Three lessons learned from the Ohio State Buckeyes win over the Indians Hoosiers.
They say a win is a win. But for the second year in a row, the Indiana Hoosiers put up a much bigger fight than expected against the Buckeyes , despite the 38-17 score. Factory of Sadness has all of the lessons learned against Indiana for the Ohio State Buckeyes.
1. You still can’t just show up
Sometimes, the eye test is a better indicator of a game than the box score. For the most part, Ohio State just didn’t quite look like they were invested in the game. Maybe it’s the looming trip to Madison or all of the positive attention from the fast start. Either way, Urban Meyer cannot be happy with what he saw in spite of the result on the scoreboard.
There are tough games left on the schedule, with Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Michigan left in conference play. The issue is that as good teams lose in conference play (Louisville’s loss to Clemson or Houston’s loss to Navy), Ohio State cannot afford to slip up against an unranked conference foe and hope that playoff voters forgive the loss. It’s a win, but the Buckeyes better bring their A game through the second half of the season.
2. Marcus Baugh is now in the dog house
Baugh came into 2016 with high expectations after seeing guys like Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett shine at tight end, Baugh was looked at as just another versatile Buckeye at that position. But Baugh’s drop led to J.T. Barrett’s interception and he struggled to block on the edge. On one particular play, replay showed a clueless Baugh unable to find anyone to block even though an Indiana defender was right in front of him. The mistake ruined a promising rush attempt.
Baugh was lifted with the game still in the balance for freshman A.J. Alexander. The tight end doesn’t need to be a huge factor in the Buckeye offense, but that position can’t be a liability, either.
Gannett was so special because he could be an impact blocker on rushing plays. Meyer needs this from the tight end spot to make his power read scheme work. Without that edge walled off, the read option quickly turns into strictly a repeat of dive plays. With Baugh seemingly out of favor, at least from what we saw against Indiana, the tight end spot is in flux.
3. J.T. Barrett can still win you games
The offense struggled mightily at times, but we’ve seen this before. Barrett, who can still be considered a Heisman candidate after this game, just goes out and wins. He was 9 of 21 for 94 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception, which isn’t pretty. He carried the ball 26 times for 137 yards and a score on the ground. By averaging over 5 yards per carry and seeming to always get the extra yard or two needed for a first down, J.T. Barrett was determined to keep the Buckeyes moving down the field.
It’s a long season and not every game will be perfect. Sometimes you just don’t have your A game. But with Barrett, his B and C games still bring with them all of the toughness and confidence of his best days. He is the engine that makes the offense run. He is the main cog that allows guys like Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel to run through massive running lanes since the defense has to treat Barrett like another running back. It’s fair to be critical of the way he threw the ball, but you can’t discount the way he went out and earned the win.
Ohio State will need him on days like this when parts of the offense are out of sync.