Across the Field: Indiana

By Elika on October 11, 2012 at 12:00p
Joe Hren/Indiana Public Media

After weeks of victories that came in less than thrilling fashion, Ohio State finally came out with a statement performance, putting up 63 points against a ranked conference opponent in Nebraska. Even the coaching staff apparently hadn't expected the offense to progress as quickly as it displayed on Saturday night. And thus, along with the struggle that the Hoosiers gave Sparty last week, Saturday's game, according to some, has the trappings of a letdown game. 

What is there to watch out for, as the Buckeyes head to Bloomington to take on the Hoosiers? Adam Jacobi, Lead Big Ten Writer for Bleacher Report was kind enough to let us know. 

Indiana is 2-3 this year, and their losses haven't been terrible. Does where Indiana stands now differ at all from your preseason expectations for them?

This is about what I expected. Indiana was horrific last year, and there's just so much ground the Hoosiers had to make up between where they were and where a winning program is. They're making progress on that front, and you see it not only in the final scores but the team stats. The total defense is ranked 94th in the nation this year and the scoring defense is 75th. Not great numbers, but last year neither were even on the verge of cracking the top 100. And that's out of 120. Moreover, the offense looks way better than last year, and that's even with Tre Roberson gone for the year. That's a borderline Top 25 offense as it stands right now, and that's going to Kevin Wilson's baseline from here on out.

Indiana hasn't won a conference game since 2010. Though he wasn't given much to work with, how would you grade the job Kevin Wilson has done so far, and where do you see this program going in the next couple years?

I have to give Kevin Wilson an A. There isn't a coach in America that can take what Indiana was 2 years ago and make it a winner by now. But the improvement is palpable, and as long as Wilson sticks around there's probably a bowl bid in his near future. Not a great one, mind you, but 6-6 (3-5) in a division with Illinois and the crater that will be Penn State is wholly reasonable for a program that's going to be putting up big numbers on offense for the foreseeable future.

The Hoosiers played Sparty tough in the first half last Saturday, and managed to hang in there for a while. What are the takeaways from their performance last week that the Buckeyes should watch out for on Saturday?

Ohio State's defense has to be ready for that up-tempo attack from Indiana, and if the defense gets burnt, it had better have a short memory, because Indiana won't hesitate to line up quickly and go right back downfield again. It's a lot of fun to watch...when it's not your secondary.

I don't want to take anything away from the job Wilson has done preparing Roberson and backup Cameron Coffman to be big-time throwers, but the reason Indiana is leading the Big Ten in passing is because nobody else in the Big Ten is going pass-heavy this year. Penn State is second in the Big Ten in passing yardage, and it's ranked 48th in the nation. So there's that.

Despite losing starting QB Tre Roberson in Week 2, the Hoosiers lead the B1G in Passing Offense. What can we credit for their success in the passing game?

That said, Indiana is reaping the benefits of a deep, experienced receiving corps this year. Indiana has seven receivers with 12 or more catches this year. Ohio State has two. So this isn't a "shut one guy down, shut down the offense" situation that Ohio State is facing this week—it's going to be a 60-minute team effort. That's not to say that's impossible, because look at what Michigan State did to the Hoosier passing offense in the second half. But it's going to be a challenge.

Can you give two Hoosiers, on each side of the ball, for OSU fans to look for on Saturday?

I feel compelled to mention center Will Matte, because being a four-year starter on the line for a terrible team seems like a terrible effort-to-recognition ratio. But the guy is the leader of the line and he might give OSU's men in the middle a hard time. WR Shane Wynn is basically Hoosier Wes Welker and he is going to drive you insane.

On defense, DT Adam Replogle is leading the team in tackles, tackles-for-loss and sacks so far this year. Again: defensive tackle. He's not exactly Lee Roy Selmon, but he's having a monster year all the same and he's a big reason why Michigan State struggled so much to get Le'Veon Bell rolling. Also, I really like the job Brian Williams is doing at cornerback. He's got seven pass breakups already to go with one pick.

Some are saying that after the way Indiana played against Michigan State, and OSU coming off two emotional wins, the Buckeyes should watch out for the upset this week. Do you think there's any truth to that?

This does have all the trappings of a letdown game, but the second half of the Indiana-MSU game demonstrated pretty effectively that once a top-level team has its bearings against the Hoosiers, it's still an unfair fight. Expect Indiana to hang around more than you'd like, but don't expect a serious run at an upset.

Final prediction for the game?

44-20 in a game that's much closer than that at the break. Braxton Miller should break at least one long run and Indiana's front seven should tire out down the stretch, but it's going to be a serious game.

Thanks again to Adam Jacobi of Bleacher Report for sharing his insights on the Hoosiers and Saturday's game. You can read more from Adam by checking out the links below:

Bleacher Report: Adam Jacobi

Twitter: @Adam_Jacobi


Comments Show All Comments

Matt's picture

Now that you are affiliated with Bleacher Report, are you using them exclusively for your Across the Field's? 

cbusbuckeye's picture

I'd like to know as well, some of Jacobis stuff is pretty awful, I hope there is better out there. 

