It took two plays for No. 3 Ohio State to take the lead over No. 9 IU football. The Buckeyes opened their first drive with a 65-yard completion to sophomore wide receiver Garrett Wilson. On the next play, Wilson scored from 10 yards out, setting the tone for what would be a flood of offense.
Despite IU’s defense forcing three takeaways, Ohio State’s offense proved to be too much to handle in a 42-35 loss Saturday in Columbus, Ohio.
“So disappointed that we fell short, but proud of the heart, the fight, the toughness of this team,” IU head coach Tom Allen said. “They didn’t quit. And I think you got a chance to see that they truly are special.”
Ohio State junior quarterback Justin Fields entered the matchup with 13 total touchdowns and no interceptions on the year. However, the IU defense was able to consistently get pressure on him.
Fields was sacked five times and threw three interceptions, but when he struggled through the air, the Buckeyes leaned on their rushing attack. Ohio State tallied 607 total yards, including 300 on the ground.
IU could not match Ohio State’s success on the ground, finishing the game with -1 rushing yards. A nine-yard scramble from sophomore quarterback Michael Penix Jr. was the team’s longest run.
“It’s huge, and we talked about it a lot,” Allen said. “I was really concerned about our ability to run the ball against these guys, and it proved to be true. We have to make it a major priority, have to get a whole lot better up front.”
In the second quarter, IU tied the game with a four-yard touchdown pass from Penix to senior wide receiver Whop Philyor. The Buckeyes quickly responded as sophomore running back Master Teague III raced down the left sideline for a 41-yard touchdown on the ensuing possession to take a 14-7 lead.
Teague carried the ball 26 times for 169 yards and two scores during the game, and Fields added 78 rushing yards and a touchdown of his own.
Ohio State executed three straight scoring drives of 75 yards or more in the second quarter. After Fields scored on a 9-yard touchdown with 17 seconds remaining in the first half, IU trailed 28-7 heading into halftime.
“We came out just sloppy, that’s the blame on everybody,” IU senior wide receiver Ty Fryfogle said. “We just got to find a way to put four quarters together and that’s when this football team will be really special.”
Ohio State executed another long touchdown drive to start the third quarter.
Faced with a 28-point deficit, IU was forced to abandon the run and put the game in the hands of Penix.
He delivered a career day, completing 27 of his 51 passes for 491 yards and five touchdowns. But Penix also through a costly interception to Ohio State cornerback Shaun Wade that was returned 36 yards for a score.
Senior wide receiver Ty Fryfogle posted seven catches, 218 yards and three second-half touchdowns while the Hoosiers tried to mount a comeback.
“This team has grown a lot,” Fryfogle said. “This team has a lot of fight in it. I’m proud of how we came out in the second half, where most teams would lay down.”
With less than five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Ohio State decided to go for it on fourth-and-one inside the IU 20-yard line while leading 42-35. Fields scrambled to his right and tried to run, but threw a last-moment pass that ricocheted off the outstretched hand of senior tight end Luke Farrell.
IU took over on downs with 3:10 remaining in the game but wasn’t able to score in its final two possessions to tie the game.
“We just showed that we’re going to fight,” Penix said. “We’re going to fight for each other, and we’re going to fight the whole 60 minutes. We’re not going to give up. We’re going to make sure we give it all out on the field, and that’s what the guys did today.”