College football: Ohio State gets back to routine in victory

COLUMBUS — With the oddity of last week’s wind-blown victory at Northwestern fresh in his mind, Ohio State football coach Ryan Day described OSU’s 56-14 win over Indiana on Saturday as “more like a normal game.”

Normal started with the No. 2 Buckeyes (10-0, 7-0 Big Ten) rolling up 662 yards of total offense, including a season-high 340 yards rushing.

It also included C.J. Stroud completing 17 of 28 passes for 297 yards and 5 touchdowns, Miyan Williams rushing for 147 yards on 15 carries, Marvin Harrison Jr. catching 7 passes for 135 yards and a touchdown and tight end Cade Stover having two touchdown catches.

Defensively, OSU had five sacks, 10 tackles for losses, and a blocked punt.

But there were some departures from normal in the game, too. Williams left the game before halftime with the help of two trainers after he was unable to put any weight on his right foot. The Buckeyes’ other leading rusher, TreVeyon Henderson spent the game on the sideline with a walking boot on his left foot, and Chip Trayanum, who had recently moved to running back from linebacker, was also unavailable.

And there was a feel good moment late in the game when wide receiver Kamryn Babb, who has had four ACL surgeries, caught the first touchdown pass of his career.

The absence of Williams and Henderson allowed freshman running back Dallan Hayden (102 yards on 19 carries) and all-purpose running back/receiver/special teams player Xavier Johnson (71-yard touchdown run) to contribute more than they normally do.

Maybe the biggest normal of all was the outcome of the game. Ohio State has 59 wins, two losses and two ties against Indiana since 1952.

The Hoosiers’ record dropped to 3-7 overall and 1-6 in the Big Ten as they lost for the seventh game in a row this season.

“That felt more like a normal game. And it was great to get a special teams big play,” Day said.

“I think both those guys (Hayden and Johnson) showed they can do a good job. Whether it’s Trey, Miyan or Chip, we’re hoping to get all those guys back. It’s been frustrating not having a full strength running backs room. But I guess the positive is we’ve been able to keep it going.”

The Buckeyes also played without starting offensive tackle Dawand Jones and cornerback Denzel Burke.

“It’s this time of year. Guys are going to be banged up. There were a lot of guys who played banged up today. A lot,” Day said.

Ohio State jumped out to a 28-7 halftime lead and the game’s outcome was never in doubt after that.

OSU started the scoring with a 6-yard touchdown pass from Stroud to Emeka Egbuka on its second possession of the game to make it 7-0.

Hayden’s 14-yard touchdown run at the end of an 8-play, 78-yard drive put OSU up 14-0 with 4:31 left in the first quarter.

After Indiana went three and out on its next series, the Buckeyes needed only one play to get their third touchdown, a 58-yard connection between Stroud and Harrison, which made it 21-0 with 2:37 left in the first quarter

Dexter Williams then replaced Connor Bazelak at quarterback and he ran for 16 yards on his first play and hit a 49-yard pass to Andison Coby to get Indiana to OSU’s 10-yard line. Three plays later he found tight end A.J. Barner in the end zone for a touchdown pass with four seconds remaining in the first quarter.

The scoring pace slowed down in the second quarter, in fact it came to a halt after Ohio State got a 48-yard touchdown run from Williams with 10:41 to play in the first half to give OSU a 28-7 lead.

Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414.

Jim Naveau has covered local and high school sports for The Lima News since 1978 and Ohio State football since 1992. His OSU coverage appears in more than 30 newspapers. Naveau, a Miami University graduate, also worked at the Greenville Advocate and the Piqua Daily Call. He has seen every boys state basketball tournament since 1977. Reach him at [email protected] or 567-242-0414.