Matt's picture

Bleacher Report in general is pretty awful, with their unpaid writer business model.  I like Jacobi's work on BHGP, though.  I think the SBNation blogs are usually run by pretty knowledgable fan-bloggers, and they often provide the best insight because they know their respective teams the best.  Elika has used SBNation bloggers a lot in the past, just wondering if a change is being made now for business/affiliation reasons.

Jason Priestas's picture

I think B/R dug themselves an early hole, but are working hard to get out of it. They have made strong moves lately and you have to give them credit for realizing there's a problem and actively working to fix it instead of just doubling down on it.

As for the unpaid writers, there are a ton of them at SBN as well. Take a look at this masthead. There's no way all of these writers are being paid and it's the same for every other SBN team site with anything more than a handful of writers. It's just impossible, given what SBN allocates to each site per month in terms of payments.

B/R's email newsletter was so innovative, SBN copied it and SBN has also worked to copy some of B/R's SEO best-practices, which both parties are now pretty good at. The thing that helps SBN is that they have great personalities, execute well and have avoided the early baggage that B/R accumulated, which is a credit to SBN's leadership team. But ultimately, let's not fool ourselves. There are a few people at the top making coin in each company and a lot of others grinding it out for little or no scratch in the hopes of making a name for themselves, like every other huge website (HuffPo, etc.).

adamjacobi's picture

yeah that guy sucks

Maestro's picture

a terrrible twitter follow too

vacuuming sucks

buck-I.8's picture

Hahah way to be a good sport 

razrback16's picture

Agree and +1. I actually started skipping his articles on B/R some months back. Perhaps he's gotten better?

grant87's picture

44 points means 3 FG or a missed extra point or saftey.  Interesting number for sure.  I don't think IU can stop tOSU in the red zone.
tOSU OL is playing at high level.  I say tOSU just runs them over.  Replogle meet Mewhort!
That being said Matte meet Hankins and Goebel.
The only thing that keeps tOSU under 50 is KG plays in second half..mostly run game.  Then again KG could add another 28 points on the board.  60???

Maybe tomorrow, when today will be yesterday things will be clearer.


dancorona5's picture

why do you think KG plays the second half? the only time he has played is when Braxton has gotten injured a being serious in asking you this because other buckeye fans keep saying the second string will play a lot in the second half, and we have yet to see it..even against Miami. Nebraska towards the end we had a large lead and still the starters played.

yrro's picture

I agree. It would seem that the coaches are more concerned at this point about the starters getting game reps against a real defense than they are about injury.

RBuck's picture

Urban said on his call-in show today that he was going to try to get KG in the game in the first half.

Long live the southend.

grant87's picture

Meyer is wanting to develop depth.  This team is beat up.  I think tOSU in a beat down.  Miami of Ohio game, tOSU was still finding out what they were.  tOSU is now a running team.  We will run to a big lead.
KG has earned some playing time.  MSU and Nebraska games, he comes in cold and puts the ball in the endzone.

Maybe tomorrow, when today will be yesterday things will be clearer.


Grayskullsession's picture

I normally avoid Bleacher Report like the plague but this was very insightful. Lets hope Bleacher Reports gets more guys like this to contribute.

"if irony were made of strawberries, we' d all be drinking a lot of smoothies right now."

kevinfrenchfry's picture

I know its indiana, and quite frankly when its a dink and dunk spread team the team your playing doesnt matter as much, but i hope we see some sort of answer from the defense to stopping the short passing game.  I would love to see a dedication to stopping that at some point because aside from tackling that is our D's weakest area and i for one would love to see us hold them under, say 200 passing yards, i think you'll see alot of pleased fans who are still holding their reservations about this team because of the questionable defense we've seen so far

tennbuckeye19's picture

I for one would like to see the offense get things going early on in this game. After the slow start they had against Nebraska, it would be good to have a long drive or a quick strike and get some points in the 1st quarter. 

SLVRBLLTS's picture

I'll take a strong finish over a strong start. Just compare how you felt last week against Nebraska with 6 minutes left in the game to how you felt against MSU with 6 minutes left, which included a first possession TD.

"Because we couldn't go for three"

tennbuckeye19's picture

You do have a point there. I just thought it would be nice to get the momentum going early and carry it through. 

buckeyeEddie27's picture

I think Indiana is going to come out jacked up and fully expecting to contend and maybe win.   Not having seen a good let alone decent first quarter that I can remember this year, we need a fast, crisp start. That will go a long way to relieve the Hoosiers of any upset notion they bring with them out of the tunnel.  After that the D has to take over and execute, wrap up and get off the field on third downs.   Sounds cliche but its the truth.

I know there's a game Saturday, and my ass will be there.

Doc's picture

Nailed it!  Indy is going to be all sorts of fired up.  We need to smack them in the mouth, and often to put them down.

CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

Elika's picture

I'm steering clear of SB Nation when possible for no reason other than to avoid ending up with the same interview subjects as Luke every week, who I figure will most often be SB Nation guys.

How firm thy friendship... OH-I-O!

Maestro's picture

Always interesting to think that Meyer studied Kevin Wilson's offenses to develop his own spin on "The Spread".

vacuuming sucks

Squirrel Master's picture

I may not read B/R as much as some of you guys but I haven't had a problem with any of their stories! Granted I don't read them for much OSU stuff so maybe it might be a little more touchy but the other sports stories aren't bad.
Always decent to get an outside perspective on things.

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!