Ohio State cruised past Indiana in a 54-7 victory.
A year ago, Indiana gave Ohio State a scare, nearly completing a comeback to knock off the undefeated Buckeyes. The 2021 edition of the Buckeyes versus Hoosiers was much more cut-and-dry, with Ohio State dominating in all three phases.
The rain fell on and off throughout the game, which seemed to affect the hometown Hoosiers more than it did the Buckeyes. The rain led to two fumbles–one of which led to a safety–and helped stop a fourth-down conversion.
The weather did not slow Ohio State, however, who glided through nearly unopposed. The Buckeyes scored on their first drive off of an 11-yard run from Miyan Williams. The Hoosiers answered the score but paid the price.
Quarterback Jack Tuttle hung in to connect with Peyton Hendershot for a game-tying touchdown but took a huge hit at the end of the play. With former All-Conference quarterback Michael Penix sitting out with a separated shoulder, quarterback duties went between Grant Gremel and Donaven McCully.
Indiana couldn’t get a rhythm on offense after that, even with Tuttle returning intermittently. After Indiana’s 75-yard drive, they totaled -17 yards for the rest of the half. The only time they got close to scoring again, the drive ended on a failed fourth-down attempt.
Meanwhile, Ohio State’s offense ran on all cylinders. The Buckeyes scored 44 points before the half, which was two more than they scored in the 2020 game.
Ohio State coasted in the second half and let the freshmen get their opportunities to play against Indiana’s first-string defense.
Ohio State Cruises Past Indiana
Indiana’s Quarterback Struggles
Penix passed for 491 yards and five touchdowns against the Buckeyes in 2020 and nearly knocked off the eventual Big Ten champions. He separated his shoulder against Penn State, so he was unavailable against Ohio State.
Tuttle was the next man up and led the Hoosiers to the end zone on the first drive. He was four-for-seven with 41 yards and a touchdown on that drive but took a crushing hit on the touchdown pass. He had to leave the game, and even though he returned, he didn’t throw another pass.
McCulley was the next quarterback after having his redshirt removed earlier this week. The plan going in was for McCulley to play in certain situations and be more of a running threat than a passing threat. He ran eleven times for nine yards, and only completed one of his six passes for 30 yards.
When it was clear McCulley wasn’t ready to use his arm, and his legs weren’t cutting the mustard, Tom Allen turned to Gremel. This was his first game, and he completed three of four passes for 23 yards.
Ohio State’s defense shut down the passing game, and then kept the running game to 1.3 yards per carry. The defense did break their streak of consecutive games with defensive touchdowns, but they got a safety off of a muffed snap on a punt, so the Buckeyes still scored some non-offensive points.
C.J. Stroud and the Offense
Since C.J. Stroud rested his shoulder, he has been on fire. He attempted 28 passes, threw 21 completions, gained 266 yards, and passed for four touchdowns.
In his last three games, Stroud has completed 74 percent of his passes, gained 1,002 yards, 14 touchdowns, and no interceptions.
In contrast, Terrelle Pryor had 1,311 yards, 12 touchdowns, and four interceptions on twice as many attempts in his entire freshman season.
Stroud has been so good over the last three games, he led a drive that led to a punt for the first time in the last three games. He responded to that possession by throwing his second touchdown of the game to Jeremy Ruckert.
This is bananas! The @OhioStateFB offense with C.J. Stroud at quarterback has scored touchdowns on 19 consecutive drives starting with the first drive following the field goal vs. Rutgers and not counting any drives (a kneel down) where Ohio State wasn't trying to score.
— Jerry Emig (@BuckeyeNotes) October 24, 2021
In 23 possessions in the last three games, Stroud has led the offense to 21 touchdowns, one field goal, and one punt.
Ohio State Running Backs
Not surprisingly, TreVeyon Henderson was Ohio State’s leader in yards and touchdowns. The electric freshman gained 81 yards on nine carries, along with a catch for 14 yards and three total touchdowns.
He spent some time on the sidelines talking things over with the medical staff, and Master Teague was unavailable for the game as well. That meant that Miyan Williams took the lead early in the game. He had eight carries for 60 yards and a touchdown,
True freshman Evan Pryor led the team in carries, with 11. Between first-half relief and second-half garbage time, Pryor racked up 48 yards and earned the first double-digit carry workload of his young career.
This was the fifth straight game in which Ohio State has attempted 33 or more rushes while gaining more than 150 yards on the ground. Since the loss to Oregon, Ohio State has had the luxury of being able to run late in the game, resulting in 224 rushing yards and 3 rushing touchdowns per contest.
The offense as a whole has been humming, as the passing game has added another 337 yards per game to the total. Stroud and the other quarterbacks have averaged just over four passing touchdowns per game in the last five games as well.