November 21, 2013

Tale of the Tape: Indiana Hoosiers

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Head Coach:

Kevin Wilson

2012 Record: 4-8, 2-6 Big Ten


Bloomington (Ind.)

Kickoff: 3:30 pm EST Television: ABC/ESPN2 (mirror) Location: Ohio Stadium (102,329)

When Ohio St. has the ball...

  • Rushing Defense: 251.1 Ypg. (120th)

  • Passing Eff. Defense: 141.75 (96th)

  • Scoring Defense: 38.8 Ppg. (T-114th)
  • Rushing Offense: 315.1 Ypg. (4th)

  • Passing Offense: 221.8 Ypg. (72nd)

  • Scoring Offense: 49.4 Ppg. (4th)

  • Indiana Defensive Backs

    Ohio State Skill Positions (QB/WR/TE)
    Indiana moved Tim Bennett from safety to corner over the summer and it has paid off and Bennett now leads the B1G in passes defended but that can always be deceptive when you are tested that much as a defender. The IU pass defense ranks last, or near last, in the league in most of the statistical categories including YPG (12th -283.7), Passing TDs allowed (11th - 18) and Average per attempt (11th - 8.1) and the numbers look dramatically worse when you take the non-league games out of the equation. The greatest thing that is saving the Indiana pass defense from having worse numbers is the Indiana run defense and the makeup of the B1G and teams looking to exploit the Hoosiers with the run versus the pass. Safety Greg Heban is the only senior starter of the defensive backs and the rest of the unit has been showing a good amount of growing pains. Just to give an example of how bad the Indiana DBs have struggled, Michigan QB Devin Gardner passed for 503 yards (21-29, 2 TD) against the Hoosiers... that would account for 20.9-percent of his season passing yards, yikes. Which Ohio State passing game is going to show up on Saturday? Will it be the highly efficient one we have seen for most of the second half of the Buckeyes' season or the one at blustery Illinois where Braxton Miller was not sharp and the wind was his biggest enemy? We know this will be the final home game for Corey Brown and Chris Fields but could it be a final time in the Horseshoe for Braxton Miller or even Devin Smith? Time will tell on that one but you would have to believe that all four of these players may have a little something extra in the way of motivation if this is a final hurrah in front of 105-thousand Ohio State fans. It is supposed to be cold and windy on Saturday (not as windy as it was at Illinois) but don't look for Ohio State to shy away from throwing the ball as the team tries to remained balanced in how it will call the offense. Against Illinois the tight ends were not targeted much as pass catchers but that should change against Indiana this week.

    Indiana Linebackers

    Ohio State Running Backs
    Rightly or wrongly this is the section where Indiana is going to get blasted for its lack of run defense. Don't blame that solely on linebacker David Cooper or any of the linebackers as individuals, the lack of success against the run is a team effort and something that is not going to get fixed this year so the Buckeyes should be able to run all day if that is what they desire to do. In Big Ten play the Hoosiers are allowing better than 253 yards per game on the ground and have surrendered 22 touchdowns. Last weekend the Badgers decided they were going to keep it on the ground and ran for 554 yards and six touchdowns. It just really has not been a good year for the run defense and the Indiana linebackers and there is no other way to put it, no numbers to support things "could be different" this weekend or other way to sugar coat it. One final indictment of the Indiana run defense (and another shot across the TSUN bow), Michigan ran for 248 yards against Indiana and Fitzgerald Toussaint ran for 151 yards (32 carries) and 4 TDs against them. Since then? 17 carries for 26 yards and zero TDs (only played in two of the last three games). Just like it was difficult to find something positive about the Indiana run defense it is about just as difficult to find something negative about the Ohio State run game at this point. Carlos Hyde exploded for 246 yards and four touchdowns (rushing) last weekend against the Illini and only needs 53 more yards to break the 1,000-yard mark and give Urban Meyer his first 1,000-yard running back of his career. The Buckeyes could easily button this one up with a steady diet of running the ball but won't need to and should still be able to be diverse in the offense with a good mix of run/pass. This game will be Jordan Hall's last home game as well and he could (health provided) see a couple of carries if the Buckeyes get to the place that they want to be. Ultimately the Ohio State running game has been clicking on all cylinders and not much has been able to slow it down. Don't expect to see Ohio State run it 50 times like Wisconsin did and breaking 500-yards may be a little too high of a goal in this game but the Bucks should be able to do whatever they want on the ground.

