The Ohio State Buckeyes of college football fame play a game tonight. You may have heard. If you haven’t, then boy, you picked one heck of a day to randomly show up at a website that covers OSU.
The No. 2 Buckeyes head to Bloomington for the biggest game in Indiana football history. Ohio State is favored by 20.5 points. How does that compare to how we all see it? Good question.
Our thoughts are below for all to see. Make sure you add your own predictions in the comments.
As I’ve been saying anywhere that will listen, I’m not sure how Indiana scores enough points to make this game as interesting as people are hoping. Kevin Wilson was the reason the Hoosiers have given the Buckeyes trouble in the past, and now he’s on the opposite sideline. Indiana holstered OSU’s passing game last year, but the Buckeyes still rushed for 290 yards on 5.8 yards per carry. This year, the Wilson shoes are on the other feet, which should help the Ohio State passing game. The running game — even with a dinged-up Mike Weber — will be just fine.
Indiana’s best bet on offense would be to challenge the new Buckeye corners and strong safeties deep down the field. That will require the IU offensive line to give quarterback Richard Lagow the time to do so. They’ll get a big hit or two, but that’s not an offense that is going to win this game. I wouldn’t be surprised if this downfield passing attack leads to multiple interceptions for the Buckeye safeties.
Ohio State 42, Indiana 17
I have no doubt the Buckeyes will come away with a huge win. This team is talented and they are going to show that right away. I think the Scarlet and Gray want to come out with a bang and make a statement before facing Oklahoma next week. I don’t think the familiarity of Kevin Wilson’s coaching is going to have an effect on either side in this game, but there will be a few things to figure out because this is still the first game and it is a Big Ten opponent.
I am expecting the Ohio State offense to be outstanding and to come out stronger than ever. With all of the changes that happened this offseason, the Buckeyes know they need to turn heads on offense. Unfortunately for Indiana, I am expecting a high-scoring game for OSU.
Ohio State 42, Indiana 17
While this Thursday seems like it could be the start of a historically great season for Ohio State, it may also be the beginning of the end for Indiana’s Golden Age of Football Almost-Relevance. The Tom Allen hire was pretty uninspiring, and then he infected his offense with Football Lupus by hiring Mike DeBord. You can run the DeBord offense and be successful-ish if you have a big talent advantage, but you can’t do it at Indiana.
When IU is 3-9 in 2019 and getting blown out by Purdue, they’ll look back at this as the turning point. The Hoosier defense should be solid again this year, which means they have a chance to maybe hold Ohio State under 40. J.T. Barrett throws for two TDs, Mike Weber and J.K. Dobbins both run for one (or Dobbins runs for two if Weber’s hamstring is an issue), and Dwayne Haskins makes an insane throw in garbage time that gets Cardale Jones comparisons flying on Twitter.
Ohio State 38, Indiana 13
Much has been discussed this offseason regarding the hiring of Kevin Wilson and the shot in the arm he is expected to provide the offense in 2017. I am hesitant, however, to think the impact will be swift and immediate. With that said, I see the Buckeyes going through some growing pains early in this contest, especially considering the familiarity between both programs. Remember, last year started out with a pick six by J.T. Barrett versus Bowling Green before putting up 77 points on the Falcons.
The Buckeyes will test out the new passing attack with mixed success, but ultimately turn to the running game to pull away. I expect Demario McCall to be the Player of the Game, making key contributions on offense as well as in the return game. The defense will answer the call, limiting Lagow and the Hoosiers passing attack, while stifling the running game. I expect an emotional game with big plays from Dante Booker in his return to action. The Hoosiers will make it a game through the half (17-10) before the Buckeyes pull away with an explosive third quarter. However, a number of Buckeyes will see playing time during meaningful snaps.
Ohio State 37, Indiana 13
A lot is being made of the hype around this game. It should be, because pregame hype can affect how players play. The way I see it, that’s advantage Buckeyes. Unlike last season, OSU has a bunch of upperclassmen who have seen it all and can handle the hype. For Indiana, however, it’s all new territory. There’s going to be a lot of pressure on the Hoosiers that they haven’t had to deal with before. By the time they figure out what’s what, a talented Buckeye team will put the game out of reach.
OSU 42, Indiana 13