Ground game hurts IU on both sides of the ball

Posted September 01, 2017

Cobbs missed all of 2016 with an ankle injury and his status for the Ohio State game was in question after an arrest during the offseason. Dixon dealt knee problems throughout his first three years and was limited to just seven catches for 55 yards during that time.

Ohio State looks to rebound following their semifinal loss to Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl last season.

The Ohio State offense flashed the speed to sting opponents with big plays as quarterback J.T. Barrett cranked up scoring passes of 74 and 59 yards in the third quarter. The Buckeyes held off IN, 49-21, though they did not provide affirmative answers to the offensive questions lingering IN the aftermath of that whipping IN Glendale on New Year's Eve. What they saw from the Buckeyes during that first half looked precisely like what they've already seen on film from 2015 and '16, including their matchup one year ago.

IU's offensive line did an OK job pass protecting during the first half, but it eventually wore down against an elite Ohio State defensive line with next-level talent across the board. Yet, the run backfired after Parish Campbell dropped a pass in the end zone the play before. That's not unusual in the season opener, much less when it involves breaking in a new system.

With their 2017 season getting underway on Thursday night, the Ohio State Buckeyes were likely thinking it was the first step in a long road.

It started immediately after IU took its 21-20 lead on a two-yard pass from Lagow to Ian Thomas.

The Buckeyes allowed IN receiver Simmie Cobbs Jr., an Oak Park alum, to make plays all over the field. The Hoosiers have 278 yards and two touchdowns through the air.

Barrett overcame a slow start to finish 20 of 35 for 304 yards.

Thousands of football fans descended on the South Oval at The Ohio State University campus to watch the Buckeyes take on the Hoosiers.

While the passing game came alive in the second half, freshman running back J.K. Dobbins rushed for 181 yards on 29 carries, an average of 6.2 yards per attempt.

A harsher interpretation: It's Indiana. The former Texas Tech standout scrambled to keep plays alive, stood tall in the pocket and used his big arm to make plays downfield.

The reality is probably somewhere in between. The story has been two-fold: Ohio State's passing offense has been non-existent and IN wide receiver Simmie Cobbs has been a monster.

Thursday's game marks the first time since 1996 that a conference game has been played on opening weekend. It wasn't enough though and the lack of any ground game certainly hampered the offense down the stretch. For IU to have a shot at competing against Ohio State, it can't afford turnovers. The Hoosiers looked hot early, but in the end Ohio State walked away with a comfortable 49-21 win.

"Very genuinely, it's all Ohio State", Allen said.

It is setting up to be an exciting season for the Buckeyes.