    Indiana Defensive Line


    Ohio State Offensive Line
    The defensive line is very young as well and is showing its youth. Nick Mangieri is only a sophomore while Raphael Green is a redshirt freshman. A lot of the issues in a defense start up front, be it no pass rush (Indiana has 17 sacks this season, only seven in B1G play), porous run defense (see above) or even 3rd-down conversions by opponents (Indiana is allowing 46.4 to be converted, good for 11th in the league). Really the biggest issue with the defense is that they allow opponents to score too much, 38.8 points per game. Indiana does manage to score 39.1 points per game, so in a perfect world that would barely work out but Indiana is anything but perfect and that is why they are 4-6 and likely won't be bowling this year. Take non-league games out and Indiana is allowing closer to 43 points per game and only scoring 35, a much more representative snapshot of what is going on with this team. Jack Mewhort played part of the game against Illinois with a lower body injury and it was noticeable when he was not on the field. The play of the line has been incredible this year and it may not sink in until next year when the four senior starters are gone as to just how good the 2013 line actually was/is. The ironic part of it all is that everyone expected the Ohio State offense to suddenly turn into a predominantly pass heavy offense under Meyer but Ohio State is now sitting No. 4 in the nation in running the ball. If you go back to the past several BCS title game berth years the Ohio State run offense is much more potent this year (as is the whole offense). In 2007 Ohio State averaged 196.9 ypg on the ground, in 2006 it was 169.8 and in 2002 it was 191.3. Funny how it took a "spread offense" to see Ohio State rack up more than 300 yards per game on the ground. Sure, the season is not over and Ohio State's schedule was far from a crucible this year, just an observation as to how strong the run game is this season.

    When Indiana has the ball...

  • Rushing Offense: 189.9 Ypg. (45th)

  • Passing Offense: 306.9 Ypg. (17th)

  • Scoring Offense: 39.1 Ppg. (14th)

  • Rushing Defense: 92.6 Ypg. (5th)

  • Passing Eff. Defense: 122.66 (48th)

  • Scoring Defense: 18.8 Ppg. (13th)

  • Indiana Skill Positions (QB/WR/TE)

    Ohio State Defensive Backs
    Quarterback Nate Sudfeld has put up some good numbers this season but Saturday's game against Wisconsin was not one of them when he was lifted for Tre Roberson who did not fare much better. Many teams will have those kinds of struggles against the Wisconsin defense however and Indiana is still second in the league in scoring offense and 3rd in total offense and 1st in passing offense. Sudfeld is responsible for 226.8 yards of total offense himself and has passed for 13 touchdowns and close to 240 yards per game. Cody Latimer is his No. 1 pass option and has eight receiving touchdowns and just shy of 93 receiving yards per game. Kofi Hughes is eights in the league in receiving yards per game with 56.5 per game and six touchdowns receiving as well. Add to the mix Shane Wynn and the Hoosiers have a trio that has accounted for 126 receptions, more than 200 receiving yards and 21 touchdowns. Tight end Ted Bolser is another weapon and had six receptions against the Buckeyes last time the two teams played. The Ohio State defense dealt with some issues last week and the Illini passed for close to 300 yards but a lot of that was predicated on the loss of two linebackers before the start of the game. Bradley Roby had a 60-plus yard pick six for the Buckeyes and C.J. Barnett had an interception as well for Ohio State. But even with all of the yardage that the Illini passed for Nathan Scheelhaase only connected for two touchdowns despite all of the cries of the national media that Ohio State's defense is some sort of mess. With that being said it will be another challenge for the Ohio State offense going against one of the better passing teams in the league. If Ohio State is able to generate a pass rush however we could see a repeat of what happened against Penn State or Iowa, if they are unable to get to Sudfeld (or Roberson) it could be much closer to what we saw against Illinois last week. The best thing the defense has going for it is the Ohio State offense and the 17 TDs surrendered by way of the pass hardly appear as much of a blip on the radar with an offense that has scored 63 overall.

