Cold conditions and snow flurries in Ohio Stadium greeted Indiana football ahead of its matchup with No. 2 Ohio State. The Hoosiers entered the game as a 40-point underdog, in search of a rejuvenating upset that never transpired. Instead, Indiana was embarrassed by Ohio State on the road, 56-14.
The game started with the much-expected Ohio State dominance on both offense and defense. Buckeyes junior quarterback CJ Stroud would first find sophomore receivers Emeka Egbuka and Marvin Harrison Jr. in the air for a pair of touchdowns in the first quarter.
Sandwiched by the receiving touchdowns, freshman running back Dallan Hyden broke loose on the ground for 14 yards to find the end zone, bringing the Buckeye lead to 21-0.
Dead in the water, Indiana was reluctant to get a first down, as their first three offensive drives were all three and outs.
Redshirt junior Connor Bazelak made his short-lived return to starting quarterback this week after being sidelined last week. In a 21-point hole, Indiana head coach Tom Allen turned to redshirt sophomore quarterback Dexter Williams II in an effort to give energy to the sluggish offense.
On his first drive, Williams provided a much-needed spark. On his first play, Williams eclipsed the production done from Indiana on its first three drives.
The drive was highlighted by a Williams connection to junior receiver Andison Coby for 49 yards in the middle of the field and ended with a Williams throw to junior tight end AJ Barner for a touchdown.
"The plan was to play Dexter and see how things went,” Allen said after the game. “I felt like he was doing a lot of good things.”
The defense on both sides tightened up in the second quarter. After its initial touchdown drive, Indiana’s offense once again fell flat despite Williams being at the helm. Buckeyes junior running back Miyan Williams' rushing touchdown was the lone score in the second quarter.
Going into the locker room, Ohio State led Indiana, 28-7.
After one half of football, Ohio State had 377 total yards of offense compared to Indiana’s 147. It only took one half for Miyan Williams to reach 100 yards rushing on 9.8 yards per carry against the 11th-ranked Big Ten rushing defense.
To start the second half, a blocked Indiana punt early in the third quarter appeared to be the dagger breaking the game open for Ohio State. Following the blocked punt, Ohio State found the end zone three more times before Indiana scored again.
Early in the fourth quarter, Williams found the sophomore receiver Donaven McCulley for a 19-yard touchdown reception. That was the last breath from Indiana. The Buckeyes found the end zone once more in their 56-14 route of Indiana.
Indiana had 16 offensive drives against Ohio State on Saturday. Twelve of those drives ended with a punt and nine of the 12 were three-and-outs. The Hoosiers only had 269 yards of total offense.
In his second appearance at quarterback for Indiana, Williams threw for 107 yards and two touchdowns — all with just six completions on nine attempts. The Hoosiers finished with a season-low nine completions to receivers.
"We will evaluate everything as a staff, but I like what I saw from Dexter today,” Allen said on the potential for Williams to start next week against Michigan State.
On top of the offensive standstill, Indiana’s defense allowed 662 offensive yards, more than 300 yards on both the ground and through the air. Ohio State’s Stroud threw for five touchdowns on only 17 pass completions.
"I was disappointed with the explosive plays we gave up, especially in the run game," Allen said. "With all the playmakers they have, the pass game is hard. Not enough guys making plays."
With the loss, Indiana football won’t go bowling this season failing to attain six wins and a .500 winning percentage. The Hoosiers continue their deep dive to the bottom, losing their last seven games after starting 3-0.
Indiana travels to East Lansing, Michigan, to take on the Michigan State Spartans next Saturday, Nov. 19.
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