The Other Sideline is a weekly segment where the Indiana Daily Student interviews a student reporter from Indiana football’s weekend opponent. The questions and answers have been edited for clarity and brevity.
Indiana football is 2-4 with losses against four teams in the top 15. After three Big Ten games, Indiana has scored one touchdown and is looking to revamp its offense.
Indiana will play No. 5 Ohio State in front of a sold-out Memorial Stadium crowd this week in Bloomington. The game will kickoff at 7:30 p.m. and air on ABC’s Saturday Night Football.
Before the game, the Indiana Daily Student talked to Jack Emerson, the sports editor at The Lantern, to preview the matchup.
IDS: What has Ohio State been talking about in terms of prepping for Indiana?
Emerson: Head coach Ryan Day was talking about how Indiana has been really banged up. Obviously junior quarterback Michael Penix has been really banged up the last few weeks, and they’ve had injuries on the defense end.
But Day said this is still the same program that gave Ohio State a shock last year and almost came back and won in that insane fashion. He points to the culture that Indiana head coach Tom Allen has built there. They’ve only lost to top 15 opponents.
IDS: What do you expect the competition and atmosphere to look like Saturday?
Emerson: There’s going to be that energy, that juice in the stadium where it’s like, ‘Man, we can win this game’ for the Indiana crowd. I’ve been a huge fan of Tom Allen from afar too, seeing how he’s rejuvenated that program. It’s going to be a really rowdy crowd, really electric, but I think Ohio State probably gets the job done.
IDS: What is Ohio State good at?
Emerson: It’s the offense. The entire offense is the biggest strength. Obviously redshirt freshman quarterback C.J. Stroud has figured it out.
They have the best skill players in the country with senior wide receiver Chris Olave, junior wide receiver Garret Wilson and freshman running back Treveyon Henderson, who’s scored in every game this year. They rotate six guys on the offensive line, so they don’t have a consistent look. That entire offense is just deadly.
IDS: If Indiana ends its 26-game losing streak against Ohio State on Saturday, what will it have done correctly?
Emerson: By doing what they did last year in the second half where they were mixing those blitz packages, really getting pressure on Stroud. Stroud has really shined when he has a clean pocket, so getting that pressure, bringing senior linebacker Micah McFadden at Stroud will impact him a little bit.
On the offensive side of the ball they’ve really just got to figure it out. Ohio State is really inexperienced on that side of the ball. They’ve started seven or eight underclassmen this year and it’s been kind of a work in progress on that end. Getting a couple big plays and sticking to a similar game plan to what they did last year would work.
IDS: Where do you think Ohio State stands in the Big Ten?
Emerson: I still think they’re probably the best. They needed some time to figure out key things. They lost a lot of guys on the defensive side from last year. Those last three weeks before the bye showed they really figured things out, and I think that’s the Ohio State team we’re going to see moving forward.
IDS: What will be the score at the end of the game Saturday?
Emerson: The Hoosiers’ defense will slow the Buckeyes down a little bit, but I’m going to say 31-14 Ohio State. I don’t have a whole lot of trust in the Indiana offense right now, especially with Penix out.