Ohio State allows historic passing game to Indiana
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- No. 3 Ohio State knew it was going up against a No. 9 Indiana offense that relied heavily on the passing game.
But the Buckeyes likely didn't expect such a historic passing game from their opponent, led by way of Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr.
"There was big plays. If we don't give up those big plays, you probably run away with this game. But we didn't," head coach Ryan Day said. "That's a part of playing great defense, and we got to get that changed."
Penix Jr.'s 491 passing yards marked the most allowed by Ohio State to an opposing passer since 2000, when Purdue's Drew Brees threw 455 yards in the Boilermakers' 31-27 win over the Buckeyes.
Saturday's game also marked the first time Ohio State has allowed at least 400 passing yards since the season-opener in 2017, which came at Memorial Stadium when Richard Lagow tossed 410 yards.
"I think 491 yards passing, that's way too much," Day said. "When you stop with the big plays, then you'll be in pretty good shape. There are some things we can look at that have been repeating. Teams attack you differently."
The most passing yards allowed by Ohio State just this season was 281, set at Penn State in the second week.
In the first half, Penix Jr. threw 197 yards and just one touchdown. He was 12-22 in the first half with an interception before things began to really open up coming out of the break.
"We just got to keep getting better. We got to look at the film and correct the errors," linebacker Baron Browning said. "I feel like a lot was miscommunication or thinking somebody else had that certain part of the coverage. One little misstep or miscommunication, then you get an explosive play."
Penix Jr. threw for 294 passing yards in the second half alone. At the end of the game, he had a new career-high.
Indiana saw six receivers get in on the action, with four of whom catching over 56 yards.
The heavy lifting was done by senior receiver Ty Fryfogle, who hauled in 218 receiving yards on just seven catches, and three of which were touchdowns. This marks the second-consecutive game in which Fryfogle has caught at least 200 yards as just like week he did so against Michigan State.
"They got great receivers over there, we have good DBs," defensive back Shaun Wade said. "At the end of the day, they made plays, we made our plays. That's just how it goes."
The Hoosiers made 10 passing plays of 15 or more yards, compared to the Buckeyes' five.
"We had a couple blown coverages," Wade said. "Sometimes they just make a play, that's part of playing football. Receivers are going to make plays, DBs are going to make plays."
Day said anytime an area of the team is especially magnified by their opponent, it comes down to one of three things in need of being addressed: personnel, the scheme and the coaching.
"When you're trying to fix something, you have to identify one of those three things needs to get addressed, or maybe a little bit of each," Day said.
Despite allowing a number of big passing plays and experiencing points of pressure, Wade and the Buckeyes held onto a 42-35 win and control of the Big Ten East Division.
"If you just go from the first half, that was a championship defense,' Wade said. "It's the second half. It's not just the defense, it's the team in total in the second half.
"We got to find ways to put points on the board, we got to find ways to stop missing field goals, we got to find a way to stop on defense in the second half. That's been in all our games from game one to now."