Dienhart: Buckeyes' opening salvo impressive in 49-21 win at Indiana
It wasn’t always pretty. In fact, it was methodical for the first 30 minutes. But Ohio State found a way to run away from Indiana in the season opener thanks to a blistering second half in which OSU outscored IU, 36-7, during a 49-21 romp.
The Hoosiers punched some holes in the Buckeyes’ rebuilt secondary early on, but the Ohio State defense buckled—it didn’t break—and found a way to clamp down when it counted in the second half. Yes, the Buckeyes allowed 420 passing yards. But IU had just 17 rushing yards on 27 carries. The long run? Nine yards. The inability to run the ball hurt the Hoosiers, whose line couldn’t get a push. Plus, IU missed graduated RB Devine Redding.
The Ohio State offense? After a bumpy start, it got on track thanks to a strong rushing attack. So, OSU is 1-0. And, you know this team only is going to get better as it develops the passing game and tightens the secondary. Up next: A visit from Oklahoma, a legit national contender looking to avenge last year’s loss to the Buckeyes in Norman.
What I learned: Ohio State has a future star in true freshman running back J.K. Dobbins. Starting in place of injured Mike Weber, Dobbins showed why he created a buzz in training camp by rushing 29 times for 181 yards. This kid is gonna be good.
Turning point: IU led 14-13 at halftime and 21-20 in the third quarter. That’s when things changed. Quickly. Ohio State used big plays to score 22 third-quarter points, as Parris Campbell scored on a 74-yard pass and Johnnie Dixon scored on a 59-yards pass. Just like that, it was 35-21, Buckeyes as the fourth quarter began. When it was all said and done, Ohio State outscored Indiana, 29-0, after trailing, 21-20, 4:56 in the third quarter.
It was over when: With Ohio State leading, 42-21, early in the fourth quarter, Indiana was trying to mount a drive and stay in the game. But Richard Lagow tossed an interception. The Hoosiers were asking too much of Lagow, who threw a stupefying 65 passes, hitting 40 for 410 yards with three TDs and two picks. The IU running backs needed to do more. Alas, Indiana ran for just 17 yards on 27 totes.
Key number: 304, passing yards for J.T. Barrett, who hit 20-of-35 passes with three TDs. It was Barrett’s first 300-yard game since the opener last year vs. Bowling Green. If he can keep passing like this, Ohio State will be difficult to beat. Campbell must keep developing as a big-play man, too.