There are few things more enjoyable than the chance to be inside a college football stadium on Saturday afternoons in the fall.
The pageantry of college football is unmatched in American sports. Up close, it’s awe-inspiring, especially watching it from the sidelines in a way that is only a dream to most folks. Because I’m really, really fortunate, I get to do that every weekend.
When you’re watching it from the sidelines, though, there are things you’re sure to miss. That’s why it’s important to get home and watch it again from the couch. With a beer.
That’s what I’m doing now, taking a few hours to have a Scarlet and Gray replay and seeing things that might’ve been missed at first glance during Ohio State’s closer-than-expected, 38-17 win over the competitive Indiana Hoosiers.
It’s 1 p.m. ET on Sunday and I’m sitting here with my new puppy – her name is Psycho – and my first Dos Equis of the weekend is chilled and ready for tasting.
Let’s watch Ohio State and Indiana, shall we?
I mentioned it during a Landof10.com Facebook Live session earlier this week, but it’s been a long time since Indiana beat Ohio State: 1988. The Hoosiers have been getting closer, though, and there was no doubt throughout the week that the Buckeyes were taking IU seriously.
First Quarter – Ohio State receives the kick
- Interesting move by Indiana to give the Buckeyes offense the ball first, but the Hoosiers did a great job early establishing field position with a big special teams play on the opening kick.
- Mike Weber off-tackle is a play that should and could give the Buckeyes an edge all day. He’s so good at knowing when to cut upfield.
- That was a weird, weird “pitch” by QB J.T. Barrett to Weber — too soon, too hard and right off his facemask. Another first-possession turnover for the Buckeyes. Indiana forced three Ohio State turnovers a year ago.
- Ohio State’s defense is backed against the wall immediately. Devine Redding, a Cleveland native, is similar to Weber, very explosive when he makes his first cut.
- Malik Hooker saves a touchdown and the Hoosiers are in business. First-and-goal at the 6.
- Why do teams run that silly “option” to the short side of the field? You’re not going to beat the Buckeyes defense to the edge in that scenario.
- Nice to see Dre’Mont Jones step up early. He’s been one of the question marks along the interior of the defensive line. Field goal, Hoosiers. 3-0 Indiana.
- Coach Urban Meyer said it earlier this week: Parris Campbell is close to breaking one. He’s seeing the field well.
- You can’t be much more wide open than Curtis Samuel was on that second-and-8 play and Barrett underthrew him by about 15 yards. Beyond that, I have no idea how the official doesn’t call pass interference on that play. Not a good call by the officials.
- Nice play call to get Marcus Baugh free and the Buckeyes get a big third-and-8 conversion.
- There’s Noah Brown; the Buckeyes have to involve him early and boost confidence in the passing game.
- You don’t and won’t see Pat Elflein and Billy Price miss a defender very often like they did on that option play. Hoosiers blew it up in the backfield.
- Elflein snaps it right by Barrett’s head, but fortunately the Buckeyes had a dumb offensive penalty instead, in the red zone, again.
- Hard to believe a true freshman like A’Shon Riggins, from Hamilton, Ohio, is covering Noah Brown like that, two plays in a row. Barrett throws it to Brown anyway; he’s fortunate he didn’t get picked off. The Buckeyes kick a game-tying field goal from 37 yards. Buckeyes 3, Hoosiers 3.
- Indiana nearly busts that kick return. Not sure where all three members of the Ohio State return team were going, but they all went inside when the returner went outside.
- Mitchell Paige being guarded by Chris Worley seems like a losing bet for the Buckeyes. Indiana moving the ball again.
- Beer two.
- For the first time this season, the Ohio State home crowd makes a difference, forcing a penalty and then a timeout, which stopped the Hoosiers momentum. At this point in the game on the sideline, it got loud. The Hoosiers suddenly can’t get out of their own way. They punt and pin the Buckeyes at their own 1-yard line.
- Ohio State has won the field position battle easily this year but Indiana has done a great job already.
- Weber again — the Buckeyes should feed him the ball.
- Where’s Samuel?
- Barrett forces a ball to a covered James Clark; it’s tipped and the Buckeyes will punt.
Second Quarter – Hoosiers ball at their own 18
- Richard Lagow has perhaps the ugliest passing motion I’ve seen from a Big Ten quarterback. He also wears No. 21 so I’m not sure if he’s supposed to be a quarterback.
- Good punt by the Hoosiers, again.
- Samuel gets the same pitch that bounced off of Weber’s facemask earlier; still, just 2 yards. No rhythm for the Buckeyes.
