No. 2 Ohio State enjoyed a plethora of positive moments during a 56-14 drubbing of Indiana yesterday in Ohio Stadium while moving to 10-0 on the season.
In the feel-good happening of the year, wide receiver Kamryn Babb, after enduring four ACL tears and other maladies over the last many seasons, snagged his first career touchdown catch to cap the scoring. The Ohio State bench went wild in celebration of Babb's moment, and the captain rightfully soaked it all in.
The Buckeyes also saw quarterback C.J. Stroud turn in a big performance as the Heisman frontrunner threw for 297 yards and five touchdowns.
Meanwhile, the running game cranked out a season-high 340 yards on 7.9 yards per carry. Tailback Miyan Williams went for 147 yards on 9.8 per attempt before a lower right leg injury ended his day prematurely. Williams indicated he was "good" afterward but an extended absence would be a major blow to Ohio State's national championship hopes.
Salute to reserve right tackle Josh Fryar who was a beast spelling starter Dawand Jones, particularly run blocking, all afternoon. It was Indiana but he frankly looked better in the run game than Dawand has in weeks.
With a 42-point win in the books, Ohio State has one last chance to tune things up before The Game, as they head to Maryland next Saturday. For now though, here are Five Things from the latest demolition of Tom Allen's Hoosiers.
MARVIN BILETNIKOFF JR.
Joel Klatt says it every week and it's true every week: Marvin Harrison Jr. is the best wide receiver in college football.
Harrison put his unmatched body control on display again yesterday on the way to seven catches for 135 yards and a touchdown. He added 18 rushing yards via a reverse showing excellent patience and vision while sneaking up the left sideline. His run set up 1st-and-Goal at the Indiana 5-yard line and Ohio State punched it in three plays later to lead 7-0.
A few series later, Harrison dusted his man on a simple post pattern for a 58-yard touchdown strike putting the Buckeyes in front 21-0.
On a 2nd-and-13 snap a bit later, he made a spinning catch, adjusting to a back shoulder throw for 25 yards. He made it look so easy it took a few replays to realize just how sick of a catch it actually was.
Ew! pic.twitter.com/1SeyH2SJ7X— Eleven Warriors (@11W) November 12, 2022
But then he made that catch look like child's play with this 12-yard snag on 3rd-and-9. His footwork, and again the body control, are just next level.
Marvin Harrison Jr. is UNREAL— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) November 12, 2022
What a grab this was by the @OhioStateFB WR pic.twitter.com/YgNlL9akEM
And to round out an excellent all-around performance, he helped spring Xavier Johnson's long touchdown run with a key block.
This block by Marvin Harrison Jr. during Xavier Johnson's TD run @OhioStateFB pic.twitter.com/qBVJbfOrSe— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) November 12, 2022
With his 135-yard day, Harrison now has 969 for the season, just 31 shy of 1,000. It's a formality at this point but he's about to be just the eighth Buckeye in school history to break the 1,000-yard receiving yards barrier.
THIRD AND SHORT STILL AN ISSUE
Despite putting up 56 points and 622 yards, Ryan Day's offense again struggled in short yardage, converting just 2-of-6 third down tries of between 1-4 yards.
On the bright side, one of the two conversions saw Miyan Williams race 48 yards for a touchdown. On the dark side, Ohio State ran it four other times on 3rd-and-short and gained a combined five yards with a long of three.
The other conversion came as Dallan Hayden cranked out three yards on 3rd-and-1.
The unimpressive 3rd-and-short display came after the Buckeyes converted just 3-of-7 such scenarios against Northwestern and 1-of-2 against Penn State before that, meaning Day's offense has converted only six of its last 15 attempts to move the chains on 3rd-and-short.
Insult to injury came after one 3rd-and-short failure as Day inexplicably dialed up a Mitch Rossi fullback dive on 4th-and-1 which resulted in a 1-yard loss.
