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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Buckeyes Rush Past Indiana Upset Bid, 34-20

Virtually every publication I read online this past wek predicted an Ohio State blowout victory over the visiting Indiana Hoosiers. Obviously, someone neglected to inform the Hoosiers that this was supposed to be an easy win for the Buckeyes.

Behind a three-tiered rushing attack led by RB Daniel "Boom" Herron, RB Carlos Hyde, and QB Braxton Miller, Ohio State survived a visit by Indiana, 34-20. The victory by Ohio State now makes the Buckeyes bowl-eligible with six victories, pending the final results of the NCAA investigation into the program.

The game began with Indiana receiving the first half kickoff from PK Drew Basil that went out of bounds, providing Indiana good field position. Indiana moved down the field, converting on third down opportunities to put themselves in scoring position. A big stop by Ohio State defensive lineman John Simon forced Indiana to kick a field goal to take the lead at 3-0.

Ohio State sputtered right out of the gate in its initial offensive possession, giving the ball back to Indiana after Braxton Miller was hit and fumbled, allowing Indiana to recover in Ohio State territory. Again, Indiana was able to convert on a 3rd and 6 on a quarterback draw by Indiana QB Tre Roberson to keep a drive alive. Indiana RB Stephen Houston ran up the middle on a first and goal to set Indiana up 10-0 with over seven minutes left in the first quarter.

Ohio State, needing a spark offensively, found it with a designed quarterback draw by Braxton Miller. Miller's 81 yard scamper was the longest touchdown run by a quarterback in Ohio State football history, and it allowed Ohio State to claw back into the game. After a Drew Basil PAT, Indiana led Ohio State, 10-7.

Neither team were able to move as the first quarter came to a close. Braxton Miller threw for Corey "Philly" Brown in the end zone, as fans clamored for a pass interference call. Ohio State settled for another Drew Basil field goal, to tie it up 10-10.

Ohio State seemed to be gaining momentum in the contest, after a big Brad Roby hit on Indiana's Shane Wynn that drew audible "ooh's" from the crowd and the television analysts. Ohio State's Boom Herron had an impressive 45 yard cutback run that set up another Drew Basil field goal to allow Ohio State to take the lead. From 45 yards out, Basil hit the field goal to make it Ohio State 13, Indiana 10.

In what became the recurring theme of the game, Indiana came clawing back into the game. Indiana WR Kofi Hughes came up with a big reception, despite a pass interference penalty by Ohio State's Christian Bryant. Ohio State's Garrett Goebel came up with a stop of Indiana's Tre Roberson, forcing Indiana to kick a field goal to tie it, 13-13.

Ohio State received the second half kickoff. In a play similar to last week against Wisconsin, Boom Herron had a 40 yard run to seemingly set up Ohio State in scoring position. Unfortunately, Braxton Miller threw into double coverage for the end zone, being intercepted by Indiana's Alexander Webb near the end zone.

On the ensuing Indiana possession, Christian Bryant was unable to come up with an interception that could have been returned for a touchdown. Indiana, forced to punt, gave the Buckeyes the ball back at midfield.

Boom Herron was the catalyst of the Ohio State offense on the next possession, alternating big runs with Braxton Miller. Herron extended for the end zone pylon, putting Ohio State up 20-13 over Indiana.

Back came the Hoosiers, behind Tre Roberson. On another third down play, Roberson hit Kofi Hughes for a wide-open touchdown reception to again tie the Buckeyes, 20-20.

Mixing runs by Carlos Hyde, Boom Herron, and Braxton Miller, Ohio State moved down the field. Senior starting right offensive tackle J.B. Shugarts was injured on the drive, being replaced by true freshman Antonio Underwood. A key penalty was a roughing the passer penalty on Indiana's Larry Black, giving Ohio State the ball in good field position. Braxton Miller scored on another quarterback draw to give Ohio State the lead, 27-20, as the 3rd quarter ended.

As the 4th quarter began, Indiana battled back, converting on third down plays by Stephen Houston and Tre Roberson to keep drives alive. A false start by Indiana pushed the Hoosiers back, and Indiana missed on a field goal to give the ball back to Ohio State.

Disaster was averted, after a Boom Herron fumble was recovered by Braxton Miller. Both Herron and Miller were wobbly in the final minutes of this game, and Indiana had the ball back with under six minutes to play.

On a 3rd and 10, Indiana's Kofi Hughes came up with his biggest reception to keep Indiana alive in the contest. As it seemed overtime could be looming, Ohio State's Travis Howard came up with a critical interception of Tre Roberson with only four minutes left in the game. Carlos Hyde, seemingly forgotten by the coaching staff since his big game against Nebraska a few weeks ago, had a big run down the right sideline to set up Ohio State in scoring position. Hyde scored with under three minutes in the game to make it Ohio State 34, Indiana 20.

Indiana began its final possession, needing two touchdowns, and less than three minutes to accomplish the task. The Ohio State defense, facing an Indiana team in obvious passing situations, forced the Hoosiers to give up possession after four downs. Ohio State was able to take the victory formation, and leave with its sixth victory of this season, 34-20 over Indiana.

For the first time since 1989, Ohio State had three players eclipse the 100 yard mark (Boom Herron, Carlos Hyde, and Braxton Miller). Miller's rushing total would have been higher, had he not suffered so much lost yardage due to sacks, which were abundant against the Buckeyes in this game.

Indiana, who lost 16-10 earlier this season to Penn State, showed Ohio State and its fans that the days of marking the Hoosiers as an easy victory may be coming to a close. Next season, when Ohio State visits Indiana on October 12, 2012, I do not believe the Buckeyes will need any reminders of how dangerous Indiana can be.

(This post originally appeared on Along The Olentangy)

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