Countdown To THE GAME 2015

Friday, November 22, 2013

Buckeyes Have No Time For Senioritis Against Indiana

Senior Day in Ohio Stadium is always a special occasion.  Eighteen seniors, including Buckeye stalwarts such as Carlos Hyde, Corey "Philly" Brown, Jack Mewhort, Corey Linsley, Marcus Hall, and C.J. Barnett will be introduced for recognition by the fans, their respective families, teammates, and Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, in their final game as a Buckeye in Ohio Stadium.  What may be an emotional moment for all could involve Christian Bryant, who was lost to injury near the end of the Ohio State/Wisconsin game on September 28th.

 Senioritis is something that seems to afflict most students as they wind down their academic careers.  Unfortunately for Ohio State fans and players, senioritis has been an issue in Ohio Stadium in recent seasons:

  •  In 2007, Illinois defeated # 1 ranked Ohio State, 28-21.  While Ohio State was able to rebound from this defeat to earn a BCS Championship bid, this defeat had to be a bitter experience for seniors such as Alex Boone and Kirk Barton.
 Other areas of concern for Ohio State for this game stem from the fact that Ohio State suffered defensive lapses in their 60-35 victory over Illinois last week.  Factor in how Indiana took Ohio State down to the wire last season, and one can understand why Ohio State cannot overlook Indiana in this upcoming contest.

Coach Meyer, a graduate assistant on the 1987 Ohio State coaching staff that suffered through what former Ohio State head coach Earle Bruce termed "the darkest day in Ohio State football" in a bitter home loss to Indiana, will keep his team focused upon the task at hand.










Below are some areas I will focus upon throughout the game...

  • Ohio State's Focus Upon The Running Game:  Indiana may be an offensive threat, but is poor by any definition defensively.  A key way to keep Indiana's dangerous offense off the field is for Ohio State to control the clock by relying upon its dominant running game.

Carlos Hyde is on the doorstep of a 1000 yard rushing season for Coach Meyer.  Hyde should have his 1000 yards for this season by the end of the first quarter, based upon Indiana's defensive outlook.

Once Ohio State has a comfortable lead, it would be advantageous for Ohio State to use other running backs such as Jordan Hall, Rod Smith, Ezekiel Elliott, and Warren Ball in the second half to finish off Indiana.  Like Carlos Hyde, Jordan Hall is also a senior playing in his final game in Ohio Stadium.  It would be a fitting conclusion to Hall's Buckeye career if Hall had an opportunity to score at least one more time in front of the Ohio Stadium crowd.

  • Will Dontre Wilson Be Involved In The Game Plan?  Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman acknowledged earlier this week that Wilson needs to be more involved in the offensive attack, yet wonders how to do that without Ohio State's other offensive weapons such as Braxton Miller, Carlos Hyde, and Corey "Philly" Brown suffering as a result.  Perhaps once the Ohio State running game has taken control of the game, Wilson may be factored into the contest.

  • Can Ohio State's Pass Defense Slow Down Indiana?  Illinois scored 35 points on Ohio State, the most points surrendured by Ohio State this season.  Indiana, led by players such as Nate Sudfeld, Tre Roberson, Stephen Houston, Cody Latimer, and one-time Ohio State recruit and former Cleveland Glenville star Shane Wynn, can score on anyone.  A case in point - Indiana was able to score 28 points on Michigan State, and Michigan State is arguably the toughest defense in the nation.

Secondary players such as Bradley Roby, Doran Grant, Armani Reeves, Tyvis Powell, and the aforementioned C.J. Barnett will all need to show up big in what promises to be an Indiana aerial assault.  What would truly help would be if Noah Spence, Joey Bosa, and Michael Bennett can contribute with a pass rush to throw off the timing of the Indiana passing attack.

  • Has Ohio State Figured Out Its Special Teams Coverage Units?  Shane Wynn is capable of taking a punt back for a touchdown, as V'Angelo Bentley of Illinois (another Cleveland Glenville alum, like Wynn) did last week against Ohio State.  Has Coach Meyer figured out what went wrong against Illinois, and will it be fixed against Indiana?



No time for senioritis in Ohio Stadium on Saturday.  Ohio State wants to send its eighteen senior players off with a victory in their last game in Ohio Stadium.  It will bear watching to see how Ohio State handles the offensive challenges Indiana will bring to this game.






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