COLUMBUS — Dispatching Indiana took longer than the Buckeyes would have liked, but third-ranked Ohio State remained unbeaten with a 49-26 victory against Indiana.
The disjointed afternoon featured highs and lows for OSU, which suffered a partial letdown after an emotional come-from-behind win at Penn State last week. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins admitted during the postgame news conference Ohio State’s practice wasn’t near as smooth as it needed to be leading up to the game.
Alas, the Buckeyes won convincingly, and if you glance up and down their schedule, it’s going to be a while until they face a legitimate test again.
Here are three takeaways from the game:
1. Ohio State’s ‘bad’ isn’t so bad. By all accounts, Ohio State played its worst game of the season Saturday. The Buckeyes were sluggish in the first half, turning the football over multiple times and allowing Indiana to gash them for points and yards. Yet the final score still was 49-26. If this is as bad as it gets this season, Ohio State might not lose a game. After all, the Buckeyes did have more than 600 yards of offense and held a double-digit lead for virtually the entire second half. It’s been far from perfect, even if that’s what the record indicates. Still, OSU is rolling toward late November almost assured of an undefeated record.
2. Dwayne Haskins is going to rewrite the Ohio State record book. His 455 yards against the Hoosiers were three shy of Art Schlichter’s 37-year record. Haskins leads the country with 25 touchdown passes, 10 shy of the OSU single-season record set by J.T. Barrett. At this pace, Haskins will have 50. He’s completed 71.7 percent of his passes for 1,919 yards, with only four interceptions, fashioning a QB rating of 190.76. All three numbers rank in the top 10 nationally.
3. Questions about the defense are going unanswered. Halfway through the season, Ohio State’s usually vaunted defense continues to struggle. The first half in this one was as bad as the average unit has played all season, allowing 317 yards and 20 points to an Indiana offense that was averaging more than eight yards per play. The secondary was torched, bad angles were taken, and whiffed tackles added up to chunk plays. Indiana had 70 offensive snaps — eight passing plays went for 15-plus yards and three rushes went for 10 or more yards. Halftime adjustments limited Indiana to 89 second-half yards and six points, but another game presented issues that have persisted all season for the Buckeye defense.
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