Indiana Debriefing: Ohio State Turns in Dominant Performance By Establishing Run Game and Overwhelming the Hoosier Lines

By Andy Vance on November 13, 2022 at 9:35 am
Lathan Ransom

Last week, we let Chop summarize the Northwestern game via Tweet to open the Debriefing, and it just felt right to give him the first word again this week.

True, Chop. True.

Let's break it down.


Ohio State returned to the friendly confines of The Horseshoe, and although the snow swirled a wee bit from time to time, the Buckeyes turned in the performance fans expected to see a week ago, running roughshod over an outmanned, overmatched Big Ten basement dweller.

Injury concerns with the running backs continue to be a thing as Miyan Williams went off the field on a cart, but not before rushing for nearly 150 yards on the day. Marvelous Marvin Harrison Jr. continued to be marvelous, and seven different players (plus C.J. Stroud, of course) found the end zone Saturday.

To borrow a quote from Ice Cube, "It was a good day."



It's important to note that Indiana is not a good football team (yes, we said the same thing about Northwestern last week, but it's important to be up front about these). But after three straight weeks of consternation about the Buckeye rushing attack, it was good to see the home team finally break one open on the ground.

Williams ran for 147 before leaving the game with an injury, and Dallan Hayden once again stepped up admirably and ran for another hundred-plus himself. In fact, Ohio State actually ran for more yardage than it passed, going 340 on the ground and 322 in the air; talk about balance, that's pretty well balanced.

Fans of the Eleven Dubcast heard scheme master Kyle Jones say that the woes of the ground game were not difficult to solve, a theme he elaborated on in this week's Film Study. Saturday's game gave further credence to the notion, as some adjustments to the offensive line in terms of personnel, and some additional creativity in playcalling put the team in the best position to move the ball and impose its will to an extent on a defensive line that just simply couldn't match up.

If there are nits to pick, it's that Ohio State still struggled a bit in short yardage situations, most notably on 4th and 1 from the Indiana 17 when fullback Mitch Rossi actually lost a yard and the Buckeyes turned the ball over on downs.

The passing game was back on track as well; without 40mph winds to get in the way, Stroud threw for just shy of 300 yards and five touchdowns. He sailed a couple here and there, but he and his receivers made some spectacular plays on the day, averaging nearly 17 yards per completion.

Helmet Stickers
  1. Miyan Williams: The team's leading rusher once again; when he gets going north and south, it's a beautiful thing to behold.
  2. C.J. Stroud: Became the first QB in conference history to throw for 30 TDs in consecutive seasons.
  3. Marvin Harrison Jr.: Marvelous Marvin was just that, hauling in seven catches for 135 yards, including one sideline completion that looked physically impossible, something we've seen him do at least a dozen times.
  4. Cade Stover: Was back in Farmer Gronk mode, catching three passes, two of which were touchdowns.
  5. Xavier Johnson: Professor X ran for 71 yards on his lone carry, caught both passes thrown his way for 47 yards, and recovered a blocked punt. Not bad!


Through 10 games, Ohio State's defense is ranked seventh out of 131 FBS teams in the country in points allowed per game. The Debriefing has maintained all season that Ohio State doesn't need a top-five defense to win championships, but Jim Knowles said he came to build a top-five defense, and by god, he's pretty close to having made it happen.

Indiana was able to complete just 38% of its passes, with Dexter Williams II going 6-of-19 passing for 107 yards, and although two of those completions were touchdowns, it was still a pretty solid outing for the Buckeye pass defense.

Lathan Ransom was lethal, racking up nine tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1.5 tackles for loss, a pass break up, and most impressively, a blocked punt that put Ohio State in a 1st and Goal to go situation.

Steele Chambers and Tommy Eichenberg both had great days, as well, and overall the defense logged four sacks and 10 TFLs.

Through 10 games, the defense is allowing just 161 yards per game through the air and only 110 on the ground, for an average total yards allowed of 271.5. It's hard to oversell what the program has accomplished defensively this season.

Helmet Stickers
  1. Lathan Ransom: Tackles, sacks, TFLs, blocked punt... what more can you ask for?
  2. "Rocket" Ronnie Hickman: Arguably the best defender on the team; 1 sack, 1 TFL, 2 PBUs.
  3. The Defensive Line: Made the Indiana offensive line's life a living hell for four quarters.


At this point in the season, we've seen enough and it's time to retire this segment of the program. This program is on the cusp of having a top-five defense, so it's no longer appropriate to have a regular Debriefing segment with the word "suck" in the heading.

Friends, this defense is solid. May be fair to say it's damn good, actually.

Tip o' the cap to Jim Knowles, Tim Walton, Perry Eliano, and the Living Legend Larry Johnson (may he live forever), what they've done in Columbus in 10 months is one of the most incredible sports things I've seen.


Coach Tressel is a man who appreciates details. He is a patient man and appreciates a pastime that allows him to focus his energy and center his mind. He spent the morning working on his model of the USS Constellation, which was nearly ready to go inside the bottle.

He'd decided he wanted to build it after taking the tour in Baltimore a few years back when he and Miss Ellen watched the Independence Day fireworks over the Inner Harbor.

Things were coming together nicely, and he was working on a bit of the rigging while listening to the College GameDay pregame show. Such was his calm that he barely rolled his eyes when Michigan Man Desmond Howard spouted off about Ohio State struggling with any "team with a pulse."

"Hmmm, sounds like Michigan these past 20 years," The Vest mused to himself while finishing a fairly delicate bit of work on the triple-masted sloop.

He'd long since forgotten about Howard's nonsensical natterings by the time the game started, and was more than pleased to see the adjustments Coach Day had made to his running game. Miyan Williams continued to impress the old ball coach, running with purpose and controlling the game.

But it was a good thing he had put down his tools and brushes late in the first half, with Ohio State facing a 4th-and-1 in the red zone.

"Excellent, now we'll see if Coach Day has really taken the lesson to heart," The Distinguished Gentleman from Youngstown said to Lady Ellen, who had been nearby planning her Thanksgiving Day luncheon menu.

Tressel was sorely disappointed with the result, however, as fullback Mitch Rossi took the handoff and was promptly stuffed behind the line of scrimmage, handing the Hoosiers back the ball.

"Blow me down, of all the chowder-headed ways to get a simple yard, that was not it," Tressel fumed. "Two steps forward and three steps back."


...Miyan Williams scored Ohio State's fourth touchdown of the day, putting the Buckeyes up 28-7 before halftime. Ohio State couldn't be stopped by the Hoosier defense, and the Buckeye defense was as good as advertised.

UP NEXT: Ohio State travels to College Park to face Maryland. Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. on ABC

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