Indiana Debriefing: #VARSITY Flexes Their Muscles Again, Dismantle Hoosiers By 41 Points

By David Wertheim on September 15, 2019 at 8:25 am
J.K. Dobbins
Brian Spurlock- USA TODAY Sports

They tried it again! All week I've had to hear from my Indiana-student friends about how Ohio State better be on upset alert this time against the Hoosiers.

It's the same stuff that they tried last week. We know how that one turned out, too.

I was a little more confident this time around. Tom Allen's "Buster Douglas" rant solidified it. As soon as I saw that air, I knew the Hoosiers were cooked. This one wasn't any prettier for the opposition. Well. I guess Indiana only lost by 41. 

#VARSITY does it again. Let's debrief.

The Short Story

Indiana got whipped, plain and simple. The Buckeyes pounded the Hoosiers for 314 yards on the ground, and racked up 51 points, including this Justin Fields keeper to start off the game.

Ohio State's defense was excellent as well. We will get to them later, but they look like an entirely different unit than last year, which is exactly what the Buckeyes needed to start off the season.

Quick Breakdowns


Ohio State's offense rolled once again in this one. Justin Fields threw for 199 yards and three touchdowns (with a 169.2 passer rating). Master Teague had 10 carries for 106 yards and a long touchdown, while Chris Olave led the wide receivers unit with three catches for 70 yards and a score.

But the big star in this one was J.K. Dobbins. After struggling last year, Dobbins looks pretty dang good here in 2019. He rushed for 193 yards on 22 carries (8.8 ypc), and a touchdown. He also had a receiving score. His rushing touchdown was just pure men-over-boys style running. It was impressive.


Ohio State's defense looks... rejuvenated as well, to say the least. The Swarming D that Tom Allen alluded to in his incredible pre-game pep talk ended up belonging to the Buckeyes.

After shutting out Cincinnati last week, the Buckeyes held Indiana to just 10 points in this one, and if it weren't for a savvy trick play by the Hoosiers, it could have been even less damage inflicted.

Chase Young was his normal self, eating Indiana offensive linemen all day to the tune of 2 sacks (2.5 TFL). Malik Harrison added 1.5 TFL, while Zach Harrison, Tyler Friday, and Javontae Jean-Baptiste each had a sack.

Pete Werner was excellent from the linebacker spot, routinely disrupting Indiana running plays and doing well in pass coverage.

The most impressive player from the day, however, was the oldest man on the unit: defensive back Damon Arnette. Arnette was flying to the football all afternoon, and was excellent in coverage. He was rewarded for his efforts later in the game on another great play.

Who Earned a Buckeye Leaf?

Offense: Justin Fields, J.K. Dobbins, Master Teague, Chris Olave

As we've talked about already, all of these players were mighty impressive. Teague, who has securely taken control of the #2 running back spot from Demario McCall, was powerful all afternoon and scored an impressive touchdown.

Fields looked a little off at times but was pretty good for most of the day. He dropped in a few deep-ball dimes, including this one to Olave.

Defense: Chase Young, Pete Werner, Damon Arnette, Chris Olave

I'm lumping Olave in here because he blocked a punt on special teams. The defense was just really dang solid.

Biggest Surprise

It has to be the defense, right? The offense was great, but had you asked me "which is more likely: Ohio State scoring 51 or holding Indiana to 10" I would have said "scoring 51." 

The defense looked a little bit rough against Florida Atlantic. They cleaned it up big time against Cincy. They continued the dominance against Indiana.

And the best part is: it's not just one unit. The defensive line looks great as usual, Pete Werner and Malik Harrison are balling out at linebacker, and the secondary seems to have returned close to their #BIA status.

It's only been three weeks, but this is very, very encouraging. 

Jim Tressel's Least Favorite Moment

Ah, another noon game. Jim enjoys the nooners because they allow him to eat a nice breakfast and get some work done in the morning, while still also giving him the rest of the day after the game ends.

So after a nice breakfast of orange juice, eggs, and toast, Jim and Ellen settled in on the couch to watch the Buckeyes.

It started off poorly. With the game scoreless, Blake Haubeil lined up on the left hash for a 33-yard field goal... and missed it wide right. 

Jim was beside himself. "How can he miss that in such a crucial spot?"

The Buckeyes played perfect football the rest of the day, though, so it's all good.

Biggest Question Going Forward

Let's be honest: Ohio State's first three opponents are not very good football teams.

It is hard to exactly peg where Ohio State is at this time as a result. That's not saying I'm not super hyped about what has gone on so far this season, but there needs to be the caveat throw in that the Buckeyes have not been tested yet. 

It will come, though. It will come.

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