Intro: Work and life circumstances have conspired against these past two weeks and kept me from doing any thing else on time. As a result, the preview is only getting up now. It does not help that this is Indiana week and the anticipated threat level is green.
Factoids: Ohio State has won 15 straight Big Ten road games, 2 short of the all time league record. The last loss was the 17-10 loss at Penn State in 2005.
Michigan owns the record of 17 straight road wins from 1988-1992 … Ohio State has won 14 straight over the Hoosiers dating to 1988 … The Buckeyes have back-to-back shutouts for the first time since 1996 … Indiana hasn’t been within single digits of Buckeyes since 1993, a span of 12 games … Hoosiers run defense ranks second in the Big Ten, trailing only Penn State, at 94.2 yards per game.
What the Internut is saying:
- Mr. Sassy Ballot gives you some players to watch tonight.
- Indiana has a lot of work to do if they are going change history tonight.
- The Crimson Quarry gives us a brief look at tonight’s matchup.
- Today is the biggest day in Big Ten Network history. If they say so.
- Other, more punctual, blogs have previews: 11W, WWAHT, O-Zone
Weekly rant: It may come as surprise to you, but I tend to think highly of Ohio State’s football program. And that goes for the entire program - the team, coaches, and stadium. Especially Ohio Stadium.
The problem is, it does not appear that it is getting the respect it deserves. It is on the National Register of Historic Places. So, why is the field painted like a high school stadium (or Indiana’s Memorial Stadium)?
I dislike the synthograss, but I can live with it. But why not paint the plastic so that it looks good? Like Florida State, with color up to the 25-yard lines? If it is good enough for the Rose Bowl, it should be good enough for Ohio Stadium.
And, is it true that there is no gray on the field because it cost extra? So all we get is red, white, and black trim? Ick.
Ohio State athletics generate revenue in excess of $100M. Take a little extra and give the field a paint job worthy of the best college football stadium in the country and a building on the NRHP. I will save the horrific scoreboard announcing for another week. [/rant]
Ohio State offense v. Indiana defense: Don’t be fooled. The Hoosiers are currently 4th in the league in total defense, but their average is actually closer to the 10th place team than the first place team. While it is certainly possible that Indiana is better than usual, they didn’t exactly crush their way through a horrendous non-conference schedule. They struggled in each game against Eastern Kentucky, Western Michigan, and Akron. Pryor should have no problem throwing against an IU defense that gave up 4 pass plays of 25+ yards last week (that is half of Michigan’s season total). If the receivers are as available as the statistics suggest, Saine should have plenty of room to roam. If he gets 17 or more carries, he will be the first Ohio State running back to gain 100 yards rushing this season (I cannot believe I typed that before week 5!). Indiana did allow four scoring drives of 60 yards or more last week.
Indiana offense v. Ohio State defense: The Hoosiers are getting a lot of credit because of their close, high-scoring loss to Michigan but things were not good before that game. The Hoosiers scored on 7 of their 14 possessions last weekend with another ending in a missed FG. Not bad, but there were too many field goals mixed in. In fact, Indiana is last in red zone touchdown percentage.
IU has a semi-veteran offensive line, but Chappell will still get tons of pressure all night. Even without Kurt Coleman, Ohio State’s nickel package will be more than enough to slow down Indiana’s spread attack. Ohrian Johnson has been elevated to the nickel back although do not be surprised if you see three cornerbacks (Chekwa, Torrence, Amos) in there at the same time.
(Quick) Key matchups: Adams & Shugarts & Miller v. Jammie Kirlew & Greg Middleton. I am thinking the same thing you are: how good could Indiana’s DEs be? Well, these two are supposed to be decent and this is the first conference road game for Ohio State’s first-time starters.
Why Ohio State will win: Chappell is statue in the backfield and redshirt freshman Darius Willis is not keeping Heacock and Fickell awake at night. Ohio State will get an early lead and force the Hoosiers to throw more often. Even down a defensive captain, that should be a task the Buckeye can handle.
“Have to have it” factor: 5 out of 10. It only gets half up because I really want the all-time road wins records, which is totally achievable with Purdue up next.
Final thought: If you are looking for an fun and easy football road trip, Bloomington is your destination. The drive is easy, the likelihood of a win is high, there is a small percentage of asshole fans, and the girls are generally regarded as high caliber. Really, it is a no-brainer.