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Thursday, June 20
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

OSU defense squelches Hoosier run game


The IU offense knew it would be tested Saturday night against an Ohio State team that had not allowed a point in two weeks.

The test didn’t go too well.

Ohio State’s defense shut down the Hoosier running game, forced three turnovers and limited IU to 79 total yards in the second half.

IU junior quarterback Ben Chappell felt the Buckeyes’ sting personally with two interceptions, including a second-quarter pick that seemed to change the game’s momentum.

“That’s probably the best defense we’ve played against,” Chappell said.

Notably, the Ohio State defense limited the Hoosier run game – the staple of IU’s pistol offense. Following a 152-yard rushing game against Michigan, IU freshman running back Darius Willis earned just 23 yards against the Buckeyes.

The team finished with 18 total rushing yards as several negative rushes subtracted from Willis’ total.

Both coaches emphasized the play of Ohio State’s defensive line as a factor that controlled the game. The Hoosiers converted just 3-of-14 on third-down plays.

Many of the failed attempts were third-and-long situations, because the Buckeye defensive limited IU’s yardage on first and second downs.

“Whoever wins the battle in the trenches is going to win,” Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said.

IU coach Bill Lynch would agree.

“Particularly in the front, four just came after us and gave us problems,” Lynch said.

With a limited run game, the Hoosiers relied heavily on Chappell’s arm. But the passing game also proved ineffective in key moments.

Trailing 17-7 in the second quarter, the Hoosiers had an opportunity to put the game within one possession. At midfield, though, Chappell threw a pass into the hands of Buckeye defensive tackle Todd Denlinger for an interception.

The Hoosiers never got closer for the rest of the game.

“They were able to stop the run pretty effectively,” Chappell said. “Once we got behind them, we had to pass. We can’t get one-dimensional.”

IU began the evening with six turnovers, tied for the least in the Big Ten. Along with Chappell’s two interceptions, the Buckeyes also recovered a Hoosier fumble.

Lynch said that he expected this effort from the Buckeyes.

“If you watch tape, that’s how they play everyone,” Lynch said. “If you have to throw it, it really stresses your protection because they are going to – if not get sacks – they are going to hit the quarterback.”

The final total shows the Hoosiers’ 14 points were 14 more than each of Ohio State’s previous two opponents. The Buckeyes shut out Toledo and Illinois. IU’s final touchdown, however, came on the game’s last play, long after the outcome was evident.

In Lynch’s mind, IU had only one offensive drive of significance – a second quarter, 80-yard drive that resulted in a touchdown pass from Chappell to sophomore wide receiver Tandon Doss.

Lynch said the Buckeyes defense played the Hoosiers like they did against USC last month in a 18-15 loss.

“I will stand here tonight and say we played a pretty good defense,” he said.

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