BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Ohio State opened the season 1-0 with a 23-3 win at Indiana, the type of game that typifies the phrase, “A win is a win.”
“I think it was a mixed bag overall,” head coach Ryan Day said. “Now we’re gonna see if it was a mixed bag to the positive or negative, and that’s part of watching the film. Sometimes you think coming out of the game that something happened and you didn’t quite see it that way on the film. So we’ll get on it, identify it and move forward.”
After an offseason of being dragged through the mud for breaking down in losses to Michigan and Georgia, the Ohio State defense looked dominant at times against Indiana.
The Hoosiers, who were breaking in two new quarterbacks, averaged 2.8 yards per play and only crossed midfield three times.
That is despite deploying an option-heavy scheme Ohio State was not exactly expecting.
“It tells us that the game plan works and what we run as long as we’re doing our job, there’s no problem we can have,” safety Josh Proctor said. “We can play fast and just go and have fun.”
2. Kyle McCord was solid if unspectacular.
The junior quarterback from Philadelphia St. Joseph’s Prep completed 20 of 33 passes for 239 yards.
One of his best throws of the day, a 24-yard touchdown to Marvin Harrison Jr., didn’t count because Harrison went out of bounds before catching the ball, but he had a few big hits along the way to winning his second career start and first since 2021.
“He did make a play with his feet on play action which was good,” Day said. :I know he would want a couple of reads back, but until you watch the film it’s hard to evaluate overall.”
3. The QB rotation never materialized.
Day said he intended to give redshirt freshman Devin Brown significant snaps in the game and continue evaluating who would be his starter, but Brown only played two series. One of those was a three-and-out in the first half while the other came at the end when the game was essentially decided.
“Going in I really wanted to play Devin some more,” Day said. “I’d like to do that moving forward, but we’ve got to make sure we’re doing what’s right for the team and what’s right for Ohio State, and I felt like that was the right call at the time.”
4. The offensive line had an inconsistent day.
And so did the running game behind three new starters on the line. Ohio State averaged 4.6 yards per carry, but they were stuffed (zero yards gained or a loss) on eight of their 31 rushing attempts and converted only one of six short-yardage situations.
On the plus side, McCord faced some pressure but wasn’t sacked.
5. Ohio State’s big two receivers did not have big days, but others picked up the slack.
Harrison finished with just two catches for 18 yards while Emeka Egbuka caught three for 16.
That left plenty of opportunities for Julian Fleming, though, and he took advantage with six catches for 58 yards.
Tight end Cade Stover led the team with 98 yards on five catches, including a 49-yarder that set up Ohio State’s second touchdown of the afternoon.
“He’s the best receiver in college football so a lot of times it’s going to be rare to get one on one with him,” McCord said of Harrison. “If they do, you’ve got to make them pay, but a lot of times they will double him or put a safety over top but I think having him on the field when they do that opens things up for other guys.”
Fleming and Harrison tied for the team lead with eight targets apiece while Stover had six and Egbuka four.
Chip Trayanum not only led Ohio State in rushing with 57 yards on eight carries, he also lined up at fullback and blocked for two Miyan Williams touchdown runs.
Stat of the game
Indiana’s 158 total yards are fewer than any Ohio State opponent gained in a game last year. The last time the Buckeyes held an opponent to fewer yards was their last trip to Bloomington. The Hoosiers had 128 yards against Ohio State in 2021.