- Barrett steps up in the pocket right into a sack, and Elflein loses his guy. Then, on third down, he does it again as Isaiah Prince loses his guy. Not good, Buckeyes. Fortunately, punter Cam Johnston plays for Ohio State and leaves no chance for a return.
- Tyquan Lewis makes a huge play for the Buckeyes and forces a fumble, though I thought on the field it’d be overturned. Still sort of surprised it wasn’t. Huge break for Ohio State. It’ll start a drive inside the Hoosiers 10.
- Too cute, Buckeyes. Run power the ball.
- Thank you. Weber for 9 easy yards and a score. Buckeyes 10, Hoosiers 3.
- Is there any player on the Ohio State defense less talked about but who does as much as Jalyn Holmes? Dude is a playmaker.
- Nick Westbrook toasted Denzel Ward, wow.
- Stop running, Hoosiers. It’s not going to work.
- Stop passing against the cornerbacks, Hoosiers. It’s not going to work (except for the play two plays ago, obviously).
- Sheesh, another perfect punt by Indiana. The Buckeyes get the ball at the 2-yard line.
- Barrett gets time to throw but again underthrows the wide receiver. Campbell had to stop former Ohio State commitment Tyler Green from intercepting the pass on first down.
- Barrett throws the ball as hard as he can to Dontre Wilson on third down, but it’s high and again, he’s lucky it was not intercepted on the tip. The Buckeyes punt and there’s no return for Indiana’s Paige, but the Hoosiers get the ball in plus territory.
- Michael Hill misses in the backfield, but Jones makes a play. Encouraging. Zero yards rushing on Indiana’s last 10 carries.
- Nick Bosa and Holmes just absolutely collapsed the Hoosiers offensive line on third-and-25. The Hoosiers punt and Ohio State has a chance to flip field position after a weird punt.
- Samuel is so explosive. Get. Him. The. Ball. More. Often.
- Ooooh, Buckeyes get a break there. Samuel sloppy with the ball and Wilson saves the day on what would’ve been a bad turnover.
- Three straight carries for Samuel, three big runs. Hmmm. Hoosiers will have to stop letting Barrett hand it off.
- Beer three.
- Maybe you don’t want Barrett to run it himself, eh? Twenty-seven-yard run on the option. Touchdown Samuel on the next play. That was a textbook drive for Ohio State. Buckeyes 17, Hoosiers 3.
- Come on, Kicker. Don’t. Kick. It. Out. Of. Bounds.
- Sam Hubbard has become a really good run stopper.
- Big third-down play by Indiana. No one else has made that play against the Buckeyes this year. Beautifully executed slip-screen.
- Hoosiers score, slant behind the linebackers, in front of Damon Webb. That’s a soft spot if you’re throwing against Ohio State. Buckeyes 17, Hoosiers 10.
- So, so close, Campbell. A 91-yard return to the Hoosiers 6. What a momentum swing. That’s the first time Ohio State fans have seen the explosiveness Campbell is capable of. (Campbell almost fumbled the ball, too.)
- Touchdown, Barrett. That feels like a really important score for Ohio State; it can back into halftime with some good vibes. Buckeyes 24, Hoosiers 10.
Third Quarter – Hoosiers receive the football
- Indiana starts at its own 11 after a hold on the kick. Malik Harrison and Rashod Berry on coverage is wild; big guys like that shouldn’t move like they do.
- Beer four.
- The Hoosiers are moving the ball with the run a little bit and the pass. Good balance and keeping the Buckeyes off balance. Can’t remember a drive like this one against Ohio State this season.
- Hooker, for whatever reason, decided he was not going to guard the tight end. Touchdown Hoosiers; we’ve got a ballgame, again. Buckeyes 24, Hoosiers 17.
- Barrett opens the Buckeyes’ first drive of the half with two straight carries. Samuel is on the field, not Weber.
- More Barrett, on the ground. First down, but will any receiver get open? That was a designed pass play that broke down.
- Samuel for 27 yards in the blink of an eye. Still no Weber in the backfield in this half, had one play lined up at wideout. I thought, during the live game, he may have been hurt.
- Indiana’s front seven is actually really good.
- 5:45 remains in the third quarter and Barrett doesn’t have a passing yard since the first quarter. That’s less than good. Still, Ohio State is driving by just running the ball with Barrett and Samuel.
- Weber is in, a quick 9 yards. I know this sounds blasphemous but I think he’s “quicker” than Ezekiel Elliott. He hits the hole fast.
- Elflein seems off today; he almost snapped that one over Barrett’s head.
- Touchdown Weber. Another impressive answer by Ohio State. Buckeyes 31, Hoosiers 17.
- After running the ball successfully on it first series of the half, Indiana wants to keep that going, but it’s not working.
