Five things to watch
1. OSU leads the series 65-12-5. The Buckeyes haven’t lost in Bloomington since 1988.
2. Indiana leads the Big Ten in kickoff returns at 28.3 yards per attempt.
3. The Hoosiers are third and OSU fourth in turnover margin.
4. OSU is fourth in the conference in rushing, while the Hoosier check in second in rushing defense.
5. Indiana is tied for first in sacks against (two) and tied for second in sacks by (11). The Buckeyes share third in place in both categories (three) and 11.
OSU wins 31-7
The Ohio State University takes its first road game outside of Ohio Saturday as the Buckeyes travel to Indiana.
The Buckeyes are facing the Hoosiers for the first time since winning a 44-3 decision in 2006 at Ohio Stadium.
OSU has dominated the series. They also have a 15-game Big Ten road winning streak, which is two behind Michigan’s 17.
The Hoosiers went through a 3-0 non-conference slate with wins over Mid-American Conference foes Eastern Kentucky 19-13, Western Michigan 23-19 and Akron 38-21.
Indiana could have taken a big step forward with a win over Michigan Saturday, but the Wolverines rallied in the final 2:29 to post a 36-33 win. That type of loss could really hurt a team, especially one that is trying to establish themselves.
Everybody knows that Indiana is more a basketball state, but certainly Purdue and Notre Dame have seen success with football.
Bill Lynch is in his third season of leading the Hoosiers. He guided the team to a 7-6 overall mark and trip to the Insight Bowl in 2007.
Junior Ben Chappell has taken over the reigns at quarterback and has thrown for 944 yards. The Hoosiers had a good game-plan against Michigan, but converted field goals rather than touchdowns and that hurt.
The Buckeyes have outscored their opponents 68-0 over the last two games, but it’s been a quiet two wins.
I thought the offense looked better against Illinois. The passing game wasn’t there until the second half, but OSU established the run.
It wasn’t the three yards and a cloud of dust offense back in the day, but they used a series of misdirection and option plays to keep the Fighting Illini off balance.
The basic concept of drive blocking was there, which is a good sight for any OSU fan to see, considering some of the troubles this season.
Are there concerns with the passing game?
Absolutely. They still rank ninth in the Big Ten at 186 yards per game. They rank second in the amount of completions at 54.
Quarterback Terrelle Pryor still doesn’t look comfortable in the pocket.
On defense, OSU will be without safety Kurt Coleman, who was suspended by the Big Ten for a helmet-to-helmet hit and “targeting a defenseless opponent” on Illinois quarterback Eddie McGee late in the game.
That’s a blow to a Buckeye defense with two straight shutouts to their credit.
Coleman is one the captains, but he’s the leader of that group. He’s a big hitter and has a propensity of stripping the ball.
OSU has depth, though.
Anderson Russell will likely start in Coleman’s absence.
Four games into 2009, the Buckeyes are 3-1 and ranked ninth in the nation.
They are lurking around, which is not to suggest they will playing for the BCS National Championship Game. But they have the potential for a fifth straight Big Ten title and another shot at a BCS Bowl Game.
“This team is trying to build an identity,’’ OSU defensive lineman Todd Denlinger said following Saturday’s game against Illinois.