Ohio State vs. Indiana: Buckeyes Are Playing with Fire with Porous Defense

Adam JacobiCorrespondent IIINovember 2, 2016

BLOOMINGTON, IN - OCTOBER 13:  Nick Stoner #14 of the Indiana Hoosiers reaches to catch the ball during the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Memorial Stadium on October 13, 2012 in Bloomington, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Where in the world do you start with that Ohio State-Indiana game? Do you start with the finish, with the Hoosiers missing an onside kick with a minute to play after a furious rally brought them within three points?

Do you start with the 101 total points scored, the 1,059 yards gained, the 54 first downs and the two blocked punts? Do you start with Braxton Miller sprinting closer to Geno Smith in a rapidly tightening Heisman race?

Seriously, where do you start?

Let's talk about what to take away from this game. Because just as important as the 52 points from Saturday and the 63 points from last week that Ohio State put on the board are the 49 points from Saturday and the 38 points from last week that Ohio State let on the board.

That's on Ohio State's defense exclusively; only three of the 11 touchdown drives the Ohio State defense ceded over the last two weeks started in Buckeye territory, and one was from the 48 after Indiana's onside kick; that drive took all of 35 seconds to turn into six points for the Hoosiers.

And it's fine if Ohio State is averaging 57.5 points per game while it's allowing touchdowns left and right. It was also fine for West Virginia when the Mountaineers were winning games to the tune of 70-63 and 48-45.

But good offenses have bad days far more often than bad defenses have good days, and as of right now, that Ohio State defense is not exactly good.

Hey, the pizza boy was right.

Of course, Ohio State has defensive talent. A lot of it, even. Bradley Roby is a ballhawk at cornerback, we've sung the praises of the defensive line repeatedly and the safety duo of Christian Bryant and J.T. Barnett is starting to play at a high level.

But for whatever reason—complacency with a big lead, inexperience, whatever—the Ohio State defense gives up yardage at a rate that utterly belies its talent level. The Buckeyes were 60th in the nation in total defense coming into the game at 386 yards per game. Then Indiana dropped 481 yards on the Buckeyes, and all of a sudden this is a problem.

Urban Meyer knows all this. So do most Ohio State fans. Just as Michael Felder showed earlier this week, you can't be the best team in the nation on offense alone. It just doesn't work that way. And while Ohio State won't be challenging for a title this year—not with that schedule—it can challenge for a 12-0 record to show for its season at the very least.

But to do that, the defense needs to be... well, it just needs to be better. A lot better.