- Gareon Conley is playing a whale of a game. Hoosiers punt after a three-and-out.
- Clark, wide open, just slightly overthrown but I really felt – and I was about 10 yards from it – that if Clark had stretched out a bit he reels it in for a big play. A more accurate ball is a touchdown, but it still could’ve been caught.
- Ohio State’s offense looks content to go home with a 31-17 win. Four Hoosiers apply pressure and force another incompletion. One more punt for Johnston, and another 50-yard-plus bomb.
- Never heard of officials not getting into position as a reason to replay a play. Weird. I digress.
- I said it last week, I’ll say it again – even with as good as Conley is playing – Marshon Lattimore is the best cornerback on Ohio State’s roster. It sounds hyperbolic but he could be the best since Shawn Springs.
- Beer five.
- Three and out, Hoosiers. This one is getting boring and if it were a Saturday afternoon I’d be flipping around the channels to find closer or better games.
- Ohio State should’ve offered Indiana’s Tegray Scales out of high school (he’s from Cincinnati Colerain) and I’m more sure of it now. He was in the 2014 class with Raekwon McMillan, Dante Booker, Kyle Berger and Hubbard, but I really liked his game. Ohio State goes three and out.
Fourth Quarter – Hoosiers ball at their own 20
- Joe Burger makes a play every time he’s on the field. Jerome Baker seemed to get dinged up and required Burger coming in.
- Nick Bosa was tackled on third-and-9 and no hold was called, but the Buckeyes force a punt. This one feels over.
- Run Barrett. Run Barrett. Run Barrett. Ohio State is in full-on get-it-over-with mode and it’s allowing Barrett to get hit time after time. I know Urban Meyer said he’s just trying to win the game, but it makes way more sense to me to let Weber and Samuel take the ball if all you’re trying to do is run out the clock.
- Another tipped pass — actually dropped by Baugh — and Indiana does intercept it. Seemed like Baugh was trying to catch and turn back into the field, but forgot to actually catch it. Hoosiers at the Buckeyes 13.
- If Indiana scores here, this one is going to get weird.
- That’s a clear fumble; Holmes made an amazing play. I thought Conley made the recovery on Saturday and I think it now. I can’t see how Redding recovered that himself as it was ruled on the field. Conley was the only player close to a clear recovery.
- OK, whatever, it’s Indiana ball somehow.
- Fourth-and-1, in a game-defining situation and Bosa is on the field. That speaks volumes.
- Bosa. Bosa. Bosa. That’s as good as it gets.
- Screen pass to Weber. Yeah! Completed pass.
- Just give it to Weber for the next eight minutes, please. It’s almost dinner time.
- OK, let’s punt again.
- That was fast, four and out, Indiana turns it over on downs and Ohio State has the ball at the Hoosiers 33.
- I guess the Buckeyes have the ball at the 48 because a player on the sideline accidentally bumped an official or something.
- Barrett for 10 yards on third-and-9. Amazing that even when you know it’s coming, he picks up that many yards.
- Game over. Barrett to Wilson for a 37-yard score. Tough catch, tough run. Good for Dontre, looked explosive and healthy. Buckeyes 38, Hoosiers. 17.
- What a play — an interception and a return by Hooker. He’s a first-round pick in the NFL draft next year. I know the letter of the rule on the chop block, but it seemed like Damon Arnette attempted to hit him higher and the lineman jumped up; oh well.
Really, game over. 38-17 final.
Birm’s Final thoughts
It’s hard — or unreasonable — to be upset after a 21-point win against a pretty good team, but I know people expected more from the Buckeyes on Saturday. You’re not going to play perfectly every week, and there are still a number of positive takeaways.
- Barrett is tough as hell. He could’ve lost his cool and composure and gotten down on himself after the struggles of the passing game, but he didn’t. He bowed his back and did what he needed to do to win the game.
- Samuel and Weber are really good.
- Bosa is officially official.
- The Ohio State secondary is ridiculous.
- The Ohio State defensive line played its best game of the year.
- The offensive line in pass-protection was suspect. I’ve said it three weeks in a row and my concerns are still there.
- Where are the wide receivers? I watched Michigan State pass the ball all over Indiana a week ago. There were some missed shots downfield but the wideouts need to get open.
- Too many hits on Barrett, obviously.
- Nine carries for Samuel isn’t enough.
- The drive-killing penalties on offense.
THE PLAYERS OF THE GAME
- J.T. Barrett
- Curtis Samuel
- Parris Campbell
- Tyquan Lewis
- Nick Bosa
- Jalyn Holmes
- Jerome Baker
- Raekwon McMillan
- Gareon Conley
- Marshon Lattimore