COLUMBUS — Ohio State’s already thin defensive backfield took another hit during Saturday’s 24-13 win over Illinois when Tyler Moeller, having one of the best seasons of anyone on the Buckeyes’ defense, suffered a possible torn muscle in his shoulder.
There is no such thing as good timing for an injury, but losing a defensive back with Indiana next up on the schedule is definitely bad timing.
The Hoosiers’ quarterback Ben Chappell was 45 of 64 for 480 yards in a 42-35 loss to Michigan on Saturday. It was the sixth 300-yard passing game of his career.
Ohio State has already lost starting safety C.J. Barnett for the season. Moeller, coming back from missing all of 2009 because of a non-football injury, was hurt in the first quarter on Saturday.
His injury pushed true freshman Christian Bryant onto the field for much of the win over Illinois. If Moeller is out for an extended time, expect to see much more of Bryant in the upcoming games.
Indiana, who comes to Ohio Stadium for a noon game this Saturday, does not appear to be the pushover it once was. But the Hoosiers will have to prove they can beat Big Ten opponents consistently before they escape their old image.
No. 2 Ohio State (5-0, 1-0) has not lost to Indiana (3-1, 0-1 Big Ten) since 1988. IU’s loss to Michigan was its 17th in a row to the Wolverines, dating back to 1987.
The Hoosiers are averaging 39.9 points a game this season on offense, behind only Ohio State (44.2) and Michigan (41.4) in the Big Ten. But they are also giving up 25 points a game.
Indiana receivers Tandon Doss (15 catches, 221 yards) and Damarlo Belcher (10 catches, 91 yards) both had big days against Michigan. But in the end, Indiana’s defense was even less sturdy than Michigan’s highly questionable defense.
Indiana rolled up 568 total yards, but Michigan topped that with 574, all but 80 yards of it by quarterback Denard Robinson.
After gaining only 290 yards total offense against Illinois, Ohio State’s offense is looking for improvement.
Offensive lineman Justin Boren says the improvement needs to start with the line.
“We just didn’t do very well at anything,” he said after the Illinois game.
What Ohio State’s offense did was return to the running-dominated plan it used late last season when quarterback Terrelle Pryor was limited by a knee injury.
Pryor was most of Ohio State’s offense in the first half at Illinois before leaving the game for a few minutes after a leg injury.
The injury is being called a strained quadriceps muscle and he was able to play the rest of the second half after a brief trip to the locker room.
“I was in full stride and all of a sudden it was like, ‘What’s going on?’” Pryor said about the injury.
After treatment this week, he is expected to be ready to play against Indiana. But the question is if he will be the Terrelle Pryor of the Rose Bowl and the first four games this season, or will he be the Terrelle Pryor of the second half of the game and the second half of last year?
Pryor threw for a season-low 76 yards and ran only once against Illinois after the injury. In the second half of last season, he had three games of fewer than 100 yards passing.
OSU pass defense will get a workout against Indiana