Game Five: Indiana Hoosiers
Location: Memorial Stadium (Bloomington, IN) 7pm EST, The Big Ten Network
Head Coach: Bill Lynch
Indiana Players Who Were Recruited By Ohio State: N/A. While there are a number of players from the state of Ohio on Indiana's roster, none of these players were offered a scholarship by Ohio State.
Indiana Rushing Offense vs Ohio State Defense: Indiana ranks 6th in The Big Ten in rushing offense at nearly 167 yards per game, while Ohio State's rushing defense ranks 3rd in The Big Ten at allowing 110 yards per game. Indiana's leading rushers are Demetrius McCray and Darius Willis. Willis had a long touchdown run last weekend against Michigan that temporarily regained the lead for Indiana.
Indiana's first four opponents this season have been FCS school Eastern Kentucky, Western Michigan, Akron, and Michigan. While all of those are respectable programs, Ohio State has faced Navy, USC, Toledo, and Illinois in its first four contests. I believe Ohio State gets the solid edge in being able to slow down Indiana's rushing game.
Edge: Ohio State
Indiana Passing Offense vs Ohio State Defense: Indiana's passing offense ranks 9th in The Big Ten, while Ohio State's pass defense ranks 2nd statistically. Indiana was able to throw for 270 yards last week against Michigan. Ohio State will be without senior safety and tri-captain Kurt Coleman due to Big Ten suspension.
Indiana's passing game is led by QB Ben Chappell and WR Tandon Doss. Doss is having a solid year, with 26 receptions so far this season. Look for Ohio State to match up Doss with CB Chimdi Chekwa.
Chappell is a traditional drop-back quarterback, with only average mobility. Considering Ohio State was able to effectively pressure Illinois QB Juice Williams last week, this could make for a long night for Indiana offensively if Indiana cannot negate Ohio State's pass rush.
Edge: Ohio State
Ohio State Rushing Offense vs Indiana Defense: Ohio State's rushing offense ranks 4th in The Big Ten at 181 yards per game, while Indiana's rush defense ranks 2nd at allowing a little over 94 yards per game. Ohio State will start Brandon Saine, due to Daniel "Boom" Herron's ankle injury sustained against Illinois.
With Herron out, Ohio State will also incorporate true freshman RB Jordan Hall into the game to spell Brandon Saine. I am wondering if this is the game where QB Terrelle Pryor becomes more involved in Ohio State's rushing attack. Considering how Indiana has been pretty solid against the run, I am going to have to call this one a draw going into this contest.
Ohio State Passing Offense vs Indiana Defense: Indiana has two future NFL defensive ends on its roster with senior DE Greg Middleton and senior DE Jammie Kirlew. Considering Ohio State is relatively inexperienced at both the OLT and ORT spots, this is where Pryor may need to help the offense by rushing for positive yardage if the pocket starts to break down.
Indiana's secondary gave up 235 yards last week to Michigan, and ranks 9th in The Big Ten in pass defense efficiency. Ohio State's passing offense has been relatively pedestrian so far this season. I look for Ohio State to try to get their passing game in sync if possible.
Edge: Ohio State
Special Teams: Indiana's Ray Fisher ranks 4th in The Big Ten in punt returns and the leading kickoff returner in The Big Ten. K Nick Freeland is leading The Big Ten in scoring by a kicker, slightly ahead of Ohio State's Aaron Pettrey.
While Ohio State's Ray Small, Lamaar Thomas, and Aaron Pettrey are all very good in the special teams area, this is one area that is too close to call. I will have to make this one another even call for both teams.
Intangibles: Indiana last won this game in 1988 and the last time it was close (Ohio State 27, Indiana 17) in Memorial Stadium was in 1996, when Matt Finkes helped to clinch Ohio State's last Rose Bowl appearance.
Ohio State fans traditionally make the four hour trek across I-70 West and have become accustomed to taking over Indiana's stadium. It will be interesting to see what kind of mental state Indiana is in after such a tough loss to Michigan last week.
Edge: Ohio State
Prediction: Possibly the best thing for Ohio State was seeing how close Indiana came to defeating Michigan last week. After such a big game against Illinois, this game could have been a potential trap game for Ohio State. Now with the coaches preaching to the players on how close Michigan came to losing to Indiana, I believe Ohio State will be much better focused.
Indiana's pistol formation will allow them to stay in this game longer than the first half, and I believe Ohio State may have some challenges with Greg Middleton and Jammie Kirlew, but Ohio State has too much speed on both sides of the ball. I look for Ohio State to put this one away by the end of the third quarter.
Ohio State 35, Indiana 10