Ohio State grade card: Buckeyes get big win without playing at their best

A grade card on Ohio State’s 42-35 win over Indiana, which put the Buckeyes in control of the East Division of the Big Ten:


When Ohio State’s offense was good, it was very good. But there were long stretches where it just disappeared. OSU scored on its first possession of the game, its last three drives of the first half and the first time it had the ball in the second half.

But after going ahead 35-7, the Buckeyes’ only touchdown in the final 27 minutes came from the defense on a pass interception. Master Teague rushed for a career-best 169 yards and OSU had 607 yards total offense. But Justin Fields had the worst game when healthy that he has had at Ohio State with three interceptions. And he was sacked five times


Like the offense, Ohio State’s defense did some things very well and other things not very well at all. It held Indiana’s best running back, Stevie Scott to 6 yards on 7 carries and the Hoosiers had -1 yards rushing as a team. And it did stop the Hoosiers twice in the fourth quarter when they had the ball with a chance to tie the game.

But the Buckeyes’ pass defense, a concern all season, was torched for 491 yards and five touchdown passes by Indiana quarterback Michael Penix. The Hoosiers had pass plays of 71 yards, 68 yards, 63 yards, 56 yards, 51 yards and 33 yards. Shaun Wade’s pick six was only the second interception in four games for OSU this season. In its first four Big Ten games last season it had seven interceptions.


Blake Haubeil’s absence because of a groin injury was noticed when Jake Seibert missed a 44-yard field goal attempt. Drue Chrisman’s five punts were the most he has had this season and there were only two games last season in which he had that many.


As Urban Meyer would say, the best thing about being 4-0 is the chance to go 5-0. Ohio State did beat the best team it has faced this season and that kind of got lost in the postgame analysis. But the Buckeyes’ performance was not national championship level.


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