It wasn’t always pretty but it was plenty efficient Oct. 3 as Ohio State rolled to a 33-14 victory over Indiana in front of 51,500 fans at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington.
The teams combined for 11 penalties, converted only 7 of 26 third-down plays and turned the ball over five times in a sometimes-ragged game that also featured a pair of missed field goals by the Buckeyes and a botched IU punt that resulted in a safety for Ohio State.
Nevertheless, the Buckeyes were fairly dominant in a game that saw them roll up 29 first downs and 378 total yards. The Hoosiers finished with 11 first downs and 228 total yards.
The victory allowed OSU to extend its winning streak to 15 straight games over Indiana and pushed the Buckeyes’ win streak in Big Ten road games to 16. That is a school record and one shy of the all-time record set by Michigan between 1988 and 1992.
Best of all, Ohio State stayed undefeated in Big Ten play as it eyes a fifth consecutive conference championship. The Buckeyes are 2-0 and in a first-place tie with Wisconsin. Iowa is a half-game behind at 1-0.
Ohio State jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter on a 46-yard field goal from Aaron Pettrey and a 5-yard touchdown pass from Terrelle Pryor to freshman Duron Carter. It was Carter’s first career touchdown and gave the Buckeyes a 10-point lead with 7:29 remaining in the first quarter.
Indiana got on the scoreboard for the first time early in the second quarter when the Hoosiers capped an eight-play, 80-yard drive with a 7-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ben Chappell to receiver Tandon Doss. That made it 10-7 at the 12:50 mark of the second period and it looked like it was going to be a close game.
But the Buckeyes quickly answered with a crisp 55-yard touchdown drive and took only three plays and 64 seconds. Pryor threw a 23-yard laser to receiver DeVier Posey in between two IU defenders for a touchdown and a 17-7 lead with 11:46 left until halftime.
Ohio State tacked on another touchdown at the 1:10 mark when Pryor connected with freshman fullback Zach Boren on an 8-yard pass. It was the first career touchdown for Boren and the first touchdown for an OSU fullback since Trever Robinson caught a 1-yard scoring pass in the 2007 season opener against Youngstown State.
After taking the 24-7 halftime lead, there wasn’t much suspense remaining. The Buckeyes added a safety in the third quarter when Indiana punter Chris Hagerup couldn’t corral a bad snap and OSU defensive lineman Rob Rose tackled Hagerup in the end zone.
Then at the 12:05 mark of the final period, Pryor tacked on a 1-yard touchdown off a quarterback sneak to push Ohio State’s advantage to 33-7.
The Hoosiers added a touchdown on the game’s final play against Ohio State’s second- and third-string defense. Chappell found receiver Matt Ernest in the back of the end zone for a 5-yard score.
Pryor had a performance that could only be described as uneven, looking spectacular on one play and indecisively erratic on the next. He finished the game with 16 completions in 27 attempts for 159 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. The sophomore QB was also sacked three times for a total of 38 yards in lost yardage. That prevented him from tallying another 100-yard rushing game – he finished with 63 net yards and a touchdown on 16 carries.
Junior tailback Brandon Saine got his first career start and made the most of it, rushing 17 times for 113 yards. It was a career-high total for Saine and the first time this season that an Ohio State running back had cracked the century mark. Saine started in place of sophomore Dan “Boom” Herron, who missed the game with a sprained ankle.
Posey was the leading receiver for the Buckeyes with four catches for 51 yards and a touchdown. Carter added three receptions for 16 yards and a score.
For Indiana, Chappell was 20 for 34 passing for 210 yards and two touchdowns. He was intercepted twice by the Buckeyes and sacked three times.
It was another good performance by the OSU defense although it missed out on recording a third straight shutout. The Hoosiers were held to just 18 yards rushing on 26 carries after entering the game averaging 159.2 in their first four games this season.
Junior linebacker Ross Homan shared team-high honors in tackles with senior safety Anderson Russell, who returned to the starting lineup to replace suspended senior co-captain Kurt Coleman. Homan and Russell had six stops each, while Russell added a fumble recovery and an interception.
Senior defensive lineman Todd Denlinger had the Buckeyes’ other interception while Rose, senior linebacker Austin Spitler and sophomore linebacker Nathan Williams were credited with sacks.
IU linebackers Will Patterson and Matt Mayberry shared game-high honors with 10 tackles apiece. The duo also combined for three tackles for loss and 1½ sacks.
The Buckeyes (4-1, 2-0) will be back in action next Saturday when they host undefeated Wisconsin (5-0, 2-0), a 31-28 winner at Minnesota earlier in the day. Kickoff will be at 3:30 p.m. Eastern at Ohio Stadium and the game will be televised by ABC and ESPN using the reserve mirror.