BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The long line of tail lights of the cars leaving the parking lots around Memorial Stadium before halftime told the story of Ohio State’s 54-7 win over Indiana on Saturday night.
This one was over long before it was over. And it was also raining, a combination which convinced all but a few thousand hardy Indiana fans to call it a night early by the time the fourth quarter came around.
Ohio State had let all but a few points of a big early lead slip away last year in a 42-35 win over the Hoosiers. It took no chances this time.
Ohio State outscored Indiana 37-0 in the last 18 minutes of the first half to take away any hope the Hoosiers had of a season-salvaging upset.
The Buckeyes scored all six times they had the football in the first half.
“We came out and played well. We actually weren’t expecting rain and we handled that pretty well,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said.
Indiana coach Tom Allen obviously was less enthusiastic about what he saw.
“It was ugly. That’s the best way to describe it,” Allen said.
OSU scored the first time it had the ball on an 11-yard touchdown run by Miyan Williams at the end of a 12-play, 75-yard drive.
Indiana answered with a 15-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Jack Tuttle to Peyton Hendershot to tie the game at 7-7 with 2:58 left in the first quarter.
But it was a costly score for Indiana when hard, but legal hits on the touchdown pass by several Ohio State pass rushers knocked Tuttle out of the game. Tuttle, IU’s No. 2 quarterback, was taking the place of starting quarterback Michael Penix, Jr., who was out with a separated shoulder.
With Tuttle out of the game, Indiana’s offense became almost non-existent. It had 54 yards of total offense in the first half, which means it produced -21 yards in the first half after Tuttle was forced to the sideline.
First, the Hoosiers tried freshman Donaven McCulley, who is a one-dimensional run first, second and third quarterback, then went to walk-on Grant Gremel.
No. 5 Ohio State (6-1, 4-0 Big Ten) rolled up 539 yards total offense and held Indiana (2-5, 0-4 Big Ten) to 128 yards in the game. The Buckeyes had 31 first downs to 10 for Indiana.
OSU quarterback C.J. Stroud was 21 of 28 for 266 yards and four touchdowns. TreVeyon Henderson rushed for 81 yards on nine carries. The freshman running back had two rushing touchdowns and one receiving TD.
Ohio State went ahead 14-7 on a 21-yard rushing touchdown by Henderson with 1:25 left in the first quarter.
A 14-yard pass from Stroud to Henderson made it 21-7 with 12:47 left in the first half. The lead grew to 23-7 on a safety when the ball was snapped over punter Jared Smoler’s head and Marvin Harrison Jr. tackled him in the end zone.
After a 42-yard kickoff return by Emeka Egbuka, a 25-yard touchdown run by Henderson put OSU up 30-7.
Henderson’s third touchdown of the first half, on a 6-yard run, made it 37-7 and Stroud connected with tight end Jeremy Ruckert for a 14-yard touchdown pass which gave Ohio State its 44-7 halftime lead.
Stroud and Ruckert combined for a 2-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter and Noah Ruggles hit a 26-yard field goal to complete the scoring.
“It felt like 2019. There is just so much confidence. When we get the ball back we think we’re going to score,” Day said.
Next up for Ohio State is a Saturday night game against Penn State at Ohio Stadium. “This is going to be the biggest challenge of the year coming up,” Day said.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414.