Just Keep Swinging
Ohio State went into the half against Indiana trailing 14-13. It was the second-straight time they had trailed at the half in Bloomington.
The last time was 2015, and they needed 200 yards rushing in the second half from Ezekiel Elliott to hold onto a 34-27 victory.
This time out things were much easier, however.
“Both sides of the ball, obviously we started off slow,” said H-back Parris Campbell. “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. We just kind of relied on each other. Everyone is going to go hard no matter what at the end of the day, so I feel like that was the edge that pushed us through.”
The Ohio State Defense Was in Control
Indiana may have led 14-13 at the half, but they were doing it in a manner that couldn’t be maintained. The Hoosiers had thrown 40 passes and run the ball just 11 times. That was not the balance they were seeking, and things didn’t get any better in the second half when the Buckeyes started scoring at will.
Indiana quarterback Richard Lagow ended up completing 40-of-65 attempts for 410 yards. It was an impressive statistical performance, but it only led to 21 points. The lack of a running game is what ultimately doomed the Hoosiers.
“Talking to their guys, they think they’ve got five first-round draft picks over there, eventually,” Indiana head coach Tom Allen said. “That’s not normal. They are pretty elite up front, for sure. Made it tough. Yeah, you’ve got to run the football and obviously we didn’t want to throw it that many times, but at the same time, it’s kind of what they forced us to do. There weren’t the same matchups up front that you like to have each week. They are a great football team.”
It was June 2, 1925 when Yankees’ first baseman Wally Pipp arrived at work with a headache and asked the team trainer for two aspirin. This prompted Yankees manager Miller Huggins to give Pipp the day off. In his place, Huggins went with 21-year old pinch-hitter Lou Gehrig. It was the first of 2,130-consecutive games played for Gehrig. Pipp would later say of that afternoon, “I took the two most expensive aspirin in history.”
Following Ohio State’s 49-21 win over Indiana on Thursday, thanks in large part to the 181 yards rushing by freshman backup running back J.K. Dobbins, Urban Meyer was asked if he had mentioned Wally Pipp to his team.
“If I walked in that locker room and said ‘Wally Pipp,’ they’d look at me like I had nine heads,” he laughed. “How many players you think know that?”
Still, it was an impressive performance by Dobbins, and one that starter Mike Weber certainly had to notice.
“I mean, that’s life in the big city,” Meyer said. “However, Mike’s a hell of a player, and if Mike Weber wasn’t a worker and a grinder, but he’s a hell of a player and he’s in the best shape of his life. We’re anxious to get him back.”
Primary Concern in the Secondary?
The Ohio State defense gave up 420 yards passing to the Indiana Hoosiers, and 284 of those yards occurred in the first half. Richard Lagow completed 24-of-38 passes for 278 yards and two touchdowns, and backup Peyton Ramsey even completed one of his two passes for six yards.
Urban Meyer wasn’t able to watch the defense closely, but he certainly wasn’t happy with what he was seeing live.
“Our defense was exposed big time in the first half,” he said. “The pass defense was awful. It wasn’t complicated, they were just picking on the corners. The corners have got to step up. We see what’s coming in about eight days, nine days, whenever that is, in Oklahoma. If we don’t get that right, it’s a problem.”
So what changed in the second half?
“I will have to see the videotape, obviously they must have played better,” Meyer said of his corners. “I was so much involved with the offense and I kept looking up saying, ‘What the heck is going on here?’ I saw back shoulder fades and fades, and then they just seemed to play much better.”