Ohio State Football: What To Watch For Versus Indiana

Oct 1, 2016; Columbus, OH, USA; A general view of pregame ceremonies before tje game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Ohio Stadium. Ohio State won the game 58-0. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2016; Columbus, OH, USA; A general view of pregame ceremonies before tje game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Ohio Stadium. Ohio State won the game 58-0. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports /

The Big Ten schedule schedule continues this weekend for Ohio State as they take on Indiana.

Apparently, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer doesn’t buy the fact that the Buckeyes are a 28 point favorite over the Indiana Hoosiers. IU is heading into Columbus, Ohio with a tough defense and is coming off of a big win over Michigan State. At 3-1, this isn’t the same Indiana squad Buckeye fans are used to seeing on the schedule and chalking up a win. FoS has what to watch for this week.

1. Indiana Can Play Some Defense

For the second week in a row, Ohio State looks to punish a defense that sits just outside of the top 25 in total defense. Indiana currently is 26th nationally in total yards allowed, a stat in which Ohio State leads. However, it is a slightly misleading number, as Indiana sits outside of the top 50 nationally against both the pass and the run.

What makes the defense something to watch is simply their improvement from last year. Indiana’s defense was easily one of the worst units in college football in 2015.

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They have jumped 77 spots up in the national standings in scoring defense alone. In a conference with three teams within range of the playoffs, that kind of improvement can at least give the Hoosiers a puncher’s chance against arguably the best offense in college football.

2. Which Richard Lagow Shows Up?

In the upset of Sparty, Indiana’s starting quarterback Richard Lagow did it all. He threw for 276 yards and two touchdowns and even caught a 5-yard touchdown in the win.

He led the Hoosier offense to score 21 unanswered points in the second half and responded after Michigan State’s own late score to secure an overtime win. The problem for Indiana is that the week before Lagow threw five interceptions in a loss to lowly Wake Forest.

Sure, Lagow put up 496 yards and three touchdowns, but those five drive killing picks sealed the deal against the Demon Deacons. He led an offense that outgained Wake Forest by over 250 yards and lost at home.

If this is the Richard Lagow that shows up, we’ll see defensive backs Marshon Lattimore, Malik Hooker, and the rest of defensive coordinator Greg Schiano’s group put on quite a show.

3.Be Ready To Stop The Run

When Indiana runs the ball, they win. In the loss to Wake Forest, they only gained 115 yards on the ground. When they win, they average 196.3 yards rushing. IU haven’t won in blow outs either, winning by a modest average of 12.7 points per game.

As the aforementioned Lagow can often throw it to the wrong team, perhaps Indiana should try to focus on the ground game. This runs counter to the fact that they are second in the Big Ten in passing offense so far in 2016.

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Devine Redding enters as the Hoosier’s leading rusher with 83 carries for 413 yards, but he has yet to find the end zone all season. He was instrumental in the upset of Michigan State by going for 100 yards on 19 carries and already has two other 100 yard rushing games on the season.

He’s no one year stand out either as he had over 1,000 yards last season with Jordan Howard on the roster. If forced to keep the ball on the ground, the Buckeyes’ front seven should be just fine to keep control of the trenches.

4. You Can Still Attack Indiana Through The Air

Make no mistake, this offense starts with running back Mike Weber and quarterback J.T. Barrett in the power option game. Rutgers entered last week stout against the run and Weber shredded them for 144 yards.

That said, Indiana is 69th nationally against the pass giving up 233.5 yards per game in the air. That’s compared to the 139.5 yards per game the Hoosiers surrender on the ground.

Michigan State’s Tyler O’Conner threw for three touchdowns and 263 yards despite the loss. Three of the four interceptions the Hoosier D has are from their Week 1 game against a very bad Florida International team.

Against a team that trots out threats like H-Backs Curtis Samuel and Dontre Wilson, and wide receiver Noah Brown nearly every single play, how does a below average secondary pick its poison?

The Rutgers game plan of strategically using shorter passes and more of a stretch run concept will keep the Hoosier secondary in bad position all day. In turn it will exploit the weakest part of their defense.

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Final Prediction: Ohio State wins 49-6

Maybe a couple of field goals at best, but the Buckeyes continue to keep runners out of the end zone and won’t let the same Lagow that beat an overrated Michigan State to recreate the same magic. After letting the Hoosiers stick around in last season’s 34-27 nail biter, Meyer will keep his foot firmly on the gas and leave little doubt.