To the Booth: Indiana By the Numbers

By Chad Peltier on November 21, 2013 at 11:15a
That's former Buckeye recruit Shane Wynn on the right

Last night's practice update had two important details for the Buckeyes' gameplan this week. First,

Miller said the only thing Ohio State controls is winning and hopefully dominating. He said they need to make it look easy.

Miller's talking about the offense dominating, but reinforcing the perception of domination will likely be up to the defense:

Shazier said last year’s 52-49 game at Indiana still sticks with him and his teammates. He said they have a lot to prove after that performance. It proves you can’t sleep on anyone.

Put those two statements together and you have the talk of a dominant win, but what do the numbers say? Can the defense hold the 12th-ranked F/+ offense below their season average of 39 points per game? Or 28, like Michigan State was able to do?

Wisconsin held the Hoosiers to a measly field goal on the way to 51 points of their own. A win like that is exactly what the Buckeyes need to stave off talk of being jumped in the polls.

"Make It Look Easy"

The Indiana defense is just about as bad as its offense is good – it's worse than Illinois' and ranked in the F/+ only slightly higher than Purdue's. I get the sense that Indiana's Kevin Wilson is going for "The Baylor of the Midwest," which seems to be a fairly attainable goal (eventually), but the defense just isn't there yet.

Unit PPP YPP YPA Ex. Plays Red Zone TD
Indiana Defense .47 13.8 6.53 63 66%
Ohio State Offense .66 10.9 7.15 61 82%

Let's get right to the bullets:

  • Indiana's defense is not quite as bad as Ohio State's offense is good, on the other hand. Except in explosive plays – Indiana's defense loves to see the 20+ yard play almost as much as Illinois. In fact, I'd be disappointed to see less than seven explosive plays against this defense.
  • Ohio State continued its run of scoring touchdowns in the red zone last week, this time overtaking Wyoming for the number two spot in the country in red zone touchdown percentage (they finished second last season as well). This trend will continue throughout Meyer's tenure.
  • The points per play, yards per point, and yards per attempt (variously known as yards per play) all agree that this is going to be a mismatch. Not only do Indiana's numbers alone suggest that opposing teams have efficient days on offense, but the Buckeyes numbers are even better than Indiana's defense typically allows.
  • Indiana is worse than average in sacks, but not significantly so. The defense manages 1.7 per game, and unlike Illinois, the top five sack leaders on the Hoosier roster (that's anyone with more than just one) are all defensive linemen. What's more, only one of them is an upperclassman.
  • One thing Indiana does a lot of? Pass break ups. Junior defensive back Tim Bennett leads the way by a wide margin with 19 of Indiana's 50 overall. That might not be an excellent thing, because it could also suggest that opposing offenses pass more against a porous pass defense. Based on having the 94th-ranked S&P+ pass defense, that's my best guess.
  • Only two teams in the country are worse at preventing explosive rushing plays: Miami of Ohio and New Mexico State. The Buckeyes are third and fifth overall in creating long rushing plays. Hyde alone has 27 plays of more than ten yards. Meyer should get his first 1,000 yard running back in no time.

"A Lot to Prove After That Performance"

Indiana has a good offense – one that only Wisconsin has been able to truly crack. Their normally dangerous passing attack was limited to 12/30 for 122 yards and an average of 3.4 yards rushing. That forced seven punts, four three-and-outs, and three turnovers for a dismal 8% drive efficiency. The Buckeyes will shoot for that goal and settle for anything better than Michigan State's 28 points against.

Unit PPP YPP YPA Ex. Play Red zone TD
Indiana Offense .53 12.7 6.7 70 (6th) 67%
Ohio State Defense .28 17.2 4.8 24 (3rd) 63%
Sudfeld is a good quarterback for the Hoosiers and should put up some yardsThis has to be the Buckeye gameplan
  • The Hoosiers have found plenty of success on offense, with more explosive plays than even Ohio State. The difference is that Ohio State's offense has been more consistent and more efficient according to the PPP, YPP, and YPA metrics.
  • Another example of explosiveness but inefficiency is in the Hoosier redzone touchdown percentage, where they're only ending with a touchdown 2/3 of the time to Ohio State's almost 4/5.
  • I expect Indiana to score against the Buckeyes. Their strength – explosive passing – might hurt the Buckeyes, especially via short air-yard passes.
  • That quick passing game prevents many sacks. The Hoosier line has only given up 13 sacks, which is one more than the Buckeyes. The line is merely average in line yards and running back block success rate.
  • In explosive play margins, the Buckeyes are +47 and the Hoosiers are just +7 (while sixth overall in total offensive explosive plays). In turnover margin, the Hoosiers are -4 and the Buckeyes are +10. Not difficult to see why one team is 10-0 and the other is 4-6.

The thing is that the Hoosiers really could be a great team. They have an explosive offense that is led by a young quarterback, a line that doesn't give up many sacks, fairly interchangeable receivers (three players have over 500 receiving yards and four have more than 30 receptions), and a young defense. The sack leaders are almost all underclassmen defensive linemen, so there's room to grow. If only the defense could be half as good as its offense and Indiana could really be something. 

