BLOOMIGTON, Ind. - It wasn't always pretty, but Ohio State walked out of Memorial Stadium with a win Thursday night.
After managing just 13 first half points and five punts, the Buckeyes rebounded with 36 points in the second half to come away with a 49-21 win in the season opener on the road against Indiana.
|#2 OHIO STATE||3||10||22||14||49|
J.K. Dobbins, The Buckeyes were led by true freshman running back J.K. Dobbins who earned a start in his first collegiate game with redshirt sophomore Mike Weber nursing a hamstring injury.
Dobbins, the first true freshman to start a season opener at running back for Ohio State since Maurice Clarett, rushed for an impressive 181 yards on 29 carries. Dobbins' performance bested Clarett's debut from 15 years ago. The former OSU running back rushed for 175 yards against Texas Tech in 2002.
After the Buckeyes and Hoosiers accounted for 10 punts between them in the first half, the third quarter featured plenty of the opposite.
Ohio State opened moved the ball into enemy territory thanks to a 24-yard burst from Dobbins on its first possession of the second half. On 3rd-and-short, Barrett found a streaking Parris Campbell in the end zone, only for Campbell to drop a would-be score. The Buckeyes went for the ensuing 4th-and-short and failed to come with a first down as wide receiver K.J. Hill came up short on a run play.
The Ohio State defense was able to get another stop however, and the Buckeyes capped their second drive of the second half with a 2-yard rushing score from Barrett to give OSU a 20-14 lead.
On the following Indiana possession, quarterback Richard Lagow appeared to fumble the football, which was picked up and returned for a score by Ohio State defensive tackle Robert Landers.
|596||NET TOTAL YARDS||437|
|5.7||AVERAGE PER RUSH||0.6|
|15.2||AVERAGE PER COMPLETION||10.0|
|14||RUSHING 1st DOWNS||1|
|10||PASSING 1st DOWNS||22|
|2||PENALTY 1st DOWNS||2|
|6.9||YARDS PER PLAY||4.6|
The play was reviewed and ruled an incomplete pass however, and the Hoosiers would retake the lead later in the drive with a Lagow touchdown pass to Ian Thomas, his second of the game. The score gave Indiana its last lead of the game at 21-20 with 4:56 remaining in the third quarter.
After briefly trailing by a point, Barrett found Campbell on a short pass, which the Akron, Ohio product took 75-yards up the Ohio State sideline for a touchdown, his first career receiving score. The touchdown gave the Buckeyes a 27-21 lead, which the visitors did not surrender.
The Ohio State offense kept its foot on the gas from that point on, as two of the next three Buckeye possessions resulted in touchdown passes by Barrett. The redshirt senior found Johnnie Dixon for a 59-yard score late in the third quarter and after a punt, found Binjimen Victor for an 11-yard score with 12:08 to play in the contest. Barrett finished the night 20-of-35, with 304 passing yards and three touchdowns to zero interceptions.
When the first half kicked off, it looked as though Kevin Wilson's presence would make an immediate impact on the Buckeye offense.
Ohio State, receiving the ball to start the game, marched 66 yards down the field as Barrett completed his first four passes for 55 yards, including a pass to Dobbins on a wheel route out of the backfield. Barrett's fifth pass was thrown away on a 3rd-and-7 from the Indiana 10-yard line and Ohio State settled for a 27-yard field goal from Sean Nuernberger.
The Hoosiers answered with an 11-play, 87 yard drive that was capped with an 18-yard touchdown pass from Lagow to Thomas. The play was initially called incomplete, but after further review, it was determined Thomas was able to drag his right foot inbounds for the score.
After both teams traded punts for seven consecutive drives, the Hoosiers were able to move the ball inside the Ohio State 15-yard line. On 3rd-and-5 from the Buckeye 14, Lagow threw a pass to the corner of the end zone, which was tipped by Kendall Sheffield and intercepted by safety Jordan Fuller.
The sophomore, starting his first game, returned the ball to the Ohio State 40-yard line with 11:23 left in the second quarter.
Following an Indiana pass interference penalty, Dobbins ripped off a 35-yard scamper to set up Ohio State with a 1st-and-goal from the Indiana 10-yard line.
The Buckeye offense stalled, however, as Barrett threw two incompletions before coming up short of the goal-line on a third-down rush attempt. Ohio State settled for another short field goal, as Indiana kept the lead at 7-6.
The Hoosiers responded with a quick two-minute drive that resulted in a touchdown pass from Lagow to Simmie Cobbs. On the drive, Lagow targeted Cobbs five times, the last of which resulted in an 8-yard score, giving Indiana a 14-6 lead with 8:12 left in the first half.
Lagow finished the night with 410 passing yards, 149 of which went to Cobbs. Lagow also threw two interceptions, the second of which was picked off by Denzel Ward in the fourth quarter.
The Buckeyes began to lean on Dobbins on their next drive, giving the true freshman four straight carries, the last of which resulted in a 27-yard run down to the Indiana 9-yard line.
After an 8-yard quarterback keeper from Barrett, Antonio Williams plunged into the end zone from one yard out, bringing Ohio State within one at 14-13.
Williams would also score Ohio State's last touchdown of the game, as he fell into the end zone on a 5-yard score with 3:55 remaining in the contest. He finished with 44 rushing yards on seven carries.
- Dobbins is only the sixth true freshman to start in the first game of the season. The others are QB Art Schlichter in 1978, LT Orlando Pace in 1995, LB Andy Katzenmoyer in 1996, Clarett in 2002 and RG Michael Jordan in 2016.
- Dobbins set a school record with 181 yards in his first game, breaking the old mark of 175 yards set by Clarett in a 45-21 win over Texas Tech in 2002.
- Williams carried the ball seven times for 44 yards and scored twice, the first two touchdowns of his career.
- With a five-yard pass completion to WR K.J. Hill on the second play from scrimmage in the first quarter, Barrett broke Ohio State’s all-time record for total offense, passing Schlichter with 8,851 yards.
- Nine players made their first career start: WR Austin Mack, WR K.J. Hill, RB J.K. Dobbins and RG Branden Bowen on offense; DL Jalyn Holmes and Nick Bosa, CBs Denzel Ward and Damon Arnette and safety Jordan Fuller on defense.
- The second-quarter INT by Fuller was the first of his career and fifth for the Buckeye secondary over the last two seasons that was returned for 40 yards or more.
- The 181 yards rushing from Dobbins was a 14-game high, dating back to Ezekiel Elliott’s 214-yard performance at Michigan on Nov. 28, 2015.
- Senior DE Tyquan Lewis moved in to ninth place on the all-time sacks list with 18.5.
- Campbell set a career high with 136 yards receiving.
- WR Johnnie Dixon’s 59-yard third-quarter touchdown reception was the first of his career.