COLUMBUS, Ohio — A game against Indiana might be Ohio State football’s last game against a ranked Big Ten East opponent, and even though it’s favored by 20.5 points, the Hoosier may still provide some challenges.
Both teams are undefeated but Ohio State is coming off of a ‘bye week’ after its game against Maryland was canceled because of positive coronavirus tests. This game agast the second-best team in the division will test the ‘Rust vs. Rest’ theory that seems to be a constant conversation in sports.
Can Ohio State’s offense dominate a quarter?
Much like how the Golden State Warriors would often claim the third quarter in NBA games during its championship runs, the Buckeyes frequently made their markings similar to 2019.
At some point in every game during the regular season, Ohio State would start to make its mark, usually defined by a high-scoring quarter, while its defense made it impossible for opposing teams to keep up. There were quarters last season where OSU scored at least 21 points. This season through three games, it’s happened once in a 49-27 win over Rutgers.
Those runs were a staple in 2019, and 2020 has a more explosive offense.
Can Indiana’s offense make the most of its opportunities?
Ty Fryfogle and Whop Philyor have combined for 48 catches, 701 yards and five touchdowns this season. The two, combined with the efforts of quarterback Michael Penix Jr. have proven to be one of the better passing attacks in the Big Ten en route to a 4-0 record. But they aren’t Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson.
As explosive as Indiana’s wide receiver corps can be, it can also leave things to be desired on drives. The Hoosiers are already the inferior team on paper. When that’s the case, every play, yard and point matters, lesser talented teams usually don’t have a wide margin of error, meaning wide receivers can drop passes.
Can Shaun Wade and Sevyn Banks show why they’re elite?
Ohio State’s secondary has been the biggest question mark of this team. Through three games, they’ve been ok, but no one is convinced they won’t be the reason the Buckeyes don’t win a national championship.
Having Wade and Banks line up against Fryfogle and Philyor for 60 minutes can silence some of those doubts, especially if you combine it with the pressure the defensive line will get on Penix Jr.
The Indiana quarterback has only thrown three interceptions, two of which came last week against Michigan while facing man coverage and being pressured. Wade and Banks have one job on Saturday, and that’s to make two players averaging 12 catches and 175.3 yards per game a non-factor.
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