“There’s no question that they’re who this whole conference has been chasing and they have performed at that level…But it also creates tremendous opportunity, and that’s how I look at it.” ~ Indiana head coach Tom Allen
Speaking about Ohio State, Indiana head coach Tom Allen is relishing the opportunity to welcome the Buckeyes into Memorial Stadium, in Bloomington, Indiana. If Indiana were to upset Ohio State (GASP! Darkest Day III!?!), it would be the first time since October 8, 1988. That was back when some young whippersnapper named Ronald Reagan was President of the United States, and a gallon of gas cost 90 cents a gallon.
Don’t get me wrong, Indiana has given Ohio State plenty of scares through the years. A tie in 1990 (27-27) back when ties were actually a thing. In Urban Meyer’s first year, Ohio State escaped with a 3 point win (52-49) in 2012. Urban Meyer, coming off a national championship year in 2014, also escaped Bloomington in 2015 with arguably the most talented Ohio State team in history with a 34-27 win.
Last week, Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson declared Cincinnati was like a B1G team. By his logic, and I agree, Indiana is the type of B1G opponent that would be comparable to Cincinnati. So Ohio State should be adequately prepared as conference play awaits.
Indiana is 2-0 and is eager to welcome the Buckeyes into what they believe will be a contentious and challenging home environment. Below are three areas I will be focusing upon when FOX picks up the coverage at 12pm EST.
1. Indiana’s Whop Philyor vs. Ohio State’s Secondary – Whop Philyor is quite confident that Ohio State can be defeated, stating, “We came (to Indiana) to beat teams like Ohio State. … We didn’t come here to play them, we came here to beat them.” As a slot receiver, Philyor could be a challenging matchup, regardless of how Ohio State decides to defend him. Does Damon Arnette get the call?
2. Indiana’s Run Defense vs. Ohio State’s Rush Offense – J.K. Dobbins had a terrific game last week versus Cincinnati, and it would be a welcome sight to see Dobbins perform well against the Hoosiers. Indiana has traditionally played a 4-2-5 alignment to help defend spread-oriented teams. Indiana was dominant against FCS Eastern Illinois last week against the run; how about Ohio State? How effective Dobbins plays will be something to focus upon. Keep an eye on Indiana defensive lineman Jerome Johnson versus the interior Ohio State offensive line.
3. Where Is Marcelino Ball Prior To The Snap Of The Ball? – Ohio State fans have been hearing about the concept of “The Bullet” within the Buckeye defense, but Ball is representative of that flexibility that Indiana has with Ball. Spying Justin Fields? Covering Dobbins out of the backfield as a receiver? Ball can be counted upon to fulfill a multitude of roles within the Hoosier defense.