Ohio State went to Bloomington on Saturday, trying to avoid one of those dicey games that the Buckeyes have had there in recent years. That was realistically not too much of a concern with an Indiana squad that has been offensively challenged in 2021, but it was a thing that some people talked about in the buildup to the game so I’m throwing it out there. Recent trips to Indiana have provided some of my grumpiest moments, so I was ready to do some world-class grumping, but in the end, it was, at most, a mildly annoying night from time to time.
Here’s what had me writing letters (none of those newfangled emails!) to my congressman when the Buckeyes traveled to play the Hoosiers:
Does Ryan Day Even Practice for This?
We’ve talked about this before here at the G.O.B. and I’m pretty much done with you, Law of Averages.
Third Down Problems
Ohio State scored on its opening drive and had a chance to get off the field with a three-and-out on the first defensive series, but Indiana converted on a Jack Tuttle pass to Peyton Hendershot. The Hoosiers went on to convert three additional third downs on their opening drive, including on third-and-goal to tie the game (to a completely uncovered Hendershot — perhaps the one guy Ohio State should be tracking above all others in the red zone). Three of those third downs were seven yards or longer. We wondered if the defense was fixed after seeing the Buckeyes play well on that side of the ball against Akron, Rutgers, and Maryland, but strong defenses don’t get taken apart repeatedly on third down. By Jack Tuttle.
And another thing…what? That was Indiana’s only successful drive? Well, whatever.
Hey, the game was 44-7 at the half. I have to take my grumbling where I can get it sometimes. Garrett Wilson is too good a player to just drop routine passes and yet he still does it about once per week. This time it was an easy ball that would have netted a first down and then some. Sure, he atoned for it with a sick catch later in the drive, but like I said, what am I going to be grumpy about if not stuff like that?
The same thing goes for Matthew Jones taking a touchdown off the board by being downfield before CJ Stroud threw an apparent scoring pass. Jones wasn’t blocking anyone. He was wanted to see some other parts of the stadium from a better view and went for a walk. Unfortunately, that walk was more than five yards downfield and that’s a penalty. Never mind that his team scored anyway on the drive. Again, sometimes I have to manufacture some anger and no one gets angrier about dumb things than me.
The Boy Scouts’ motto is “be prepared” and Ohio State wasn’t on the first play of the drive following Marvin Harrison Jr. tackling the punter for a safety. Emeka Egbuka had a nice return on the ensuing kick to set the Buckeyes up in great field position, the offense trotted out onto the field, and then…the play clock ran down. I don’t expect a lot (that’s a lie…I expect an unfair amount, which no sane person should), but I do expect the team to come out and be able to call a play and get the snap off on the first play of a drive without having to burn a timeout to avoid a delay-of-game penalty.
Who Invited Jesse Mirco to this Party?
Ohio State stopped a fourth-down play to take over on downs at the start of the second half. That was good. Stroud was sacked for a huge loss on the first play of the drive. That was bad. Miyan Williams then dropped a pass on second down (also bad), and then, a medium length run on third down stalled the drive. Mirco ran out onto the field and Ohio State punted. Punting? Who ever heard of such a thing? Punting is from the Jim Tressel era. This offense doesn’t punt! Anyway, that happened. And later in the game, it happened again!
The Streak is Over
Ohio State entered the game having intercepted a pass for a touchdown in four straight games. Just when you start getting used to pick sixes as the birthrights they are, Ohio State goes and stops getting them. Of course, Indiana is partly to blame because the Hoosiers didn’t throw it a lot and when they did, they simply refused to throw it to a Buckeye. I object to that game plan and think Tom Allen should re-evaluate that approach heading into next season.
Those were the things that had me grumbling and muttering to myself in a comprehensive 54-7 win over Indiana. Obviously, the good outweighed the bad, and players like Stroud, TreVeyon Henderson, Jeremy Ruckert, Zach Harrison, Miyan Williams, and many others had tremendous games.
The Buckeyes have a second straight night game next week when the Nittany Lions visit Ohio Stadium.