While Ohio State had its share of scares on the scoreboard against Indiana, the scariest moment at Ohio Stadium on Saturday came after the Buckeyes took a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter of their eventual 49-26 win.
Just seconds after a 17-yard touchdown pass from Dwayne Haskins to Terry McLaurin that put the Buckeyes up 42-26, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer dropped to one knee on the sideline and grabbed the left side of his head, prompting attention from team doctor Chris Kaeding and athletic trainer Doug Calland.
Fortunately, Meyer was able to get back to his feet and coach the remainder of the game. Meeting with the media after the game, Meyer said he was suffering from a headache.
“I’ve dealt with headaches in the past, just dealing with a headache,” Meyer said.
Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman reported during the game broadcast that Meyer collided with a staffer while running along the sideline. Meyer, however, did not indicate after the game that a collision had anything to do with his pain.
Meyer has battled headaches over the years as a result of an arachnoid cyst. He underwent minor surgery in 2014 to remove a small fluid collection related to the cyst to alleviate headaches that he had been experiencing at the time.
Cooper, Harrison leave game early
Ohio State linebacker Malik Harrison intercepted a two-point conversion pass attempt by Indiana quarterback Peyton Ramsey in the end zone during the third quarter of Saturday’s game, and he nearly had a shot to return it for two points the other way. Harrison ran the ball back along the sideline past the 40-yard line before being tripped up by Indiana left tackle Coy Cronk.
That effort, however, might have come at a cost not only to Harrison, but also to one of his fellow defensive starters.
Harrison did not return to the game after that play, and neither did defensive end Jonathon Cooper, who was also tripped up running down the field on Harrison’s return and landed awkwardly, rolling in the ground in apparent pain before walking off the field.
Both players were carted back to the locker room before the end of the third quarter.
It was not clear what either of their injuries were, and Meyer did not specify after the game, saying only that both players were “still being evaluated.”
Justin Hilliard took Harrison’s place in the lineup at outside linebacker in the base defense after Harrison left the game, while Baron Browning filled in for Harrison in the nickel defense. Jashon Cornell, Tyler Friday and Tyreke Smith were among the Buckeyes who saw additional playing time at defensive end, where Nick Bosa also remains sidelined after undergoing core muscle surgery last month, after Cooper exited the contest.
On the other end of the spectrum, Ohio State defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones and cornerback Damon Arnette were in the lineup and able to play the entire game after leaving in the fourth quarter of the Buckeyes’ previous game against Penn State with injuries. Jones, who suffered a foot injury against the Nittany Lions, said the health of his foot was “about 80 percent” after Saturday’s game.
Wint starts, Wade and Riep play at safety
With Isaiah Pryor suspended for the first half of Saturday’s game after being penalized for targeting during the fourth quarter of the Penn State game, one of the biggest questions entering the day was who would start at safety in his place.
The answer to that question ended up being the expected answer, as Jahsen Wint – who also started alongside Pryor in the season opener, which Jordan Fuller missed due to injury – started alongside Fuller on Saturday.
Wint, however, ended up being on the wrong end of multiple big plays hit by Indiana’s offense in the first half, and was benched for the Buckeyes’ final two defensive series of the second quarter in favor of Shaun Wade. With Wade going back to his regular role of slot cornerback when the Buckeyes put their nickel defense on the field, Amir Riep also saw playing time at safety on the final defensive series of the first half.
Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano said after the game that “experience was the biggest thing” in the decision to start Wint in Pryor’s place, but Schiano said Wade – who has only been practicing at safety for the past five weeks after being asked to start working at that position after the season opener against Oregon State – “came in and did fine” when the Buckeyes called on him to replace Wint in the lineup.
“Shaun's trajectory is going like this,” Schiano said, moving his hand in an upward motion. “He's doing well with the nickel position. I think he'll grow in the safety position. It's only been a couple weeks now. He's accelerating quickly.”
Pryor did return to the lineup alongside Fuller in the second half of Saturday’s game, and after allowing Indiana to score 20 points on 317 yards of offense in the first and second quarters, Ohio State’s defense only gave up six points on 89 yards of offense in the third and fourth periods.
Fuller said he thought Pryor did make a difference for the Buckeyes in the final 30 minutes, but also that he thought the entire defense stepped up its play.
“Isaiah’s a great player for us,” Fuller said. “I would say it was the whole defense though.”
Campbell has another big game
While Meyer wasn’t particularly pleased with how his team played on Saturday – particularly with its passing defense and rushing offense – one player who drew the head coach’s praise, when he was asked to rate the Buckeyes’ performance, was wide receiver Parris Campbell.
“How would I rate it?” Meyer questioned. “If I'm Parris Campbell, it's a hell of game.”
Just two weeks removed from setting career-highs in receptions (eight), receiving yards (147) and receiving touchdowns (two) against Tulane, Campbell had an equally impressive performance against the Hoosiers, catching a new career-high of nine passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns.
He turned a drag route into an 18-yard touchdown in the second quarter of Saturday’s game, then took advantage of a coverage bust by the Indiana defense to score a 71-yard touchdown in the third quarter, marking the third straight year that Campbell scored a touchdown of 70-plus yards against the Hoosiers.
On a day that Haskins tied Ohio State’s single-game record with six passing touchdowns and threw for 455 yards, the second-highest single-game total in school history, Campbell was far from the only Ohio State receiver to have a productive day.
McLaurin also caught two touchdown passes on four total receptions for 59 yards. Johnnie Dixon caught five passes for 73 yards, including a 39-yard touchdown. Austin Mack caught five passes for 49 yards, K.J. Hill caught four passes for 46 yards and Binjimen Victor caught two passes for 43 yards, including a spectacular catch at the back of the end zone for a 30-yard touchdown.