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Ohio State Prevails In Lackluster Week 1 23-3 Victory over Indiana


As Urban Meyer used to say, the best part about being 1-0 is the chance to go 2-0. That is about the best that can be said for Ohio State's offense after a disappointing showing against the pesky Indiana Hoosiers to open the 2023 season. Ohio State beat Indiana 23-3 to extend the Buckeyes' winning streak over the Hoosiers to 29.

 

Defense Rules The Day

CBS' first Big Ten broadcast since the start of the new TV deals was not the most beautiful game Ohio State or Indiana have ever played. As the broadcast noted, it was the first time since 1966 that Ohio State and Indiana combined to score fewer than 30 points in a game. Iowa outscored Ohio State today. Iowa!


The game started as expected. Indiana received the ball to start the game and promptly went three and out. Ohio State then drove 80 yards to score their first touchdown of the season. The Buckeyes showed a different mentality on offense on the first drive. Kyle McCord took a number of snaps from under center. Ohio State deployed numerous formations that included either two tight ends or two running backs. Despite the wealth of talent at the receiver position, it seemed as if Ryan Day wanted to highlight bigger personnel packages to start the season. The key play of the opening drive was Ohio State converting a fourth and two to take the ball to Indiana's 24. Miyan Williams finished the drive with a seven-yard touchdown run, which had fellow running back Chip Traynum serving as the fullback immediately following Traynum's own 17-yard run to make it goal to go.


It turns out the first drive showed a lot of looks that Ryan Day wanted to employ for the entire game. Ohio State continued to trot out heavier personnel package groups and McCord was regularly under center. However, unlike the first drive, Ohio State struggled to maintain drives for the rest of the first half. All credit due to Indiana, in particular linebacker Aaron Casey who wreaked havoc all game long for the Hoosiers. After several stalled drives, Ryan Day sent Devin Brown out to lead the offense on a drive. The Buckeyes went three and out, including a designed quarterback run that was blown up in the backfield on third and one. The Buckeyes' 2022 struggles in converting short-yardage situations on the ground spilled over to the start of this season.


For Indiana, they generated very little offensive momentum the entire game. The Buckeyes held the Hoosiers to a meager 153 yards for the day. The Buckeyes defense was sound throughout the game. It was not necessarily a dominant game rushing the passer as they only generated one sack. Instead, Ohio State generated decent pressure and tackled incredibly well. Indiana rarely caught the ball with space to run. Receivers were brought to the ground almost immediately when Indiana did manage to complete passes into smaller windows. Indiana ran a lot of triple option concepts from the shotgun, and aside from a couple of dive plays that broke for 10+ yard runs, the Ohio State linebackers and secondary played sound assignment football and limited the effectiveness of any outside runs. Indiana's lone field goal came with six minutes left in the game on a 42-yard kick by Chris Freeman. A kick that doinked off the upright and in.


In the second half, Ohio State's suffocating defense continued and the Buckeyes were a little more effective on offense. Starting with their second possession in the second half, the Buckeyes scored on three straight possessions, going field goal, touchdown, field goal, to increase the lead 23-3. Ohio State had other chances, but McCord was just unable to connect with his superstar receivers. For example, Harrison seemingly caught a long touchdown pass in the third quarter, but he stepped out of bounds running his route and the touchdown was taken off the board. Late in the first half, McCord nearly hit freshman Carnell Tate twice, one which seemed like a drop by Tate (Tate was hit pretty good) which would have put Ohio State inside the five, and the other which would have been a touchdown, except the pass was knocked away by the Indiana defender at the last moment.


All said, both teams probably feel pretty good about the efforts of their defenses on the day. Both fan bases will also be hoping to see significant improvement by the offense in the next couple of weeks, particularly Ohio State fans who are accustomed to teeing off against Indiana as of late.

 

The Turning Point

There was not a singular play that turned this game around, but Ohio State's third drive of the second half was the clinching drive of the game. TreVeyon Henderson had been bottled up for most of the first half and the start of the second half. The Buckeyes sent Chip Traynum out and it seemed to get the offense in sync. Traynum had runs of 14, 12, 9, and 9 yards on the drive, to pair with a 49-yard catch and run by tight end Cade Stover on a play-action seam route. Miyan Williams finished off the drive with his second touchdown of the day. Ohio State was up 20-3 and it appeared the game was on ice.

Ohio State's MVP

Cade Stover, who was Ohio State's most consistent offensive player on the day. Stover caught five passes for 98 yards, including the aforementioned 49-yarder that led to Ohio State's second touchdown of the day. Stover was also pretty good blocking on the day, although he was caught holding after getting beat on an assignment in the first half. Nobody was perfect for Ohio State today.


Indiana's MVP

Linebacker Aaron Casey. He was everywhere for Indiana's defense. He blew up several short-yardage plays, especially in the first half when it seemed like Ohio State needed just one or two more plays to crack the code on offense. He finished with 11 tackles on the day and one tackle for loss. Honestly, those numbers seem low. It felt like he lived in Ohio State's backfield in the first half. The Buckeyes probably have at least another 10 points if Casey is not on the field for the Hoosiers.

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