Indiana Week Mic Check: Ohio State's Deep Passing Game Versus Indiana's Secondary a Key Matchup To Watch on Saturday

By Chris Lauderback on October 20, 2021 at 3:05 pm
Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave celebrate another big play touchdown.

Ohio State kicks off the second half of the regular season slate this Saturday night in Bloomington against the 2-4 Indiana Hoosiers. 

The Buckeyes are a 19-point favorite, and frankly I think they'll roll, but conference road games, at night, don't always unfold as the layups they might appear to be on paper. 

Ryan Day surely knows his team is better than Indiana but after a week off, he's focused on making sure the Buckeyes are ready to play and aren't taking a win for granted, especially after smoking Rutgers and Maryland by a combined score of 118-30 in back-to-back contests leading up to the open week. 

I guess we'll find out how good Indiana really is but it's safe bet Day is reminding his team that while the Hoosiers have already lost four games, they've come against highly ranked opponents in Iowa, Cincinnati, Penn State and Michigan State. 

Day said as much during his session with the media yesterday afternoon. 

They always have good scheme and they always play us hard.. Indiana is much better than their record indicates.– Ryan Day

While the Buckeyes should have the edge in numerous matchups, one particular facet where the Hoosiers might think they stack up fairly well, on paper at least, is in their pass defense. 

Indiana enters Saturday's contest ranked a respectable 49th in the country allowing 209 passing yards per game. That said, they rank No. 11 nationally in yards allowed per passing attempt at 6.0, No. 22 giving up just 16 pass plays of 20 yards or longer and No. 3 giving up just four pass plays over 30 yards through six games. Indiana has yet to give up a pass play of 40 or more yards so far this season - only three other teams can say that at this point in the season. 

For comparison sake, Ohio State's first six opponents have proven far more prone to giving up 20+ yard passing plays, with all of them allowing at least 20. Of course, a fair share of those have come at the hands of the Buckeyes. Still, Minnesota (73rd), Oregon (61st), Tulsa (112th), Akron (96th), Rutgers (T-101st) and Maryland rank far below the Hoosiers in surrendering pass plays of 20 or more yards. 

Indiana is one of just four FBS teams yet to give up a pass play of 40 yards or more so far this season.

Meanwhile, with C.J. Stroud finding his way and throwing to elite targets in Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State ranks No. 6 in the land with 36 pass plays of at least 20 yards. 

Stroud has 14 such completions over the last two games with eight against Maryland and six against Rutgers, along with two 19-yard throws against the Scarlet Knights. 

Overall, Ohio State's offense is averaging 16.9 yards per catch with Smith-Njigba leading the way (19.7) among the Big Three and Wilson not too far behind at 17.6. On the other side of the ball, Indiana is allowing 10.5 yards per catch. 

We'll see if Indiana has the horses to keep up with Ohio State's elite passing attack. Whichever team wins this game within the game will most likely advance to the winner's circle on Saturday night. 

View 18 Comments