Indiana football is all set to kick off its 2023 season against Ohio State at 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 2nd in Bloomington.
The Buckeyes are coming off of a College Football Playoff semifinals appearance that saw them nearly take down the eventual national champion Georgia Bulldogs. They lost plenty of talent from that team however, and have to reload in their quest to take back the Big Ten.
Here’s what you need to know about the Buckeyes:
- QB C.J. Stroud - NFL
- OT Paris Johnson - NFL
- WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba - NFL
- DE Zach Harrison - NFL
- OT Dawand Jones - NFL
- OL Luke Wypler - NFL
The Buckeyes didn’t lose too much to the portal, for what it’s worth. They added a bit, but we’ll get into that.
Ohio State lost three starting offensive linemen to the NFL Draft and, as we’ll soon learn, didn’t add all that much. Donovan Jackson and Matt Jones remain, but the Buckeyes missed on multiple OL targets in the transfer portal.
If Andre Carter is as advertised for the Hoosiers as a pass rusher, that could be a matchup to watch without an experienced line opposite the Hoosiers’ DL.
On top of that, there’s going to be a new quarterback without C.J. Stroud. It looks to be a battle between Kyle McCord and Devin Brown.
McCord is more experienced and was Ohio State’s backup this past season, biding his time behind Stroud. Brown brings more athleticism to the position but suffered a finger injury during Ohio State’s 11th spring practice, giving more reps to McCord.
One way or another, the Buckeyes are absolutely loaded at every other position on offense. Marvin Harrison Jr. will be a Heisman candidate and Emeka Egbuka is elite. Cade Stover was highly productive last year. Miyan Williams and TreVeyon Henderson are a devastating duo at running back when healthy.
Whoever starts at quarterback will have all the help in the world around them.
Names To Know
- QB Kyle McCord/Devin Brown
- WR Marvin Harrison Jr.
- WR Emeka Egbuka
- DE Jack Sawyer
- DE Caden Curry
- DE J.T. Tuimoloau,
- DT Michael Hall
- LB Tommy Eichenberg
- CB Denzel Burke
- S Lathan Ransom
- OC Brian Hartline
- DC Jim Knowles
- STC Parker Fleming
Long list, huh. Well it is Ohio State. If they don’t have a returning talent at any position some top-100 player will be there to replace them.
The Buckeye’s defense improved last season under Jim Knowles and should see some additional progress as Knowles enters his second year in Columbus. He was hired away from Oklahoma State for quite a bit of money for a reason, Ryan Day will expect results.
As stated above, Harrison Jr. is the best receiver in college football and Egbuka is not to be overlooked.
With Kevin Wilson (yes that one) off to Tulsa, Day promoted vaunted wide receivers coach Brian Hartline to the offensive coordinator spot. Ohio State’s play calling is currently up in the air, with Day running that side while being the head coach, though Hartline has been given opportunities.
Then there’s Parker Fleming, who has drawn much ire from Ohio State fans as the program’s special teams coordinator. He’ll have to deal with Jaylin Lucas to open the season. He’ll have the athletes... but will it work out?
What To Know
Ohio State has entered territory previously unseen for decades: playing second fiddle to Michigan.
The Buckeyes have lost two straight matchups against the Wolverines and the Big Ten title as a result. A loss in 2021 combined with a prior loss to Oregon was enough to boot them from the playoff race that year.
Now Michigan has been picked to win both the East and the conference overall while Ohio State is looking to replace some key pieces.
Ryan Day is entering prove it territory in Columbus. He needs to beat Michigan and win a title soon. Each of his predecessors won titles and he’s had multiple chances to do so himself now, reaching the championship game once, back in 2020.
As for what that means for Indiana?
Well, the Hoosiers haven’t beaten the Buckeyes in decades, but this game has gotten weird before. Not to say we’re predicting an upset, not at all, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the first two quarters are the standard Indiana football brand of weird as each team stretches their legs.
Ohio State had a flow start on the road against Minnesota during Stroud’s first start back in 2021, but this should be a different animal.