4-0 Ohio State at 4-0 Indiana. How many of you thought it was going to be like this, back when thinking about this game as it related to the schedule?
You can put your hand down, Kyle Swick of The Crimson Quarry. By the way, thank you again for appearing on The Men of the Scarlet and Gray podcast with Shannon Sommers and me to preview this game.
Back to business. Ohio State took a step in the right direction offensively against Western Michigan, running a faster tempo offense behind the quarterback play of Cardale Jones. While Jones played better than in previous contests versus Hawaii and Northern Illinois, Jones also left points on the field by being late with deep passes; one of the three was intercepted, and two of the passes were almost intercepted. Jones also had some time management issues at the end of the first half, taking a costly intentional grounding call that led to the clock running out on the Buckeyes, missing an opportunity for a field goal.
All of what I wrote up above are fixable, and probably will be addressed going forward, especially the deep passing fundamentals that are crucial for the offense to succeed. Below are three areas that I will be focusing upon when Ohio State and Indiana get going in Bloomington at 3:30pm EST on ABC/ESPN2.
1. Ohio State’s Run Defense Versus The Indiana Running Game ~ Ohio State gave up 169 yards last week to Western Michigan, prompting concern from the Ohio State fan base, as well as Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer. Indiana is led by UAB transfer Jordan Howard. Howard has already rushed for 675 yards this season, and is coming off an impressive 168 yard game at Wake Forest. The interior defensive line, led by seniors Adolphus Washington and Tommy Schutt, need to rebound against Indiana as B1G play begins.
2. Ohio State’s Turnover Problems ~ A problem area from the end of last season, Ohio State has been entirely too generous with the football. Interceptions and fumbles are becoming far too commonplace this season for Coach Meyer to feel comfortable.
3. Braxton Miller’s Status In The Offense ~ It has become more and more evident that the coaching staff is trying to incorporate Miller into the offense, and more and more evident that the offense bogs down whenever this takes place. Yes, Braxton Miller is a dynamic player, but is it so important to get Miller the ball that the entire offense stalls out? Keep an eye out to see if the coaching staff lets the game flow better, before getting Miller the ball in situations that seem or feel forced.
Prediction: Ohio State is the best team Indiana has faced so far this season. While Indiana has talent across the board offensively, the Indiana defense has been giving up an average of 32 points a game, ranking them 97th defensively in this category. Indiana did not improve its team outlook by suspending DL Darius Latham prior to this contest. Look for Ohio State to use this game to continue to fine tune and improve upon its offense, while also working to shore up its run defense. I have it Ohio State 42, Indiana 21.