Unfortunately for the Buckeye strength of schedule, that's not the case. Expect lots of points, but hope the Buckeyes can keep the Hoosiers under 24 of their own.


Comments Show All Comments

jdagrava.1's picture

This is a chance to prove to the doubters that Ohio State can handle an explosive offense.  Shutting down Indiana much like the Badgers did would be comparable to slowing a Baylor offense.  Hopefully such a display would stick in the minds of voters...
If they even pay attention anymore, that is...

"It takes a little something special to be a great player.  What you got in you, we're going to find out.  And if there's a touch of greatness in there, how cool would that be?"

-Urban F. Meyer

buckeyemanda's picture

Right. Feels like they've already written us off. But we need our D to catch up with our offense and be the powerful, unstoppable force we know we are. Even if it's just for the B1G champ & the Rose Bowl. Next year they will have to take notice.

d1145fresh's picture

The only problem is that the national media has the idea that the B1G is horrid and that includes Indiana... even though IU is actually a pretty decent team with a good offense.

JasonR's picture

I hope Fickell and Withers have been watching the Wisky-Indiana game a lot this week. Wisky certainly found the right formula to stop that offense, and with our talent on D there is no reason why tOSU couldn't shut them down, or at least hold them well below their average.

extemporary08's picture

What, the rain? how do you scheme a defense to create a monsoon?

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

Shutting their offense down is not really going to matter because of what Wisconsin did last weekend.  No one will care that best defense in the country allowed 28 points.  Just like after the NW game, OSU will not be as good as Wisc. because they didn't beat an opponent like Wisc. did....despite beating Wisc. head to head.

Read my entire screen name....

Buckinthemiddle's picture

This has to be a statement game for the defense. They cannot go out and do what they did in the 2nd half last week. While I disagree with how tOSU is perceived nationally, they are under the microscope and for whatever reason voters are looking for any deficiency to use an excuse to drop them in the polls.

"I'm in favor of it" - John McKay, on the execution of his team.

Grayskullsession's picture

Hopefully with most of the starters healthy and returning now that the defense can make a statement and hold them under their points per game average this year.

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

Squirrel Master's picture

I think this game will be different depending on the weather. I know Herman said the wind didn't effect the OSU offense that much but I think it had a profound effect on it. When up 28-0 and the wind causing issues with passes, of course the team would get very vanilla. That had an effect!!
If this game is somewhat tempered weatherwise, I think it will be a blowout. The defense will be healthier and at home (more bodies to play), Bosa will be back and despite Indy's not allowing sacks that will go out the window! Shazier, Spence and Bosa have become a nice little trio of pass rushers. Throw in Bennett who hasn't shown up stat wise lately, and I think Indy is in for a long day.
Now I won't committ to the blowout because Indy is still a dangerous team, but I think the Illini game wasn't a great example of where the team is. Wind, Sheelhouse (leading passer in B1G btw) and some very specific injured players really made this team look worst than it is. I see a bounce back on defense and an Offense that will look to put up some numbers.
Style points is no longer the motivation, getting seniors like Hall and Kenny on the field ASAP will be the biggest motivation this team will have, and I think Indy is in for a long day!

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

mobboss1984's picture

We have to get pressure on the quarterback, and prevent the small yardage. That takes away time for our offense to put more points on the board.I rather them have to go vertical with us and throw deep passes than to have them "dink" and "donk" all the way down in our redzone. Get pressure, force throws and 4 and outs and score on every drive we have.

Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.
Bruce Lee

Hovenaut's picture

I hope (still) the defense scores style points, really want to see Indiana pay for last year.

TMac's picture

A few three & outs, A couple INTs, and a 40+ point victory out to be sufficient payback for daring to challenge us last year. 

ONE Not Done!

Seattle Linga's picture

I feel strongly that the silver bullets will come out guns-a-blazing on Saturday.  Roby & Shazier will be blitzen early and often. We need to have the cleats on the throat for the entire 60. 

00Buck's picture

OHHH  UUGGHHH........EEEWWWW   sorry i'm on the can....  the same damned place an UNDEFEATED BUCKEYES will be IF the DEFENSE becomes a no-show like last week....  I for one don't understand what the problem is....... WHERE THE HELL IS THE CONSISTANCY..... i just don't see it........  I see a repeat of last week if the "D" doesn't come to play......  IS it just me, just a few short years ago....... there was a defense that was known as the Silver Bullet, it seems to me today they bend rather than break.........  I want our KILLER "D" BACK

Upon this Rock, I build my house....and Let no man put asunder

CALPOPPY's picture

It is curious that we struggled so much last week.
If only I could point to some reason why we were inconsistent against Illinois.

I'm a hurtin' buckaroo.

The Buck Guy's picture

I am certain that the Buckeyes will win big, and probably will enjoy their largest score total for the season (yes, even more than against FAMU).
However, Wiscy was lucky to play the Hoosiers in a monsoon. No way that this Buckeyes defense can hold the Hoosier passing game lower than their average. Yes, Spence, Bosa, Bennet and Shazier will have some great plays; but the secondary will give up some huge explosive plays. They just are what they are. Fortunately, it wont matter so much in the big picture as I can see the score being 31-84.

~ The Buck Guy
Go Bucks!!!!