    Indiana Running Backs

    Ohio State Linebackers
    The Indiana running game could take a big hit if Tevin Coleman is unable to go again. Through nine games he has rushed for more than 100 yards per game and 12 TDs on the year. But he was unable to go last week against the Badgers, a game where they ran for 102 yards on 30 carries and zero touchdowns. Stephen Houston has been a good backup and had a big game against Ohio State last season when he ran for 91 yards and two scores (59 yards and 7 yards). People think that Indiana is a passing team but they have scored 23 touchdowns on the ground this year (Coleman and Houston doing most of it with backup QB Roberson chipping in five as well). Indiana's 190 yards per game is nothing to sneeze at but if Indiana gets off to a slow start how quickly do they abandon the running game in favor of the passing game to try and get back into it? Head coach Kevin Wilson was not optimistic early in the week about Coleman's status for this week and after Houston the stable gets to be pretty thin with no other running back having more than 100 yards of net rushing yardage.

    Ryan Shazier needed to have a big game last week against Illinois and that is just what he did. With no Joshua Perry or Curtis Grant out there it was critical that Shazier come up big and he did with 16 tackles and several key momentum-changing types of plays (including a sack/forced fumble/safety). It is looking good that Perry will be back in the lineup this week and having two starting LBs will be critical as Ohio State should be in nickel a good amount against an Indiana attack that likes to go downfield. On the year the Buckeyes are allowing less than 93 yards a game on the ground and even in league games the number is right around 100 yards (101.2 to be exact) in a league that is known to be a running league. Ultimately a lot will be riding on the linebackers because the Buckeyes have turned to a more aggressive style of defense when it has the horses and getting to the QB will be pivotal if the Hoosiers find some early success in throwing the ball. The return of Perry will help the cause and allow the defensive coaches to continue sending Shazier to get the QB and blow up drives before they start.

    Indiana Offensive Line
    Ohio State Defensive Line
    As with most of the rebuilding teams in the league the Hoosiers are young on the offensive line and don't have a senior starter. Center Bernard Taylor is one of the older players as a junior and like the rest of the line checks in south of 300 pounds. Despite being one of the smaller lines in the league the Hoosiers have only allowed 14 sacks on the year and have done a good job of protecting the QB while opening some running lanes for the offense. This unit may be the most underrated group for the Hoosiers and it will be interesting to see how they handle their second straight game against one of the league's top fronts after going against the Badgers last week (did not allow a sack to Wisconsin but only scoring three points is not going to get it done). Will this be a big game for Noah Spence and the front for the Buckeyes. The Indiana offensive line is not as bad as someone might expect for a 4-6 team but the Buckeyes have been showing much more pressure through the last couple of weeks and changing games with hitting the quarterback early and often. Joey Bosa was having the best game of his career last week before he left with a neck injury in the 3rd quarter. The Buckeyes will have to find a balance between being aggressive with the rush and getting enough guys out in coverage to account for everyone that the Hoosiers will put out in a pattern. If Ohio State can get pressure with three or four however then this could be a carbon copy of the Wisconsin game for Indiana. The talent is there to effect games with just the defensive line but this team is so much better when it blitzes.

    Special teams matchups...

  • Net Punting: 36.37 Avg (82nd)

  • Punt Returns: 13.00 Yds/Ret (19th)

  • Kickoff Returns: 21.21 Avg. (70th)

  • Field Goals: 9-9 (100%)

  • Net Punting: 40.19 Avg. (12th)

  • Punt Returns: 8.35 Yds/Ret (59th)

  • Kickoff Return: 25.45 Avg. (11th)

  • Field Goals: 8-9 (89%)

  • Indiana Special Teams

    Ohio State Special Teams
    Mitch Ewald has been automatic in kicking field goals but Indiana cannot trade three for seven points in this game. Shane Wynn is a dangerous returner (see 2012) but the punting and kickoffs have not been great for Indiana so far this season. Indiana cannot make any mistakes in this phase of the game with so little margin for error. Ohio State fans are hoping that Corey Brown can get that big return in his home finale. He has come close at times but will a windy game make it treacherous to return kicks and punts? Drew Basil missed his first field goal of the season. Cameron Johnston is coming off of his best day punting in American Football. It will be windy on Saturday but not as windy as last week.


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