BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — After watching Ohio State score at a dizzying rate for a month, Indiana knew it had a huge challenge on its hands Saturday night.
Turns out, they weren't up to it. Not even close.
Ohio State scored touchdowns on its first six possessions on a rainy night at Memorial Stadium, and cruised to a far-too-easy 54-7 win. The No. 5-ranked Buckeyes raised their record to 6-1 overall and 4-0 in the Big Ten, and clearly have put themselves back in the national title conversation.
“It was ugly, especially that second quarter window,” Indiana coach Tom Allen said. "I was really disappointed in our tackling tonight. I felt like we could hold up and not give up those explosive plays. But we couldn't stop the run. It was ugly, that's the only way I can describe it.''
Indiana is now 2-5, losing all five of its games against ranked teams. The Hoosiers, who were 6-1 last year in Big Ten games, hit a new low on Saturday.
It didn't start that way though.
After Ohio State scored on the game's first possession, Indiana answered immediately with its best drive of the season, going 75 yards themselves. Indiana was 4-for-4 on third downs to keep the driving moving, tying the game with a touchdown pass from Jack Tuttle to tight end Peyton Hendershot from 7 yards out.
Tuttle, who struggled with two interceptions and a lost fumble in last week's 20-15 loss to Michigan State, looked great on the drive. But he took a big hit on the touchdown pass and needed help getting off the field with an apparent lower leg injury. He went straight to the locker room. He came back for a couple of plays in the second half, but went right back out.
Tuttle's injury "hurt us, without question," said Allen, who mentioned that X-rays were negative, but Tuttle will get an MRI on Sunday to determine if there is a ligament issue. "He's in a lot of pain right now."
True freshman Donaven McCulley and walk-on Grant Gremel played the rest of the game at quarterback, and neither one had much success.
Indiana, which hasn't beaten Ohio State since 1988, literally did less-than-nothing offensive after that. They had minus-21 yards of total offense on their next six drives of the half.
It was a huge problem because Ohio State scored on all six of their first-half possessions, rolling to a 44-7 halftime lead. The numbers, as you would expect, were very lopsided.
Total yardage was Ohio State 334, Indiana 54. Ohio State has rushed for 133 yards, and Indiana has 10. Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud is 16-for-21 passing for 201 yards, while Indiana's three quarterbacks are a combined 5-for-10 passing for 44 yards.
C.J. Stroud's night ended at the end of the third quarter for Ohio State. He was 21-of-28 passing for 266 yards and four touchdowns. He now has 22 touchdowns and just three interceptions on the season. He was replaced by Kyle McCord.
Indiana's did barely nothing in the the second half. too. Outside of a nice pass for 30 yards from McCulley to senior wide receiver Ty Fryfogle, there wasn't much to be happy about.
For the game, Indiana had just 128 yards of total offense, and just 53 yards total after the first possession. Ohio State had 539 yards of total offense.
"That's a special offense, the way that quarterback is playing,'' Allen said. "I've been here for several years. With that quarterback playing the way he is right now, it's impressive"
Next up for Indiana is a road trip to Maryland. The game is at Noon ET next week and will be televised on Big Ten Network. Maryland is 4-3 overall and 1-3 in the Big Ten, having lost three consecutive games to Iowa, Ohio State and Minnesota.
Indiana beat Maryland 27-11 in Bloomington last year.
“As tough as tonight was, we’ve just got to put it in the trash and focus on the next game,'' Allen said.