Ohio State and Indiana have quite the one-sided history. The Buckeyes have won 75 of 92 meetings, and 24 straight since 1989.
Ohio State’s 24-game win streak against Indiana is, after Indiana broke their 24-game skid against Michigan earlier this year, tied for the longest in FBS against one opponent with Texas A&M over TCU.
Indiana’s last win streak in the series was from 1987 to 1988. Their last win was the second win of a two-game winning streak. The Hoosiers have to go back to 1913 for the only other win streak in the series.
Indiana will try to end their losing streak while Ohio State will try to keep theirs alive.
Indiana is more than just a basketball school this year. They are currently ranked #9, which is the third highest ranking they have ever had. The last time they were in the top ten was all the way back in 1967.
It’s difficult to make sense of this Indiana team. They knocked of Penn State and Michigan, but as the weeks go by those wins look less and less impressive.
Is Indiana good or are Penn State, Michigan, and Michigan State bad?
Ohio State vs. Indiana Preview
Whether Indiana is that good or not, one thing is true. They have the most momentum of anyone in the Big Ten. The Hoosiers are 4-0, and have outscored opponents by an average of 33.8-19.3.
In each of their first three games, they scored 36 or more points. But against Michigan State last week, they failed to score in the second half. Was that just conservative playcalling to protect a four-score lead, or was that a shift in momentum?
Ohio State is essentially coming off of a bye week. Thanks to the cancellation against Maryland, the Buckeyes are rested and ready to go.
There’s no doubt that this game presents the toughest challenge of the year for both Ohio State and Indiana.
Indiana Offense vs. Ohio State Defense
Michael Penix Jr. is one of the difficult pieces to figure out. In just his first game, he went from completing less than half of his passes to slinging with pinpoint accuracy.
Overall, Penix seems to have improved each week. Despite his Phillip Rivers-style throwing motion, he is more than capable in the passing game.
Indiana might have the second-best unit of pass catchers in the Big Ten, behind Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson.
Between the four of them, Indiana has a dangerous passing attack.
The best way to defend the pass is to speed up Penix’ internal clock. When Penix gets rid of the ball before he’s ready, that’s when he throws inaccurate passes.
Running back Stevie Scott is not the most explosive back, but he is physical. Scott is best in short yardage situations and when Indiana needs those tough yards.
The Hoosiers are third-worst in the Big Ten in rushing yards per game with 95.3. In the big picture, it doesn’t seem daunting. But those hidden yards could keep the game close.
Any offensive coordinator worth their salt will prepare some trick plays against Ohio State. Seeing how well that worked for Rutgers two weeks ago, every team Ohio State plays will try it. The Buckeyes need to be ready.
Ohio State Offense vs. Indiana Defense
The worst part about missing the Maryland game is that it was going to be a “get right” game for the running backs. Maryland has the second-worst rush defense in the conference; Indiana has the third best.
Ohio State actually has 208 rushing yards per game (which is third in the Big Ten), even though it feels like they are struggling in that area. They will have a tough assignment against this Indiana defense.
On the whole, their defense is pretty stout all over. Junior linebacker Micah McFadden stands out as a key component. He does everything from pass rushing, run defending, pass coverage, and even special teams.
On the back end, Indiana leads the Big Ten in interceptions. Safety Jaylin Williams has the most on the team with three in four games. Throwing against a secondary that has ten interceptions, Justin Fields needs to keep the ball out of the middle of the field. That’s where most of Indiana’s picks occur. Their safeties are the ball hawks, and the cornerbacks are more easily exploited.
If Fields remains as accurate as he has been this year, interceptions won’t be a problem.
But this defense is by far the best that Ohio State has seen up to this point.