Game Info / How to Watch
Where? Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, IN
When? Saturday, Sep. 14, Noon
Vegas? Ohio State -14
SP+ Projection? Ohio State by 17.5 (41-23), 84 percent chance of Buckeye victory
After a pair of games against relatively weak opponents, things are finally about to get real on the gridiron for Indiana. Sitting at 2-0, a third of the way to bowl eligibility, the Hoosiers welcome Ohio State to town for their biennial Stupid Game at Memorial Stadium. If you’re unaware of how these games typically go, well, check this out:
2012: lost by 3— crimson quarry (@crimsonquarry) September 9, 2019
2014: led into late 3rd quarter
2015: four yards from OT
2016: one score game in 3rd, competitive in 4th
2017: led in late 3rd quarter
2018: nine point margin to open 4th quarter
ohio state media: pic.twitter.com/PwYKUOtWNJ
Ohio State is, once again, one of the best teams in the nation. It doesn’t matter that the Buckeyes have made a change at head coach. It doesn’t matter that they’re replacing Dwayne Haskins, who was one of the three best quarterbacks in the country last season. Time is a flat circle.
So far Justin Fields looks like he’s a possible Heisman candidate because of course he does. The Georgia transfer is completing 76 percent of his passes and has 458 yards through the air as well as six touchdowns this season. On the ground he’s got 103 yards and another three touchdowns.
J.K. Dobbins is also good again. Two years ago he broke out against IU in the first game of his career and he’s become one of the best backs in the conference if not the nation since. He’s averaging 6.1 yards per carry, sitting at 232 yards so far on the season, and has also scored three touchdowns. SP+ rates the Buckeye offense as the 14th-best in the nation, just ahead of Clemson.
Defensively the Buckeyes might be even better. The duo of Malik Harrison and Chase Young could constantly be in the Hoosier backfield as they’ve combined for 7.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks so far this season. Both are seemingly future pros as is defensive back Jeff Okudah. Young and Okudah, in particular, could both find their way into the top 10 of next year’s NFL Draft. Outside of that trio look for Pete Werner and Tuf Borland to make an impact from the linebacker position as well.
The Buckeyes have allowed just 10.5 points per game, shutting out Cincinnati last week. In week one they limited Florida Atlantic to 22 rushing yards. Opponents are averaging just 1.9 yards per carry against Ohio State so far this season. According to SP+, IU has the best offense that the Buckeyes have seen so far this season by quite a margin, but that’s no reason to celebrate because, well, the OSU defense should still be plenty dangerous, especially if the offensive line can’t keep up with the likes of Young.
Three Things to Watch
1. Big Plays
If IU is going to keep up in this game the offense is going to need to Make Things Happen. The Hoosiers will need Whop Philyor to turn a quick hitter into a 20+ yard pickup, they’ll need Michael Penix Jr. to hook up with Donavon Hale, Nick Westbrook and Peyton Hendershot for large chunks of yards, they’ll need the special teams to make a difference at least once if they want to win.
If you want to beat a more talented team, it starts with a big play (or two or three or…) that’ll help level the playing field. More importantly, it’s probably guaranteed that the Buckeyes will make a few big plays considering the weapons they have.
2. QB Battle
The two quarterbacks in this matchup might not have the same pedigree, but they both have had quite a bit of hype throughout their relatively young college careers. To put it simply, both Fields and Penix are capable of putting up big numbers, striking from any distance, and could be really, really fun to watch (especially for any neutral parties).
Whichever player does a better job of taking care of the football while they’re slinging it around should help put their team in good position as the game winds down.
3. Is this The One?
IU has seemingly been chasing a victory over one of The Big Four in the division for years. We thought they got it when Griffin Oakes nailed a field goal to bring the Ol’ Brass Spittoon to Bloomington back in 2016, but a then-ranked Michigan State team spiraled to a 3-9 finish the year after playing in the College Football Playoff, basically ruining the quality of IU’s win which was great.
The Hoosiers managed to beat Penn State back in 2013, but of course the Nittany Lions weren’t particularly back to being “good” yet. Since they’ve risen back to some sort of power the Hoosiers haven’t been able to get the job done. Last season a J-Shun Harris II touchdown with 49 seconds left made the game 33-28 and the Hoosiers even recovered a fumble on the onside kick! Immediately after that a comet hit the stadium and the game was never finished. Sad!
Those games aside, there has also been a handful of close calls against Ohio State and Michigan, but of course no dice.
So will this be the one? The win over an undeniably good team that has been prophesied to take IU to the Next Level? Maybe. Will it be? Well, let’s talk about that below.
“No.” Indiana leads by three at some point in the third quarter and then Ohio State goes on to cover the spread somehow because IU seemingly hasn’t suffered enough already.
Ohio State 45, Indiana 28