The Ohio State Buckeyes (6-0, 2-0), hot off an impressive 62-38 win at home against the Nebraska Cornhuskers, travel to Bloomington this weekend to take on the Indiana Hoosiers in a crucial game. Despite struggling at times through their first five games, the Buckeyes carry an undefeated record into the conference clash.
The Hoosiers, the annual doormat of the Big 10, gave the No. 20 Michigan State Spartans quite a scare last Saturday afternoon before the Spartans were able to pull out the win. Indiana is looking to finish this week against the Buckeyes and topple the No. 8 team in the nation.
The Indiana offense proved last week that they can move the football at times and the Buckeye defense will have to step it up this weekend to make sure they can walk away with a win.
Offensively the Buckeyes will look to see if Carlos Hyde can step up again this week in Bloomington after breaking out last week.
Here's a look at five Buckeyes who need to impress coach Urban Meyer this week.
Hyde was one of the Buckeyes' most dominant players last weekend against the Cornhuskers, putting up impressive numbers on his way to a four-touchdown night (28 carries, 140 yards). The junior running back will have to focus on his ball security this week, as a fourth-quarter fumble put a small blemish on his otherwise strong performance.
Other than ball protection, Hyde needs to use his size to rumble through the Indiana defensive line if he wants to continue to have his number called in Columbus.
He provides an off-speed option to Braxton Miller's blazing speed out of the backfield, but if he cannot hang on to the ball for an entire game, his playing time might be diminished after this week.
When Urban Meyer reinstated linebacker Storm Klein after domestic violence charges were dropped, the question still remained whether or not the senior would actually see much of the field this season.
As the Buckeyes roll into Bloomington, Klein will not only be seeing the field, but may hardly leave it. With injuries and inexperience plaguing the OSU linebacker corps, coach Urban Meyer is going to look to Klein to help contain a Hoosier passing attack that torched the Spartans for 282 yards and three touchdowns.
The heart of the Buckeye defense this weekend, Klein will get his chance to shine fully over the course of the next few weeks, as the Buckeyes really do not have many other options at the position.
Marcus is another linebacker that comes into the game with something to prove. A freshman out of Durham, N.C., he has seen playing time in all six games this season, but only totaled six tackles.
With injuries to the Buckeyes linebackers, Marcus is finally getting his chance to shine. A highly touted linebacker out of high school, he finally has his opportunity to impress coach Urban Meyer this weekend.
If he is able to impress Meyer, Marcus could be earning his way into a starting position for the remainder of his Buckeye career.
The speedy Buckeye wideout is currently second on the team in receiving, but still has a lot of untapped potential. Smith has been the Buckeyes' primary option in clutch situations this season.
Smith's phenomenal catch earlier in the season has been mentioned as a possibility for catch of the year, and he always presents big-play potential. He has sputtered at times so far this season, however, and needs to continue to elevate his play throughout the year.
Smith cannot afford to take games off against weaker opponents; otherwise Meyer may start to take opportunities away.
The sophomore defensive back from Suwanee, Ga. will have a challenge on his hands as he attempts to shut down a Hoosiers passing attack that has been effective and sometimes scary this season.
Roby had a big impact last weekend, as his two-interception game against the Huskers helped in the Buckeyes' rout of Nebraska. The Buckeye secondary has been good so far this season, but Roby and the defensive backfield will have additional pressure with the weakness of the linebackers.
For a second straight week, Roby will need to make a statement for the Buckeyes if they hope to quiet a hot Hoosier quarterback