Halftime Changes Everything For Ohio State In Win Over Hoosiers

For 30 minutes of Thursday night’s season opening game, Ohio State looked like a team in turmoil. The offense was inconsistent and the pass defense got sliced apart by Indiana quarterback Richard Lagow to the tune of 278 yards.

For 30 minutes of Thursday night’s season opening game, Ohio State looked like a team that belonged squarely in the middle of the national championship hunt. The offense was explosive and the defense forced turnovers or three-and-outs on six of seven possessions to put the game out of reach.

What a difference a halftime can make.

“The 3rd quarter was obviously the change in the game,” said OSU head coach Urban Meyer. “J.T. (Barrett) still misfired on some deep balls, but the crossing routes were working big for us.”

After struggling to move the ball during the first half, the Buckeyes seized control of the game with one of those crossing routes in the third quarter. First, junior WR Parris Campbell took one, turned upfield, got a big block from Terry McLaurin and then outran everyone else to give Ohio State a 27-21 lead it would never relinquish.

On the next possession, it was junior WR Johnnie Dixon catching a pass over the middle and capitalizing on a block from Binjimen Victor to zip through the defense and extend the Buckeye advantage.

“Both sides of the ball, obviously we started off slow,” Campbell said. “At halftime, Coach Meyer just said what our motto is, which is 4 to 6, A to B. And that’s just ‘go as hard as you can.’ We knew that if we just came out in the second half and put it all on the line, just swing as hard as we could, we would come out with the win.”

After going 10-for-21 for just 95 yards in the first two quarters, J.T. Barrett went 10-for-14 for 209 yards and three touchdowns after the break, but OSU offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said it all started with some halftime adjustments in the run game.

“They had changed, not dramatically, where the linebackers and safeties were fitting, and we were working to the wrong guys a few times and basically running into some loaded looks. So we got it clean at halftime, got it simplified, got the run game going, got JT (in) rhythm, those crossing routes there, the one to Johnnie and the one to Parris were huge.

Senior center Billy Price said that after the sluggish start, all it took was some minor tweaks to get the offense firing on all cylinders.

“I think it was a coaching change. There were some things made schematically that changed – we’re going to attack them this way, this way, this way,” said Price. “Coaches made the changes and put us in a position to win.”

It was a similar story on the defensive side of the ball. While Ohio State’s fans sweated out a 14-13 halftime deficit, in the locker room, the Buckeyes weren’t worried.

“We were great,” said senior LB Chris Worley. “We knew what we were going to expect coming in. We didn’t get anything new that we didn’t expect. We knew our corners were going to come back and make some plays and they did.”

Worley said that some of the defense’s first half struggles were simply the result of young players trying to do too much.

“The one they scored on (Jerome Baker) early on, one of our corners was misaligned. He honestly did some hero stuff, seeing the man open and ran under. It honestly wasn’t even his man.”

Once those young defenders settled down and the Buckeye pass rush worked its magic, OSU stopped the Indiana offense dead in its tracks. After gaining at least one first down on seven of eight first half possessions, the Hoosiers went three-and-out on four of their first five drives after the break, then turned it over on a fumble and interception on the next two. To Urban Meyer, the results spoke for themselves.

“I will have to see the videotape, obviously (the defensive backs) must have played better, Meyer said. “I kept looking up saying, ‘What the heck is going on here.’ I saw back shoulder fades and fades, and (after halftime) they just seemed to play much better.”

“It wasn’t honestly anything we didn’t expect,” said Worley. “It was a bunch of quick game, take a shot over the top, because we knew they couldn’t block our defensive line. Every time (Indiana QB Richard Lagow) held it, he got hit. It was a lot of great coverage, it was just better catches. We knew that they were going to live by that and they were going to die by it.”

17 Responses

  1. JT is fine. Receivers are not getting open or holding on to the ball. JT can take a broken play and run for a first down. JT is the leader of this team.For a first game against a good Indiana team, which gives the bucks there best every year, the second half was a much improved team. OK. will be a real test. Need to use the slant deep more to keep defense honest, let the receiver run to the ball. Dropped balls are a problem. If u can get your hands on the ball it should be a catch. Sometimes JT holds the ball too long when he should just take off and run with it. There will be noticeable improvement as the season progresses.

  2. If Burrow and Haskins were better than JT, Urban would play them. JT is a good QB, we’ll see if he is a great one. If Ohio State ends up Big 10 champion and plays in the Nat. Ch. game, maybe that will shut you guys up.

    1. You are showing class here aren’t you? It is a discussion about a QB, and nobody is asking you to shut up.

  3. But neither of them are as good a leader and runner as JT. And as far as passing, those two will have to show it when their time comes. Sure Burrow looked good last year, but most of the time he came in when the game was already won or to spell J T. J T is one of the best leaders OSU has ever had, maybe not the best passer, but certainly ot the worst by far! After all, the more support given a player, the better he will try his best, which is true for any player. We who think we are armchair QB’s oft time should be quiet rather than offer criticism. But of course, we do have that option! But please no comments that degrade a person no matter what!

