Ohio State Experiences the Healing Power of the Indiana Hoosiers


Going into the Indiana game, the Ohio State Buckeyes had plenty to worry about. How would the Buckeye’s banged up secondary hold up against Ben Chappell and the Hoosier’s prolific passing attack? How much would Terrelle Pryor’s thigh injury inhibit an Ohio State offense that has relied on his explosive runs when their backs were against the wall? But what seemed like threats from the Hoosier squad at kickoff turned into the perfect treatment for Ohio State to smooth out their rough edges.

By Hans Hetrick

Last week’s ugly 24-13 victory in Champaign did nothing to inspire visions of a national championship in the Buckeye nation. The Buckeyes slugged out a win against the Illini in their first road game, but they left Memorial Stadium with a couple of troubling injuries and more than a few holes punched in their dreams of playing for the national championship. Enter the Hoosiers into the Horseshoe. No doctor could have prescribed a better treatment for the Ohio State Buckeyes than the 38-10 win against the Indiana Hoosiers.

In the Illinois game, Buckeye fans witnessed the dreadful possibilities of an Ohio State offense without Terrelle Pryor. After Pryor belly flopped onto the grass with a thigh muscle strain, the offense was paralyzed. The running game impotent without Pryor’s constant threat to improvise big chunks of yards on the ground. Second string quarterback Joe Bauserman, a deer in the headlights, floating a wounded duck into the arms of an Illini defender despite having more time than a commercial break in the pocket.

Although Pryor returned to the game, he could only muster a paltry 76 yards through the air. Combine the weak Buckeye passing game with the performance of OSU’s offensive line, who despite an impressive 53 yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter, opened few holes for Dan Herron and Brandon Saine.

It was imperative that Jim Tressel find more paths to the goal line besides Terrelle Pryor’s legs. And it was Pryor who provided another means of offensive production. With the thigh injury limiting his mobility, Pryor was content in the pocket, and his patience led to a career high 334 yard game. A scenario in which Pryor could focus on his passing and not rely on his legs was just what the doctor ordered.

The only bad news for the Buckeye offense remains the offensive line run blocking. The big boys have been stellar all year in pass protection, stymieing even a good Miami defensive line, but they are not firing off the line in the run.

On defense, Ohio State came in to the game all banged up in the secondary. With starters C.J. Barnett—injured in the Miami game—and Tyler Moeller—injured in the Illinois game—both lost for the season, the Buckeye secondary has yet to gel into strong unit. Indiana quarterback Ben Chappell and his fleet of feet receivers were expected to give the Silver Bullets and their green secondary all they could handle.

Once again, the Ohio State defense stepped up and dominated. Barnett and Moeller’s replacements, Orhian Johnson and freshman Christian Bryant, played smart and physical. Seemingly unfazed by the Hoosiers bevy of five-receiver sets, the Buckeye secondary batted away pass after pass, laid on hit after hit, and never got caught out of position.

The secondary benefited from tremendous defensive line play. Chappell got rid of the ball very quickly throughout the game, but Nathan Williams, Cameron Heyward, and the rest of the Buckeye D line pushed and spun their way into Chappell’s passing lanes time and time again.

Other than Ohio State’s poor run blocking, the Buckeyes dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, allowing Pryor to pick apart the Hoosiers secondary and creating havoc for Ben Chappell. With the line of scrimmage in their control, Tressel took advantage and started to refine the passing game and pass defense. The Buckeyes will need to be solid in both phases next week, because the Wisconsin Badgers will not be pushed around on the line of scrimmage as easily as the Hoosiers.

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  1. paulmbanks says

    Welcome the #1 ranking Hans. And my boys got a big win todya too. We’ll need to party soon, like Pharrell and Snoop http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIQihN–98Y

    let’s get blown.

    and cool pic of the angry badger

  2. paulmbanks says

    it’s important that TPeezy2 focus on staying in the pocket and making plays with his feet, just as you pointed out. that’s really the key to season right there. his making plays with the air, and having the RBs to pile on LBs worth of rushing yards. and thats lbs for pounds not linebackers.

    it’s kind of like when Nelly did that slower song with kelly rowland from destiny’s child on his 2nd album. it showed that he was versatile and keep peole guessing what he could/would do. it ameliorated his career.

    or maybe i’m running on fumes from covering 2 games today, 5 hrs of driving and i have no clue what i’m talking about.

    anyways, its getting hot in herrre. so i need to take off my clothes

  3. 2 things right off. Don’t need to see any naked Paul visions. And Nelly should be in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.

    As for T2P, he’s golden when he has time, but he has yet to prove he can perform under pressure, both from the defensive line and game situations. This weekend might be the T2Ps denouement. I hope it’s a happy ending.

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