising as Ohio State moved down the field relatively quickly before stalling out inside the 10 yard line and settling for the field goal. Indiana then took it straight down the field and took the lead on a Richard Lagow to Ian Thomas pass. The teams then traded punts over the next several drives before the Buckeyes brought it back within 1 with another field goal. Lagow found Simmie Cobbs for a touchdown on the ensuing Indiana drive and OSU capped of the first half scoring with an Antonio Williams touchdown.
Indiana was moving the ball pretty handily during the first half, and the Buckeyes were unable to make adjustments thanks to the Hoosiers’ fast pace. Lagow finished the game with 410 passing yards and 3 touchdowns. He looked particularly sharp in the first half, getting the ball out quickly and not allowing the Buckeye defense to get much pressure on him. Cobbs looked very impressive at receiver for IU, including some spectacular one-handed grabs. It’s safe to say that Cobbs will be playing on Sundays in the near future.
Things took a dramatic turn in the second half as Ohio State showed why they’re the #2 ranked team in the country. The Buckeyes scored on 5 of their 7 second half possessions, and should have had a 6th if not for a dropped pass in the end zone by Parris Campbell. Campbell more than made up for it by scampering to a 74-yard score on a slant from Barrett later in the half. Barrett shared the wealth, hitting 3 different receivers for touchdowns in the second half, while running for one himself as well.
By contrast, the Hoosiers only managed one second half score, and had 4 three-and-outs against the the Buckeyes defense. Ohio State’s second half adjustments worked wonders. The secondary switched up coverages, preventing Lagow from picking them apart like he did in the first half and allowing the front 4 to get some pressure on the quarterback. Ohio State ended the game with 5 sacks, including two by Tyquan Lewis and one by Nick Bosa.
Probably the most impressive performance of the night was by Buckeyes’ true freshman running back JK Dobbins. Thrusted into the starting position due to a lingering hamstring injury for Mike Weber, Dobbins only managed to set an OSU record for most rushing yards by a true freshman running back in his debut. Dobbins finished with 181 yards on 29 carries. He failed to reach the end zone as his potential scoring opportunities were sniped by Antonio Williams, but he showed exactly why Buckeyes fans need to be excited about this kid’s future. He may not have stolen the starting job from Weber just yet, but it’s clear that Ohio State will have to make him a significant part of the offense going forward.
The Buckeyes now have 9 days to prepare for a visit from the Oklahoma Sooners. Don’t expect a blowout like last year’s matchup in Norman. Heisman hopeful Baker Mayfield will be looking to exact some revenge and first year head coach Lincoln Riley will be looking for his first big statement win. This game may very well have playoff implications, so expect a battle in Ohio State’s home opener.