Updated: Nov 12, 2022
2022 Ohio State University
For the second straight week of November, Ohio State had to deal with some less-than-ideal weather conditions, as Saturdays matchup featured sub-40 degree weather and a wintery mix of snow and rain. However, the weather was not as much of a factor as it was a week ago against Northwestern, as C.J. Stroud had no problems getting the passing game to operate in the Buckeyes 56-14 win over Indiana. Thanks to the success of the pass game, the ground game led by Miyan Williams was able to find success as well. However a Williams injury stalled out the offense in the second quarter. The defense played an excellent game and gave ample opportunities to the Buckeye offense.
Indiana made good changeups to keep Ohio State on their toes throughout the game, but the Buckeyes were able to make the proper adjustments to stop whatever Indiana was throwing at them. Ryan Day's strategy at this point in this season is to let the defense run the game, which is a huge change of pace from the early point of the year and year's past. He does not want to take chances or make aggressive play calls on offense and seems content to let the game play out instead of attempting to taking control of it.
Ohio State has an identity problem. They have arguably the most talented offensive team in the nation, but they don't know what they want to do with it. The injuries haven't helped that this season, but for a team that has as many high caliber prospects in their depth-chart, they should look so much better.
The defense is playing on a level unseen in Columbus in years. They are taking away every play their opponent wants to run. They are bringing pressure at the perfect times, and the defensive backs are hitting wide outs with perfect timing to knock the ball free. This defense could win Ohio State a lot of postseason accolades, but if this offense doesn't find themselves, the Silver Bullets will never get that chance.
The Buckeyes finally hit the over on the 40-point spread early in the fourth quarter thanks to the long Xavier Johnson touchdown run that put the Buckeyes up by 42. However, with 12:03 left in the fourth, Indiana found the end zone to put the differential back to 35. The over/under of 61 was met with this last score, and the afternoon wasn't over for bettors yet, as the Bucks would jump back in front by 42 with nine minutes to go and would hold Indiana out of the end zone to secure the 40-point cover.
Ohio State did struggle early with their offense starting with a three-and-out, but the defense would also force one of their own and gave the offense the ball around midfield. On their second drive, the Buckeyes were able to establish themselves on the ground with Miyan Williams and Marvin Harrison Jr., as they marched down into the red zone and grabbed the first touchdown of the game, as Stroud connected with Egbuka in the end zone. The Buckeyes would continue to put the notion they could not run to rest, as a ground and pound drive ended with the freshman Dallan Hayden running in a 14-yard touchdown to stretch out their early lead. The ground game setup the deep ball, and Stroud found Harrison Jr. on a 58-yard touchdown on just one play from scrimmage on drive number three.
The defense in the first quarter was outstanding early on. The first three Indiana drives accounted for just 15 total yards and zero first downs. They also earned a sack and forced two incompletions. On the fourth drive for Indiana, they pulled quarterback Connor Bazelak and brought in Dexter Williams Jr., and he was able to pick apart the Buckeyes defense and took the Hoosiers into the red zone. Williams Jr. found his 6'6, 250-pound tightend A.J. Barner one-on-one against a much smaller Cam Brown in the end zone to make it 21-7.
The second quarter started the same as the first with a three-and-out and then a touchdown on the second drive. Miyan Williams was having himself a day, as this 48-yard touchdown put him over the 100-yard mark on just 11 carries. The offense continued to have a lack of identity this week, and their production did slow down across the board. Miyan Williamson was carried off the field with another injury to his ankle. He finished the half with 15 carries, one touchdown and 147 yards. The Buckeyes were already without TreVeyon Henderson and were forced to give the ball to Dallan Hayden and wide receiver Xavier Johnson, as well as fullback Mitch Rossi. The Buckeyes drove the ball down to the Hoosier red zone and failed on a fourth down conversion and turned the ball over. This was one of the few times all season that Ohio State did not score in the red zone. They were only able to manage a single touchdown in the second quarter, and they went to the half leading 28-7.
The defense made a change to their scheme to counter the dual threat ability of Dexter Williams Jr., and they were able to slow him down after his first drive ended in a touchdown. Outside of the 75-yard touchdown drive in the first half, Indiana was able to put together just 72 yards on their other seven drives. For one of the first times this season, the defensive backs were playing airtight coverage against the Indiana wideouts. Momentum was destroyed late in the half after Williams went down, and with a minute to go, the defense allowed a Hoosier drive down to the edge of the red zone before the defense grabbed back-to-back sacks to end the first half.
Right out of the halftime break, the Indiana Hoosiers went on another big drive down to the Buckeye side of the 50, but the defense came out of the locker room in time to force a turnover on downs.
For the first time this season, the Buckeyes decided to call their own number on a punt and Lathan Ransom came in like a bullet to block a punt and give the Buckeyes the ball on the two. From the two, the Buckeyes would run just two plays before finding the end zone for the first score of the second half on a playaction delay route from Cade Stover.
After the score, Stroud was handed the chef's hat in the third quarter, and he started cooking. He scrambled out of the pocket and gave the Buckeyes a tidal wave of momentum, finding Egbuka deep down the center of the field and then found Stover for his second touchdown of the game. With running the football out of the game plan due to injuries, Day called his QB's number, and he delivered big.
A great defensive possession from the Silver Bullets started the final quarter and gave the offense the ball once more, and on just one play, Xavier Johnson ran the football 71-yards nearly untouched for a massive touchdown to give Ohio State a 49-7 lead early in the final quarter.
The defense again would force Indiana to punt, but then Reis Stocksdale would muff the return, and Indiana would recover on the Buckeye 18. The Hoosiers would capitalize off of the great field position and ran just two plays before they found Donaven McCulley for a touchdown from 19-yards out.
Kamryn Babb finally got his chance to play after a injury riddled five-year career at Ohio State, and Stroud found him in the back corner of the end zone for his first career receiving touchdown. The defense continued to play well after the late Indiana touchdown. They were all over the field, forcing incompletions all day and continued to add on to their sack totals. With the big lead and 5:44 to go, the Buckeyes would bring in the reserves and put this game to rest, winning by a final score of 56-14 and improving to 10-0 (7-0 in conference play) on the season.
Player of the Game: C.J. Stroud
While he may not have had the perfect game, he seemed to make every momentum play that this offense needed. Five touchdowns and no turnovers in Saturday's game really helped bolster his Heisman resume. He has also expanded his game with a willingness to run the football, even if their is a lot of room for him to grow in that department. Everyone knows that if Ohio State is going to take the Big Ten crown, it is going to be because of him. Games like this show that even when he looks like he's having an off day, he still is putting up the best numbers in the nation.
CJ Stroud: 17/28, 297 YDS, 5 TD
Miyan Williams: 15 CAR, 147 YDS, 1 TD
Dallan Hayden: 19 CAR, 102 YDS, 1 TD
Marcin Harrison Jr.: 7 REC, 135 YDS, 1 TD
Xavier Johnson: 1 CAR, 71 Rush YDS, 1 Rush TD, 2 REC, 47 YDS
Cade Stover: 3 REC, 45 YDS, 2 TDS
11/19: vs Maryland, TBD
11/26: vs TTUN, Noon, FOX
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