Last season, it was a close one in Columbus, Ohio. Indiana, 4-0 and ranked No. 9 in the country at the time, fell short after a second-half rally that surely startled All-American quarterback Justin Fields and his Ohio State Buckeyes teammates.
Indiana isn't ranked this season and currently hold a 2-4 record, but the Buckeyes — who are 5-1 with their only loss in Week 2 to Oregon — aren't dismissing the Hoosiers as an easy win this time around either. Indiana has faced four ranked opponents so far who were all in the top 10 at the time. Indiana has lost all four of those games, to Iowa, Cincinnati, Penn State and Michigan State.
Here's what coach Ryan Day and several Buckeyes players had to say about the matchup versus Indiana on Saturday, Oct. 23.
— On coming out of the bye week
“I think we’re in a lot better place than we were at the beginning of the season,” Day said. “We got some rest, so now it’s going to be a big run. But all we can do is — and you’ve heard the cliche a million times — take it one game at a time, one day at a time. That’s what we’re going to do.
“We have to go on the road, and it’s a night game there, and they’ll have a good atmosphere, kind of like the last few times we played on the road in a conference game. We’re going to get their best shot.”
“I think it’s good to have a week off in a sense that there’s now film on yourself that you are able to watch," said graduate student defensive tackle Haskell Garrett.
"You can watch yourself and see how you play, because you’re so busy with watching other teams play that you never really get to watch yourself and understand how other teams might be game planning for you. It’s really good because it’s a learning experience to catch up on film and critique yourself.”
“We have some momentum," said sophomore safety Ronnie Hickman. "We know, the coaches know, the people in this facility know that we haven’t played our best game yet so we are just excited for these next few games.”
— on changes made since Ohio State's 35-28 loss to Oregon
“There was this sense of urgency," Garrett said. "We understood we were not playing to the standard and we had to hold ourselves accountable for our responsibilities on the field.
"We all came together and understood we were not playing up to Ohio State’s standards. We made a promise to each other that we need to play our best game.”
— on last year's win over Indiana
“We had a bunch of big plays early on, and then toward the end of the game, we were just kind of hanging on,” Day said. “We have to continue to be aggressive. Some of the decision-making in that game wasn’t very good.
“They’re a good defense. They have a good scheme and good players. We’re going to have to be on our game in terms of execution.”
— on Indiana's strong defense
"We know that Indiana runs a ton of crazy blitzes, but I think our coach has prepared us pretty well for it," junior offensive lineman Dawand Jones said. "It starts in practice...we just retreat to our fundamentals."
"Everyone has to fill a gap," Buckeyes offensive lineman Paris Johnson Jr. said. "
— on Indiana's offense without Michael Penix Jr.
"Veteran offense, then they've got some great guys, great running back Stephen Carr, (Ty) Fryfogle, he's a beast, and (Jack) Tuttle's getting it together, so I feel like they're a great team, and we got to make sure we're on our A game," senior linebacker Teradja Mitchell said. "It's a 7:30 game, I'm pretty sure the atmosphere is going to be crazy."
"They're a good team," said junior defensive end, Zach Harrison. "They've got a good offensive line, a big offensive line.. and they've got a good receiving core who can make plays downfield if the quarterback can get the ball to them, so they're going to overall be a good offense, so we have to put our best foot forward."
— on Ohio State's linebacker core ahead of Indiana
"I feel like we're a very disciplined union," Mitchell said. Even if we don't get it right, the second time, we're on it. We're the workhorses. We come in early, stay late. We put in the work, all of us."
"We kind of changed the whole structure of the defense, and that speaks to all the players that everybody is running a whole new defense in a quick amount of time."
Related stories on Indiana football
- TOM BREW COLUMN: Indiana has lost four straight games to ranked opponents to start the season, and confidence can be a fragile thing. It's a fine line to walk, Hoosiers coach Tom Allen says, in fixing mistakes but also keeping player confident and aware that they can succeed. CLICK HERE
- LOTS, GATES OPEN EARLY: To better handle the sellout crowd expected for Saturday night's game between Ohio State and Indiana at Memorial stadium, the university is opening the campus parking lots and stadium gates earlier than usual. Here are all the details. CLICK HERE
- RYDER ANDERSON INTERVIEW: Indiana defensive end Ryder Anderson joined the Mike & Micah podcast on Tuesday night, and he had plenty of great stories to tell, including being able to laugh now about roughing up quarterback Jack Tuttle in the Outback Bowl in January when he was still playing for Ole Miss. CLICK HERE
- MICHAEL PENIX INTERVIEW: Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr. updated his injury status during the Mike & Micah podcast on Tuesday night, and defensive end Ryder Anderson was a special guest, and he had a ton of great stories to share with the audience. CLICK HERE