Saturday’s game wasn’t the prettiest game for Ohio State, but it certainly could have been much worse.
After coming back from a multi-score deficit to beat Penn State at Ohio Stadium in 2017, the Buckeyes had a major letdown at Iowa one week later, suffering a 55-24 loss to the Hawkeyes.
The Buckeyes did appear to suffer from some Happy Valley hangover on Saturday, but they ultimately did what they needed to do to take care of business and defeat Indiana, 49-26, and improve to 6-0 at Ohio Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
|#3 OHIO STATE
As dreaded, Ohio State got the game off to a slow start. The Buckeyes gave up a 45-yard run to Indiana’s Stevie Scott on their opening defensive series before holding the Hoosiers to a 37-yard field goal, then turned the ball on their opening offensive possession on a fumble by Mike Weber, giving Indiana an early 3-0 lead.
Ohio State used all three of their first-half timeouts in its first nine minutes of the game, including two on its second defensive series. But the Buckeyes were able to force a turnover on downs on that series when Indiana decided to go for it and 4th-and-3, and Pete Werner forced an incomplete pass with effective coverage.
The Buckeyes reached the end zone on each of their next two possessions, with Dobbins running the ball in for a 1-yard touchdown and Haskins hitting Johnnie Dixon on a perfectly thrown deep ball for a 39-yard touchdown, to take a 14-3 lead early in the second quarter.
Peyton Ramsey and the Hoosiers quickly responded, however, by completing four passes of 10-plus yards in five plays on their next possession, concluding with a 32-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Peyton Hendershot to cut Ohio State’s lead to 14-10.
On Ohio State’s next possession, Haskins was hit as he threw and his pass ended up in the hands of Indiana cornerback Devon Matthews for Haskins’ third interception of the season. Indiana proceeded to pass the ball all over the Ohio State defense once again on its next possession, capping that drive with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Ramsey to Nick Westbrook – even with pass interference by Ohio State cornerback Jeffrey Okudah – to take a 17-14 lead with 7:04 to play in the second quarter.
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The Buckeyes retook the lead on their next possession with a six-play, 75-yard drive, capped by an 18-yard touchdown pass from Haskins to Parris Campbell. Ohio State linebacker Tuf Borland forced a fumble on the first play from scrimmage on Indiana’s next possession, which Jordan Fuller recovered, and the Buckeyes took advantage of the short field with another touchdown, this time on a 7-yard pass from Haskins to Terry McLaurin, to move back ahead by two scores.
The Hoosiers drove back down the field for another 37-yard field goal before halftime, but Ohio State took a 28-20 lead into halftime.
The Buckeyes extended their lead to 15 less than one minute into the second half when the Hoosiers left Campbell wide open for a 71-yard catch-and-run touchdown. After that, though, Ohio State wouldn’t score again for the rest of the third quarter.
After the teams traded 3-and-outs on their next possessions, Tyreke Smith and Dre’Mont Jones converged on Peyton Ramsey for a strip sack – with Smith recording the first sack of his career, and Jones forcing the fumble – which Jones recovered for Ohio State. Ohio State failed to take advantage of the short field, however, failing to gain a single first down as Dobbins was stopped short of the line-to-make on 4th-and-1.
On the first play of Indiana’s subsequent possession, Ramsey connected with Westbrook for a 38-yard pass to bring the Hoosiers back to the red zone. Following a 4th-and-1 conversion on a run up the middle by Scott, Ramsey hit Donovan Hale for a 3-yard touchdown three plays later to cut Ohio State’s lead to 35-26. The Hoosiers attempted a two-point conversion, but Ramsey’s pass attempt was picked off by Malik Harrison.
Haskins threw his second interception of the game on Ohio State’s next possession – once again hit as he threw, with Bryant Fitzgerald picking off the pass for Indiana this time – to give the Hoosiers another short field. They gained just one first down, however, before punting the ball back to the Buckeyes.
Indiana’s offense got another opportunity on its next possession, as Drue Chrisman shanked a 31-yard punt from the 2-yard line. The Hoosiers failed to take advantage again, throwing three incomplete passes before Justus missed a 50-yard field goal attempt.
That allowed Ohio State to finally retake a two-score lead on its next possession, with 12:21 to play in the game, when Haskins connected with McLaurin for a 17-yard touchdown.
Ohio State finally put the game away for good with 6:51 left to play, when Binjimen Victor stretched out over the back line of the end zone to make a spectacular 30-yard touchdown catch – on Haskins’ school record-tying sixth touchdown pass of the game – to extend the Buckeyes’ lead to 49-26.
Haskins finished Saturday's game with 455 passing yards, three yards short of Art Schlichter’s single-game school passing record.
- Borland, Campbell, Dixon and Fuller were the game captains for Saturday's coin toss.
- Jahsen Wint made his second start of the season at safety with Isaiah Pryor suspended for the first half of the game. However, Shaun Wade replaced Wint in the lineup before the end of the first half. With Wade playing slot cornerback in the nickel defense, Amir Riep also saw playing time at safety. Pryor returned to the lineup at safety for the second half of the game.
- Former Ohio State defenders Malik Hooker, Tyquan Lewis and Tracy Sprinkle were at Ohio Stadium for Saturday's game and recognized during a media timeout in the second quarter.
- 104,193 was the official attendance for Saturday's game.
- Harrison and Jonathon Cooper were both carted back to the locker room late in the third quarter with undisclosed injuries.
- Urban Meyer was briefly tended to during the fourth quarter after colliding with a staffer while running along the sideline. Meyer was able to continue coaching the game, though, and was fine after briefly receiving attention. Meyer said after the game that he was suffering from a headache.
- Ohio State improved to 72-19-5 all-time in homecoming games.
- The win was the Buckeyes’ 11th in a row, marking the second-longest winning streak in FBS.
- Indiana’s 37-yard field goal marked the first points Ohio State’s defense has given up on the opening possession this season.
- J.K. Dobbins’ 23-yard reception in the first quarter was a career long.
- Dwayne Haskins has at least two touchdown passes in each game this season and at least three in five of six contests. He has 25 scoring strikes on the year against just four interceptions.
- Haskins’ 33 completions were a career-high that also tied an Ohio State single-game record.
- All three fifth-year senior wide receiver captains – Campbell, Dixon and McLaurin – now have double-digit touchdown receptions for their career. McLaurin has 14, Dixon 11 and Campbell 10.
- Campbell has produced plays of 70-plus yards in each of the last three meetings vs. Indiana, with a 91-yard kick return in 2016 and a 74-yard TD reception in 2017.
- K.J. Hill extended his streak of games with a reception to 26 contests. Hill has at least four receptions in every game this season.
- The contest was the second time this season that Campbell recorded two touchdown receptions, along with the game against Tulane. His nine receptions were a career-best.
- The game also was the second time in McLaurin’s career in which he notched two receiving scores after doing so earlier this season against Oregon State.
- Borland tied his career-high two tackles for loss set against Michigan State last season.