Ohio State Beats Indiana, But There’s Still Signs Of Trouble
It took awhile, but Ohio State finally shook off the hangover from last year and pulled away from Indiana. What now?
It wasn’t always pretty, and there’s still a rusted out dents in the passing game, but a win in week one against a non-directional intramural squad will be something to build on for Ohio State.
New head coach Tom Allen had the whole state of Indiana buttered up and ready to go by calling the opener against Ohio State “the biggest home opener in Indiana football history.”
And in a reversal of college football seasons past, folks in Bloomington actually listened and showed up in force to outnumber Ohio State fans for once in Memorial Stadium. For awhile at least, it looked like the Cream and Crimson party was intent on trashing the house and lighting the dumpster on fire for the Buckeyes.
But then halftime hit and the Urban Meyer did what Urban Meyer and his staff do. They made adjustments on defense, rallied the troops, and the Scarlet and Gray machine began to spark and sputter to life.
The game turned on a dime and Ohio State dominated the second half, outscoring Indiana 36-7 to cruise to a convincing 49-21 win. The Buckeye passing game finally wiggled free and found some creases in the secondary, taking two short routes the distance.
The Struggle Was Real
But it wasn’t easy at first, especially in the passing game. Barrett finished with a solid stat line, throwing for over 300 yards and 3TDs, but two of those were short crossing routes that were taken the distance by receivers.
There were still far too many receivers struggling with separation, and Barrett and his receivers seemed to be crossing signals far too often. And this was against an Indiana defense that, while much better than years past, is still a middle of the pack group.
So where does Ohio State go from here? What will they do against a team that doesn’t give in to the pressure and momentum of a field tilt? Oklahoma is coming next week folks, and beyond that, Penn State, Michigan and others in the Big Ten that will undoubtedly provide more resistance for four quarters.
The Emergence of a New Star
The running game looks more than fine, and you have to wonder now if there is a running back controversy after what true freshman running back J.K. Dobbins did spelling Mike Weber who was sidelined by a hamstring tweak.
Dobbins showed more burst and speed than Weber and came to Columbus with a more mature body than what’s normally seen out of a freshman. At the end of the day, going off for 181 yards on 29 carries (6.2 avg.) and crushing the all-time freshman rushing record for one game will get you noticed. It might just get the kid a spot as a starter.
Dobbins is better than Weber. If you and I know it, then so do the coaches. It’ll be interesting to see where it all goes from here.
Where There’s Smoke, is There Fire?
But here’s the deal. Ohio State cannot be one-dimensional. We saw how that story ends in the desert against Clemson, and how the first two chapters were almost written against Michigan and Michigan State.
The Buckeyes need a passing game. Ryan Day and Kevin Wilson were brought in to breathe life into Barrett and the receiving corps., and it just wasn’t quite there today.
Yeah, yeah the stats look great, but if you watched the same game I did, you know all too well that the offense looked more like what we saw at the tail end of last year, than what we witnessed in 2014 when there was a real, live threat deep through the air.
That threat better be there next week and beyond or Ohio State will have a much harder time climbing out of the hole it can crawl into and hide for large portions of a contest.
So, well done today Ohio State. You were able to break the seal on this season, face a little adversity on the road and come back rip-roaring to finish the deal and look like a team with a high ceiling.
However, there were sings of trouble last year that were masked against less-talented defenses. In the end, all that smoke resulted in a four-alarm fire when the bright lights were on.
We are still left wondering if this smoke is more smolder than the start of a towering inferno.
Time will tell.
Phil Harrison is the lead Big Ten writer for College Football News. Get his opinion and analysis all year long. Follow him on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFB