October 10, 1987. The Ohio State Buckeyes, ranked 9th in the country with a 3-0-1 record (yes kids, games used to end in ties back in the day…), play host to the 3-1 Indiana Hoosiers. Most Ohio State fans, yours truly included, looked at this game as an automatic ‘W’, as Ohio State never loses to Indiana. After all, the last time Indiana defeated Ohio State? 1951, when Indiana beat Ohio State, 32-10.
Maybe someone at Indiana was feeling nostalgic in 1987, and tried to replicate the last Hoosier victory. The final score in 1987 – Indiana 31, Ohio State 10.
Ohio State’s head coach at the time in 1987? Earle Bruce. After the crushing loss, Earle Bruce stated, “I’ve known about Ohio State football since I was a freshman here in 1949. This is the darkest day in Ohio State football since I have been associated with it.”.
Remember who was a graduate assistant coach on the 1987 staff? Urban Meyer.
Saturday’s date for the game is October 8, 2016. Urban Meyer is now the head coach of Ohio State, and is reveling in the recent Dotting Of The ‘I’ celebration involving former Ohio State head coach Earle Bruce. Ohio State is undefeated, ranked second in the country, and guess who is coming into Ohio Stadium with a 3-1 record?
Fresh off an upset victory over Michigan State, Indiana comes into Ohio Stadium, fully intent on spoiling Ohio State’s dreams of an undefeated season and a shot at a College Football Playoff berth.
#Indiana just beat #MichiganState at football. No. I'm not kidding. #Buckeyes game is way more interesting next week...— Matt Baxendell (@MattBaxendell) October 2, 2016
I completely agree with Matt Baxendell’s thoughts regarding this game. Think of it this way ~ Indiana just defeated Michigan State, a team that has crushed Ohio State’s hopes and dreams in 2013 and 2015. If Ohio State was feeling cocky about their chances with Indiana, chances are that the upset win by the Hoosiers has the Buckeyes coming into this game with better focus.
Below are three critical areas I will be focusing upon as the Ohio State/Indiana game gets underway at 3:30pm EST on ESPN…
- Can Ohio State Avoid A Sluggish Start Against Indiana?
Against Tulsa, Ohio State was tied 3-3 before the Buckeyes began capitalizing on turnovers near the end of the second quarter. Last week versus Rutgers, Ohio State only led the Scarlet Knights 6-0 after the first quarter. Yes, I know that the Buckeyes eventually overwhelmed their opponents. It would be very reassuring to see the Buckeyes come out with the same type of intensity and dominance in the first quarter as they have demonstrated in the latter portions of games.
- How Well Will Ohio State’s Secondary Play Against Indiana?
Indiana is averaging about 320 yards a game through the air, while the revamped Ohio State secondary is only giving up about 140 yards a game. Which unit is going to come out ahead in this crucial matchup?
- Will Ohio State Control The Clock With The Running Game?
Ohio State ran for 410 yards last weekend against Rutgers. Mike Weber, Demario McCall, Curtis Samuel, Dontre Wilson…Maybe even Antonio Williams, if the game breaks right. The best way to keep the Ohio State defense rested is by having them on the sideline, and that all starts with the Ohio State offensive line controlling the line of scrimmage against Indiana.
Prediction: Indiana has kept it interesting every year against Ohio State, with the exception of 2013. Urban Meyer is wary of the upset, and wants to see the Buckeyes take care of business at home before two grueling road night games at Wisconsin and at Penn State. Indiana will keep it close until the fourth quarter, but I like Ohio State to put it away with superior speed and depth. I am calling it Ohio State 42, Indiana 17.