RIDE THE D
Indiana's offense is a disaster but Ohio State's defense did what it should do against a bad team.
The Buckeyes held the Hoosiers to 269 total yards, forcing nine 3-and-outs on 16 possessions, good for 56%. Thirteen of 16 Hoosier possessions failed to generate at least 25 yards.
Ohio State flat out owned third down, stopping Indiana on 14-of-17 conversion attempts including an impressive seven stops on nine third down tries with just 1-4 yards to go. On those nine downs, the Buckeyes held Indiana to 2.2 yards per carry on six attempts.
The Hoosiers weren't any better through the air completing just 9-of-24 passes (38%) for 119 yards. Forty-nine of those yards, or 41% of their game total, came on one play and one of their two touchdowns came via an 18-yard drive after Ohio State reserve Reis Stocksdale muffed a punt.
Three of Ohio State's 10 tackles for loss (OSU's 2nd-most this season) came from Tommy Eichenberg. The middle linebacker added nine stops and a quarterback hurry.
Fellow linebacker Steele Chambers had one of his better outings with 10 stops, Lathan Ransom was all over the field with nine tackles, 1.5 sacks, a pass breakup and a blocked punt, and Ronnie Hickman continued his steady season with a pair or breakups and a tackle for loss.
DALLAN LOOKS THE PART
During last week's struggles at Northwestern, I was hoping true freshman tailback Dallan Hayden would get some snaps because he typically looks to get north-and-south despite not being all that big whereas Miyan Williams was running sideways far too much versus the Wildcats, particularly in the first half.
After Williams went down yesterday against Indiana, Ryan Day had no choice but to give his young back plenty of touches and Hayden responded with 102 yards on 5.2 yards per attempt with a touchdown.
With TreVeyon Henderson and Williams both missing full and partial games this season and Williams obviously forced to leave yesterday, it feels like Ohio State is going to need Hayden down the stretch. The fact is, both Henderson and Williams, even if they return together, now have history of fairly constant bumps and bruises.
Hayden showed excellent burst as he raced untouched for a 14-yard score on his first carry of the afternoon, giving the Buckeyes a 14-0 lead late in the first quarter. He would continue hitting holes with purpose once Williams was out, allowing him to get into a decent groove.
The youngster has carried the ball at least 10 times in three different games this season and he's averaging 5.6 yards on 50 carries across those three outings.
- Indiana: 19 carries, 102 yards, 5.4 per attempt, 1 TD
- Michigan State: 14 carries, 70 yards, 5.0 per attempt, 0 TD
- Toledo: 17 carries, 108 yards, 6.4 per attempt, 1 TD
No doubt Ohio State needs to get its 1-2 punch back but Hayden is no slouch.
CADE BOUNCES BACK
A week after he wasn't very useful in the run game due to missed blocks and dropped a pass or two against Northwestern, tight end Cade Stover made plays all over the field against the Hoosiers.
Most importantly, Stover teamed with Josh Fryar to spring a handful of big gainers in the run game as Ohio State enjoyed success all day running to the right side of the line.
In the pass game, Stover boosted the offense with three catches for 45 yards, with two of his grabs going for touchdowns on back-to-back drives in the third quarter.
Any of you reading this would've hauled in the first as Ryan Day dialed up a perfect play on 2nd-and-Goal from the 1-yard line as Stover feigned a block before sliding into a wide open left corner of the end zone where a C.J. Stroud lob found him easily.
Can we interest anyone in a Cade Stover touchdown?pic.twitter.com/1cvXo7jZno— Eleven Warriors (@11W) November 12, 2022
The second one however saw Stover get free on a drag before he showcased his athletic ability with a solid cut and determination to find the end zone.
Can we interest anyone in ANOTHER Cade Stover touchdown? pic.twitter.com/tgdv0pYwlP— Eleven Warriors (@11W) November 12, 2022
No question, Ohio State's offense is more dangerous when Stover is performing consistently as a blocker and pass catcher.