Ohio State Buckeyes see Indiana as the ‘real deal’

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption
The Ohio State Buckeyes talk to the media at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Improved Hoosiers upset Michigan State last weekend

SATURDAY’S GAME

Indiana at Ohio State, 3:30 p.m., ESPN, 1410

The Ohio State Buckeyes walked off the field in Bloomington, Ind., one year ago this week looking more relieved than thrilled.

They moved to 5-0 with a 34-27 victory over the Hoosiers but played the kind of game that would define the 2015 season. A team stacked with NFL talent shouldn’t have let the Hoosiers rally in the fourth quarter. Despite 274 rushing yards and three long touchdown runs by Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State didn’t clinch the victory until cornerback Eli Apple broke up a pass in the end zone on the final play.

No. 2 Ohio State (4-0, 1-0) owns a 20-game winning streak against Indiana (3-1, 1-0) and will be a 29½-point favorite at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Ohio Stadium, but the Buckeyes will take the Hoosiers seriously because of what they did last year and last weekend when they upset Michigan State 24-21 in overtime.

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer called this the best Indiana team he has seen.

“I think they’ve got an excellent coaching staff, and you can see some really positive, really good things on videotape,” Meyer said Monday. “Their game Saturday, that was a great win for that program.”

The Hoosiers trailed 14-0 late in the fourth quarter but tied the game on two touchdown passes by Richard Lagow. In overtime, Griffin Oakes kicked a 20-yard field goal to win it.

Michigan State’s seven-game winning streak against Indiana ended, and the Spartans (2-2, 0-2) fell out of the top 25 with their first back-to-back losses since 2012.

Even if Indiana doesn’t beat Ohio State for the first time since 1988, it has caught the notice of the Big Ten.

”They’re the real deal,” Ohio State defensive end Sam Hubbard said. “They almost beat us last year. We didn’t really expect it to be an easy game. They play us well. That adds to the intensity this week when they take down one of our top rivals.”

Indiana ranks second in the Big Ten in total offense (496.8), trailing only Ohio State (576.3). Lagow leads the conference in passing yards per game (319.5). Devine Redding ranks second in the Big Ten in rushing (103.3).

The Buckeyes counter with a defense that has allowed an FBS-best 9.3 points per game. Ohio State remains the only FBS team not to have allowed a rushing touchdown.

“They’ve got a good offensive line, probably the best offensive line we’ve faced so far,” Hubbard said. “We’ve got to get to them as always. That’s our job. That’s what we’re going to do.”

Notes: Meyer listed linebacker Dante Booker as probable for the game against Indiana. He has missed the last three games with a knee sprain. … Meyer this week became the first football coach to reach one million Twitter followers.