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Game Preview: Ohio State Looking For 27th Straight Win Over Indiana

The Buckeyes are hoping to apply lessons learned during last year’s seven-point victory.

After having last week off, Ohio State returns to action on Saturday with a trip to Indiana (7:30 p.m. ET on ABC).

The Buckeyes have won 26 straight meetings between the two programs, but understand how close the Hoosiers came to snapping that streak in last year’s matchup in Ohio Stadium, holding off a late rally to escape with a seven-point win.

“We had a bunch of big plays early on, and then toward the end of the game, we were just kind of hanging on,” head coach Ryan Day said during his press conference on Tuesday afternoon. “We have to continue to be aggressive. Some of the decision-making in that game wasn’t very good.

“You have to play four quarters against Indiana, so we’re going to have to plan on doing that. We’ve got a lot a respect for Indiana. This is going to be a hard road game. Everybody in the Big Ten is playing well this year and you have to bring it every week.”

While Indiana’s 2-4 record might not agree with that sentiment, all four of its losses have come to teams currently ranked in the top 11 of the AP Poll, including at No. 11 Iowa and No. 7 Penn State and at home against No. 2 Cincinnati and No. 9 Michigan State.

The Hoosiers have also been without quarterback Michael Penix, who separated his shoulder in the loss to the Nittany Lions, as well as cornerbacks Tiawan Mullen (lower leg) and Reese Taylor (upper leg), and all three will likely miss Saturday’s game against the Buckeyes.

“They’ve had some injuries and they’re trying to fill those gaps a little bit,” Day said. “They’ve also played some good teams. They’ve played some really good defenses. When you combine all those things and you’re off by a little big here or there, a team that doesn’t have a great record is a lot better than you think, and I think this team is much better than their record indicates.”

General Info

Date: Oct. 23, 2021
Where: Memorial Stadium (Bloomington, IN)
Expected Weather: 54 degrees, cloudy
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Current Betting Numbers

Spread: Ohio State (-21)
O/U Total: 59.5
Betting: Check out the new SISportsbook!

How to Watch/Listen

Television: ABC
Streaming: fuboTV (get a 7-day free trial)
Announcers: Dave Pasch (play-by-play), Dusty Dvoracek (analyst) and Tom Luginbill (sideline reporter)

Local Radio: Ohio State Sports Network from Learfield IMG College
Flagship: WBNS 97.1 The Fan
Announcers: Paul Keels (play-by-play), Jim Lachey (analyst), Matt Andrews (sideline reporter), Skip Mosic (pregame/halftime/postgame host and producer)

Series History

Ohio State leads Indiana, 77-12-5*
*includes vacated 2010 season

LAST TIME THEY MET
2020
: Ohio State 42, Indiana 35

Coaching Matchup

* Ryan Day
* At Ohio State: Third Season, Record: 28-3
* Overall: Same

* Tom Allen
* At Indiana: 6th Season, Record: 26-26
* Overall: Same

Ohio State Team Capsule

The week off couldn’t have come at a better time for Ohio State, which saw starting defensive tackle Haskell Garrett (leg) and cornerback Cam Brown (head) go down with injuries against Maryland on Oct. 9.

The Buckeyes are expected to get both back for Saturday’s game at Indiana, with Garrett noting he and his teammates are just dealing with some bumps and bruises that come with the grind of the regular season.

“I feel great,” Garrett said. "(The week off) was really crucial. I got my rest, but I could also make my corrections, watch film and look at stuff that other teams are looking at to improve my gameplay.

“There’s now film out there on yourself and you’re able to watch yourself play because you’re so busy watching other teams, so you never watch yourself and understand how other teams are game planning for you and those around you.”

Similarly, the coaching staff used the time to reflect on the first six games of the season and make necessary changes as Ohio State heads into a final stretch that features four games against teams currently ranked in the top 25 – and potentially a fifth if the Buckeyes reach the Big Ten Championship Game.

“The first thing, obviously, on a bye week is to evaluate where you’re at personnel-wise, schematically and how you’re coaching things to find tendencies and different things like that,” Day said. “But then you have the rest part of it at the midway point of the season. Make sure the guys are rested up.

“I thought we had a good week of practice and good energy this week. But now we have to go put it on the field, so we’ll see. That’s what matters is playing Saturday night, play well and starting fast against a good Indiana team to go on the road and get another conference win.”

Indiana Team Capsule

As mentioned, the Hoosiers are likely to be without Penix, who threw for 491 yards and five touchdowns against the Buckeyes last fall. It was the fourth-most yards ever surrendered by an Ohio State defense, trailing only Illinois’ Dave Wilson (621 in 1980), Purdue’s Scott Campbell (516 in 1981) and Purdue’s Jim Everett (497 in 1985).

“We owe them something,” redshirt sophomore safety Ronnie Hickman said during his media availability on Thursday night. “We came out on top, but we know how many yards they threw for, so there’s a little chip on our shoulder.”

If Penix is unable to go, redshirt junior Jack Tuttle will make his second consecutive start. He’s completed 36-of-70 passes for one touchdown and three interceptions this season, including two crucial picks in the second half of last week’s 20-15 loss to Michigan State.

“He did some good things, but the two picks were costly,” head coach Tom Allen said after the game. “One was pressured. One was not. We have to protect the football, even when you're pressured. A sack is not a bad thing.

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“(We’ve) got to block better for him and catch better, and that's really what it’s about, making key plays at critical times. To me, that’s what this game is about at this level on both sides of the football.”

One thing that remains constant for Indiana, though, is fifth-year senior wide receiver Ty Fryfogle, who caught seven passes for 218 yards and three touchdowns in last year’s meeting. Only one player – Clemson’s Sammy Watkins (16 catches for 227 yards and two touchdowns in the 2014 Orange Bowl) – has recorded more receiving yards in a single game against Ohio State.

“It did not feel good. Simple as that. It did not feel good,” Hickman said. “It’s that kind of in between, you came out on top, but then you look at the stats and it’s a whole different story.”

Fryfogle hasn’t had the same kind of production this fall, however, hauling in just 33 passes for 337 yards and one touchdown. The Hoosiers will have to get him more involve in the offense if they're going to finally upset the Buckeyes.

Major Storylines

  • Indiana’s last win over Ohio State was in 1988 (41-7). It was actually the Hoosiers’ second straight in the series, with their 31-10 win in 1987 snapping the Buckeyes’ 23-game winning streak in the series.
  • Ohio State offensive coordinator/tight ends coach Kevin Wilson was Indiana’s head coach from 2011-16, leading the Hoosiers to a pair of bowl games (Pinstripe and Foster Farms).
  • The Buckeyes have won 14 straight regular season games following an open week, including three wins on the road. Their last loss came at Penn State in 2005.
  • Ohio State has won 10 consecutive conference road games by double digits, dating back to a one-point win at Maryland in 2018.
  • The Buckeyes are 7-0 in games where both wide receivers Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson catch a touchdown pass.
  • Ohio State has won a nation-leading 11 straight true road games, with the last loss in such a situation coming at Purdue in 2018.
  • The Buckeyes have not allowed a rushing touchdown since the 35-28 loss to Oregon in Week 2.
  • Ohio State has returned an interception for a touchdown in four straight games, a school record. The school record for most pick-sixes in a season is seven, coming during the 2016 season.
  • After scoring a combined 10 first-quarter points against Minnesota, Oregon and Tulsa, the Buckeyes have outscored their last three opponents 52-16 in the opening frame.

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