Instant analysis: Ohio State 52, Indiana 49
October, 14, 2012
By Austin Ward | ESPN.com
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Ohio State staged another shootout.
It still has the better weapons.
The Buckeyes kept their record perfect behind another explosive offensive performance, riding Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde on the ground and getting a couple touchdown receptions from Devin Smith to hold off feisty Indiana in a 52-49 decision on Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.
It was over when: During a brief interruption of the Braxton Miller Show, backup quarterback Kenny Guiton came off the bench to finish off a touchdown drive and effectively put away the Hoosiers. After a late hit briefly sidelined Miller, Guiton rolled to his right and flipped a shovel pass to Carlos Hyde that opened up a two-score margin for the Buckeyes in a game that had tightened back up in the second half. The Hoosiers made it interesting late, but the lead the Buckeyes had built was ultimately too big.
Game ball goes to: Braxton Miller didn’t have his best stuff throughout the game, but the sophomore quarterback was on enough to again bust loose for a long, 67-yard touchdown run on the way to another 100-yard performance on the ground. He also complemented it with a gorgeous, 60-yard scoring strike to Devin Smith and an efficient outing through the air to keep the Buckeyes unbeaten.
Stat of the game: Smith put a couple throws his way on the ground, but both times he was able to hang on to the football he found himself in the end zone. All the sophomore needed were two catches to rack up 106 yards through the air and give the Buckeyes a couple critical touchdowns.
How the game was won: The Hoosiers had an aggressive scheme against the spread option and tackled well on the perimeter, but they had no answer for the Buckeyes between the tackles. Miller’s 67-yard score came up the middle, and running back Carlos Hyde was a force on the inside, regularly breaking tackles, moving the pile and making life difficult for Indiana.
What it means: Ohio State still has some flaws, but it also has a perfect record. Injuries took a toll on the Buckeyes defensively, so much so that fullback Zach Boren spent the game playing linebacker trying to help a unit that continues to give up big plays and miss critical tackles.
But the Hoosiers still have much more pressing concerns than the Buckeyes, and their futility in the series continued despite jumping out to an early lead and having chances to swing momentum against a team at less than full strength.