Ohio State vs. Indiana: Live Game Grades and Analysis
The eighth-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes journeyed to Bloomington, Indiana this Saturday night to do battle with the Indiana Hoosiers in a meeting of Big Ten foes that saw the Buckeyes move to 7-0 on the season after claiming a 52-49 win.
The only unbeaten team in the conference, Ohio State has won 17 consecutive matchups in this 100-year-old rivalry dating back to 1988 when Indiana bombed the Bucks, 41-7.
We have provided live game grades and updated analysis throughout the night and will have complete post-game analysis following the contest.
Braxton Miller kept his name in the national conversation about the Heisman Trophy with another strong performance against Indiana. Miller completed 13 of 24 passes for 211 yards and a pair of scores, while running for 149 yards on 23 carries. His 67-yard third-quarter sprint kept the Hoosiers from getting close, but his ill-advised interception in the IU end zone kept Indiana in the game.
Miller hit Devin Smith with a perfect strike for a 60-yard touchdown and threw two other deep balls to Smith that would have been scores if Smith had held on. Miller’s 67-yard run was the fifth run of more than 50 yards in his Buckeye career.
Kenny Guiton ran two plays in relief of Miller when a late hit sidelined him in the third quarter and flipped a shovel pass to Carlos Hyde for his first Buckeye touchdown pass.
Running Backs: A
Carlos Hyde started slowly in the first quarter but picked up the pace in the final three periods to lead a Buckeye ground game that tallied 353 rushing yards. Hyde carried the ball 22 times for 156 yards and a touchdown, and used a nifty move to convert Guiton’s third-quarter shovel pass into a touchdown.
Miller attracted the attention of the Hoosiers defense with his legs in the early going, giving Hyde the chance to make big plays as the game wore on. Hyde gashed the Indiana defense up the middle for big gains, including a 29-yard romp in the third quarter.
Rod Smith added six carries for 40 yards to aid the cause.
Devin Smith had a 100-yard night with a pair of scores, but gave up a possible record-setting night as he dropped two sure scoring bombs from Miller. Smith snared his first touchdown on a 60-yard streak, while he broke three tackles on his way to his second score.
Corey Brown continued to serve as the Buckeyes’ possession receiver, grabbing six passes for 51 yards. Brown also served time in the Ohio State backfield in the first quarter, running at the tailback position on some early option play, converting one toss from Miller into 12-yard run for the Buckeyes’ first score.
Senior Jake Stoneburner set a season high with four catches for 41 yards.
Offensive Line: A-
The Indiana front four did some damage in the first quarter but the offensive line took over soon after, clearing the way for a ground attack that gained 6.5 yards per carry.
The Buckeye coaching staff made some key adjustments at halftime with its blocking schemes as the line cut wide swaths through the Hoosier defense as Ohio State took a lead it would not relinquish.
Defensive Line: B-
The front four of the Buckeyes had precious few moments when it got any pressure on Indiana quarterbacks and failed to register a sack, but was able to control the line of scrimmage for the majority of the game.
Indiana made most of its 129 rushing yards outside the tackles, but the Hoosiers spent most of the evening trying to make their money through the air. Indiana threw the ball on 54 of their 78 plays, and while the front four was able to move the pocket on occasion, Indiana threw the ball unmolested much of the time.
Etienne Sabino missed the game with a broken leg and when senior Storm Klein went down, the Buckeyes inserted fullback Zach Boren into the lineup bolster the linebacking corps. Ryan Shazier was his customary active self, and made a pair of key plays on a third-quarter drive to help hold Indiana to a field goal, when a touchdown would have brought the home team to within seven points.
The defense didn’t blitz much on the evening, allowing the backers to spend most of the game dropping back into pass coverage. Klein got picked while trying to cover the speedy Shawn Wynn, opening the gate for his 76-yard touchdown catch-and-run.
Indiana cost itself some chances early on with a fistful dropped passes, but the secondary was generally up to the task, with only second-string defensive back Doran Grant giving up any deep passes. But the constant barrage of passes allowed Indiana quarterbacks to compile some numbers, gaining 352 yards on their 28 completions, including the aforementioned 76-yards catch-and-run by Shawn Wynn.
The defensive backfield locked down the mercurial Kofi Hughes, who had burned Ohio State for 150 yards receiving a year ago. The Buckeyes failed to get an interception, although Bradley Roby nearly had one and Christian Bryant had one overturned on a video review.
Special Teams: B+
Travis Howard and Bradley Roby turned the tide in the first quarter when Roby recovered Howard’s blocked punt for the touchdown that gave Ohio State a lead that it would never relinquish.
In addition to the blocked punt, the Buckeyes almost got two more blocks on Indiana’s seven punts. The coverage team stopped the Hoosier returners inside the 20-yard line on four occasions, but allowed a 60-yard return to freshman Tevin Coleman late in the second half. The return team was not aggressive enough in stopping Indiana from chasing down a loose ball during an onside kick late in the game as well.
Ben Buchanan averaged 45.7 yards on his three punts while kicker Drew Basil hit a season-long 35-yard field goal, while later missing one from the same distance.
The offensive coaches earned an A throughout the evening, but the defensive side of the ball dropped the grade down with their struggles at the end of the game.
The Buckeyes ramped up the tempo on the offensive side all night, running no-huddle offense and going on quick snaps to throw off the rhythm of the front seven. The introduction of Corey Brown into the backfield in the opening half provided Braxton Miller with another offensive weapon, and the threat Brown posed would pay dividends for most of the night.
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