  4. Love the front seven, really like Dobbins, I think he is special. I think the receivers are pretty good but its going to be the same as last year. Against real good defenses they are done. I dont see any improvement with Barrett at all. I can tell the coaches dont have confidence in his passing. One time on a key 3rd down they gave it to Hill. another time he did that QB draw. Any decent QB gets to throw it. They will have a great record but wont be able to play with the elite.

    1. Barrett threw the ball on the first six third downs the Buckeyes had, and then threw it on others as well. The drop by Parris Campbell in the end zone was a third down. The 28-yard gain by Campbell shortly after that was on third down as well.

  5. Seriously, while JT wasn’t perfect , he hit two guys in the chest and one in the hands and all three dropped the pass. And you know the others are such accurate passers how? You’ve been allowed into practices the rest of us haven’t!

  6. Just a decent QB away from true championship team I think.
    He has the habit of ‘wilt’ under the pressure or in a meaningful big game unlike CJ. He’s responsible for 4 of 6 Meyer’s losses at OSU. All other QBs has JUST 2! I am hoping for championship run this year, but next year is one I truly looking forward to.

  7. So much angst over the first half of the first game of a 12+ game season. Ah, how spoiled we Buckeye fans are! Our own lives may be a mess, but we demand nothing but perfection from the Bucks! Why, in the opening minutes of game #1, can’t Meyer have his guys in mid-season form? Maybe it’s because the best time for the team to peak is at the end of the season, not at the start.
    Sure there are things to work on, to improve – defensive backfield, receivers holding onto passes, blocking schemes – but I guarantee the Buckeyes, Meyer & Co. will be ready for “Boomer Sooner” come Saturday week.
    As for Barrett, once again – as it was in the days of Kern and Maciejowski and ever after – the most popular quarterback is the one on the bench, awaiting the call of “next man up.” We better enjoy Barrett now, because next year we may be wishing he was still leading the Buckeyes.

  8. JT worries me, sometimes it looks like highschool balls being thrown out there and he is not looking off the receivers at all and looks flustered in the pocket.

  9. Yes he could have had two more TD passes if his receivers could have hung on the the passes that came to them, one was rediculous from a perfect TD pass to H. Campbell and he dropped it. Another one was a short pass to one of the receivers, can’t remember who it waw, and he couldn’t pull it in when was right on target. Yes he did miss some, but nobody’s perfect. Get off the bad passing of JT. After all, if you could do better, I’m sure Coach Meyer would be happy to sign you up. You have no idea what its like when there are hungary and aggressive defensive player breathing down your neck. Notice one thing which was the O L played much better pass protection the second half than they did the first. Their run blocking wasn’t too bad most of the game.

    1. Thats his job when defenses are coming at him.

  10. First off, my ‘prediction’ was miles off. Lots went into that but first and foremost I tip my cap to Indiana – I didn’t see a pass-only team being able to do what they did to the Silver Bullets. There was a lot that went into that but it’s been covered by many so I’ll just say “Nice job!” by the Hoosiers for making some big-time plays for 2 1/2 quarters.
    Next thing I noticed that HASN’T been said by anyone on any site yet is where was Demario McCall? I don’t remember his name being called all night.
    Davewr is just flat-out wrong. Indiana has some GOOD DBs and the young receivers were doing J.T. no favors. I saw one ball that wasn’t the best for a TE in the end zone, but even that wasn’t THAT bad. Was he mid-season sharp? No, but he certainly wasn’t worth moaning about either. Now if Barrett can’t torch some, in my mind, mediocre Big 12 DBs next week I’ll start to wonder but it amazes me how many people are willing to diss the B1G’s all-time TD leader.
    I got on the J.K. Dobbins hype train somewhere around the middle of Fall camp and while I like Mike Weber, the kid, Mike Weber the RB isn’t as good as Dobbins. He’s just not. Not a knock on the kid but Dobbins is a MUCH better bellcow back.
    Zone six still doesn’t impress me. By the time they made plays on Indiana their DBs were tired. Drops and lack of good separation in the 1st half and watching Indiana’s less-heralded receivers make NFL catches in the 1st half just didn’t look good at all as a group. I’ll give it a couple more weeks before I jump completely off their bandwagon but they did nothing to inspire last night.
    DL looked good, but not great. I’m okay with their play. Disappointed for Rob Landers – while I agree with the call that’s as close as it will ever get to a fumble without being one.
    All-in-all it was a good win.

  11. I still don’t like JT. His passing hasn’t improved and he could have had at least two more TD’s if he put the ball where the receiver could catch it. I can’t wait until next year when Burrow and Haskins can show their stuff. Both are much more accurate passers than JT, and OSU will be unstoppable with a QB that can hit his targets reliably to go along with their amazing running game.

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