Strange, but true


Don't even try to make sense of it, because you won't pull it off.

Take Ohio State, the Big Ten's most dominant team this century, and Indiana, a Big Ten also-ran that hasn't finished over .500 since 2007, and you'd think the Buckeyes' annual affair against their Eastern Division (cough, cough) rival would be a breeze.

Turns out, it's an ice-cold breeze, lately.

While OSU hasn't lost to the Hoosiers since 1988 and hasn't lost in Memorial Stadium in 16 tries as a ranked team, but the last two trips to Bloomington and three of the last four meetings in Ohio Stadium have been as pleasant as a tax audit.

The Buckeyes with Ezekiel Elliott, Joey Bosa and most of the mainstays from their 2014 national championship team trailed in the third quarter at Indiana the next season before winning by a touchdown, 34-27.

Two years later, in the season opener for both teams, IU threw for 420 yards and again had the lead in the third quarter before OSU broke away.

Coming off a shutout of Cincinnati, Ohio State's defense will be looking to continue its dominance against an Indiana offense that seems better-equipped to match up than it has been in years when it gave the Buckeyes fits.

Quarterback Michael Penix has the Hoosiers off to a 2-0 start, albeit against Ball State and FCS sacrificial lamb Eastern Illinois. IU's 52-0 win last week in its home opener set a record for victory margin at home.

Head coach Tom Ryan would take a one-point margin this week, and to get it his offensive line will have to keep Penix upright.

IU hasn't allowed a quarterback sack yet.

A cynic would retort, "Yeah, but they haven't played against Chase Young yet, either."

Indiana will need at least a modicum of rushing success from Stevie Scott to keep Ohio State's pass rush honest.

He leads IU with 31 carries for 109 yards and three touchdowns.

Allen would love a Tevin Coleman-like performance from his sophomore tailback.

Coleman broke two long touchdown runs against Bosa and Co. in 2014 in Columbus before IU went down, 42-27.

Last year, the Hoosiers drew within 35-26 in the third quarter in an eventual 49-26 loss.