Ohio State 33, Indiana 14: Buckeyes overwhelm mistake-prone Hoosiers.

My first reaction?  Michigan is going to get slaughtered again this year.  The Buckeyes are absolutely loaded, and took advantage of the Hoosiers even when IU was nominally making the right decisions.  Of course, IU made plenty of mistakes, and two missed field goals by Ohio State made the first half look more competitive than it was.  The stats show a picture of complete domination.  The Hoosiers managed only 18 net rushing yards, only 228 yards of total offense, allowed 3 sacks, and turned the ball over 3 times.  The Buckeye offense wasn't explosive, but it didn't have to be.  Ohio State ran the ball 47 times for 219 yards, 4.7 per carry.

The good:
  • Perhaps the only positive for IU was another strong performance by Tandon Doss, who caught 6 balls for 96 yards and a touchdown.  Through yesterday's games, Doss ranks #22 nationally with 470 receiving yards. 
  • Although it was garbage time, Matt Ernest scored his first career touchdown.  The nut necklace crowd booed Lynch's decision to call a time out to set up the final score, but as I said in comments last night, I thought it was fine.  In the late OSU drive that ended with an interception at the goal line, the Buckeyes threw the ball 10 times in 12 plays.  Glen Mason on the BTN suggested that Ohio State was working on issues for future games.  That's fine.  These are both Big Ten teams with long seasons ahead of them, and I don't think Ohio State was running up the score or anything of the sort.  But if the winning team is allowed to turn the closing minutes into a practice, then so is the losing team, right?
  • IU somehow managed to sack Terrelle Pryor 3 times, although he ran for 63 net yards. 
The bad:
  • The rushing game was hopeless.  I listed the team numbers above.  Darius Willis was 11-23, Trea Burgess 5-16, Demetrius McCray 1-1. 
  • Although the completion percentage numbers were fine, IU averaged only 6.5 yards per passing play and Ben Chappell threw two interceptions.  This was the first time that IU faced much pressure on the quarterback, and hopefully it will be a learning experience. 
The ugly:

  • The whole thing, particularly the first quarter, when it became apparent that however improved the Hoosiers might be, the Buckeyes were going to manhandle IU.
  • Backup Brandon Saine ran for 113 yards on 16 carries in his first college start, a 6.6 average.
Most IU fans realistically expected to lose this game, both before this season and immediately before the game, although it's disappointing that IU offered little more than token resistance.  Even the rosiest preseason prognosticators thought IU could be 4-1, but no one expected 5-0.  As it stands, IU is 3-2 and faces a three game stretch that will decide the fate of this team and could decide whether Bill Lynch is IU's coach next year.  Next week, IU travels to Virginia.  The Cavaliers are 1-3, but after a horrible start that included a loss to I-AA William & Mary, Virginia won yesterday at North Carolina, which was ranked just a couple of weeks ago (one of these years, every team in the ACC is going to finish 4-4).  After than, in another night game on the Big Ten Network, IU hosts Illinois for homecoming.  The Illini are reeling but have much more talent than their record would suggest.  The next week, IU travels to Northwestern, the most difficult-to-figure team in the conference.  I'll be digging into those matchups as they approach, but no outcome in any of the games would surprise me.  By October 24, the Hoosiers could either a) be bowl eligible at 6-2 with an opportunity to make 2009 IU's best season in eons; b) be 3-5 with games against Iowa, Wisconsin, and Penn State looming  before the Bucket Game and with Fred Glass working the back channels in a search for coaching candidates.
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