In a game that feels an awful lot like a Big Ten semifinal, one of the most unlikely anticipated games in recent memory is just about here as the No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes take on No. 9 Indiana on Saturday.
Both teams enter Saturday's contest unbeaten on the season and the winner will be in the driver's seat to win the Big Ten East and play for a conference championship game on December 19. Ohio State is coming off an unexpected bye week after their game last weekend was cancelled by Maryland because of a CoVID-19 outbreak. Maryland subsequently had to cancel this week's game against Michigan State as well. Indiana is 4-0 after beating up on the Spartans last week, 24-0.
The already empty Ohio Stadium will feel even emptier than it had during the first two home games, where roughly 1,200 family members of the players and coaches were allowed to attend. Earlier this week, in accordance with Wednesday's decision from the Columbus Department of Health and the Franklin County Health Department, Ohio State announced no fans would be permitted to attend Saturday's game.
Date: November 21, 2020
Where: Ohio Stadium (Columbus, Ohio)
Expected Weather: 46 degrees, showers
Kickoff: 12:00 p.m.
Current Betting Numbers
Spread: Ohio State (-20.5)
O/U Total: 66.5
How to Watch/Listen
Streaming: FOX Sports Go
Announcers: Gus Johnson (play-by-play), Joel Klatt (analyst), Jenny Taft (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)
National Radio: Westwood One
Announcers: Tom McCarthy (play-by-play), Ryan Harris (analyst)
All-time: Ohio State leads, 75-12-5
First Meeting: Nov. 23, 1901 ... Indiana won, 18-6
Last Meeting: Sept. 14, 2019 ... Ohio State won, 51-10
Consecutive Wins: Ohio State, 24 games
2019: Ohio State - 51, Indiana - 10
2018: Ohio State - 49, Indiana - 26
2017: Ohio State - 49, Indiana - 21
2016: Ohio State - 38, Indiana - 17
2015: Ohio State - 34, Indiana - 27
The Buckeyes have won 24 consecutive games in the series (1991-2019) and haven't lost to Indiana since 1988. The teams have played to a tie on five occasions, including most recently in 1990 (27-27 final score).
Indiana has only been ranked for three previous games against Ohio State, and never higher than 15th. This is the first time Indiana has ever faced Ohio State as a top-10-ranked team, and the first time the Hoosiers have ever been a part of a regular-season game between two top-10-ranked teams.
* Ryan Day (Career Record: 19-1 in second season, Ohio State Record: Same)
* Tom Allen (Career Record: 22-20 in fourth season, Indiana Record: Same)
Ohio State Team Capsule
The Buckeyes have gotten off to a torrid start offensively this season, led by Heisman-hopeful Justin Fields. Ohio State currently ranks 13th nationally in total offense and is averaging 511.3 yards per game. The Buckeyes’ passing attack has been especially efficient, as it ranks 20th in yards per game (302.7) and No. 1 in completion percentage (.867).
The Buckeyes last played on Nov. 7, a 49-27 win over Rutgers, after last week’s contest at Maryland was canceled due to a COVID outbreak within the Terrapin program. It was the first regular season cancellation since 1918 during the Spanish flu pandemic.
Ohio State has the nation’s longest active regular season winning streak at 19 consecutive games. During that streak, the Buckeyes’ average margin of victory has been 30.8 points per game. The Buckeyes have also won 22 consecutive home games, which is the third-longest streak nationally. The program record for consecutive home wins is 25, set from 1972 through 1976.
Ohio State has won 17 consecutive games over Big Ten opponents ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 (including conference championship games), the longest streak in poll history.
Through three games, Justin Fields has thrown as many incompletions as he has touchdown passes. Coupled with his two rushing TDs, Fields has accounted for more touchdowns (13) than he has incompletions (11). He’s 72-of-83 on the year with 908 yards, 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Indiana Team Capsule
The Hoosiers are at least 4-0 for the first time since 2015 (4-0) and the seventh time in school history (1990, 4-0; 1986, 4-0; 1985, 4-0; 1967, 8-0; 1910, 5-0). They are 4-0 to start Big Ten play for just the third time overall (1987, 4-0; 1967, 5-0). Because of the hot start, the Hoosiers earned their first Top-10 ranking in the AP Poll since Sept. 22, 1969 (No. 10), and their current ranking is their best in the AP Poll since Nov. 27, 1967 (No. 4).
More on the Hoosiers hot start - IU's 38-21 victory over No. 23 Michigan was its first over the Wolverines since Oct. 24, 1987. Indiana's 36-35, overtime win against No. 8 Penn State in the season-opener was the sixth against a Top-10 opponent in school history, with the last coming at No. 9 Ohio State (31-10) on Oct. 10, 1987. It marked the Hoosiers first Top-10 victory at Memorial Stadium since Nov. 25, 1967 (No. 3 Purdue, 19-14).
IU has defeated Penn State, Michigan and Michigan State in the same season for the first time in program history and beaten the Wolverines and Spartans in the same year for the first time since 1967.
Michael Penix Jr. is the best quarterback the Buckeyes have played against this season. His two best receiving targets are Whop Philyor and Ty Fryfogle, who have combined to average roughly 178 yards per game. Fryfogle in particular is coming off a monster performance.
Buckeyes Playing a Top-10 Ranked Opponent
The best teams in the country tend to rise to the occasion over and over again. Ohio State has had many memorable wins over the last decade, including a fantastic 16-5 record against other teams ranked in the AP Top-10. In fact, they are 9-1 in their last 10 affairs against Top-10 teams, with that only loss coming to Clemson in last year's College Football Playoff.
Saturday's contest will mark the first time Ohio State has ever played a Top-10 Indiana team, in addition to being the first time the Hoosiers have ever played in a Top-10 matchup. You could argue that Saturday's game is the most consequential regular season game in Hoosier's football history.
Ohio State/Indiana Ties
Ohio State offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson served as Indiana’s head coach from 2011-16. During his six-year tenure, Wilson’s Hoosiers were 26-47 and qualified for bowl games in each of his last two seasons.
Meanwhile, the Buckeyes have five Indiana natives on its roster: LB Craig Young (Fort Wayne, Ind.), Pete Werner (Indianapolis), Josh Fryar (Beech Grove, Ind.), Dawand Jones (Indianapolis) and Drue Chrisman (Lawrenceburg, Ind.).
Indiana Defense Playing Well
Led by the youngest Power 5 defensive coordinator in the country (Kane Wommack), the Hoosiers defense is off to an impressive start in 2020. They have intercepted 10 passes in four games, which is the best ratio in the country so far this year. They lead the Big Ten in takeaways (12), interceptions (10) and sacks (12). They're also second in tackles for loss (26) and opponent red-zone scoring percentage (55.6 percent), third in rush defense (111.0) and opponent third-down conversion (33.3), and fourth in scoring defense (19.2), total defense (320.8) and pass defense (209.8).
Indiana's defense has had a big hand in Penn State, Michigan and Michigan State all having down seasons by their traditional standards. The Hoosiers are playing with a lot of confidence and will be looking to get after Justin Fields early and often on Saturday.
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