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Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (7). (Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire)
October 22nd, 2021
C.J. Stroud and Ohio State will continue their push for a College Football Playoff position, as the fifth-ranked Buckeyes travel to Bloomington on Saturday to face off with Big Ten opponent Indiana in Week 8.
After the first few games of the season, many Ohio State fans were calling for someone other than Stroud to run the offense. Those fans have been silenced over the past few weeks, as Stroud went from looking like an inconsistent freshman to a sudden Heisman candidate.
In their wins over Rutgers and Maryland, the Buckeyes put up a combined 108 points, in large part due to Stroud’s 736 yards and 10 touchdown passes.
More importantly, Stroud did not turn the football over in either game. He has developed a terrific partnership with stud wide receiver Chris Olave, who caught a pair of touchdowns in each game.
Now Stroud faces an Indiana defense that has just one lineman with a sack to his name this season.
Here are the P5 QB stats for the entire 2021 Season so far. CJ Stroud and Matt Corral are your leaders, but Kenny Pickett is a GREAT storyline #CFB #CollegeFootball pic.twitter.com/4Zz9WS7DND— CFBNumbers (@CFBNumbers) October 18, 2021
Here are the P5 QB stats for the entire 2021 Season so far. CJ Stroud and Matt Corral are your leaders, but Kenny Pickett is a GREAT storyline #CFB #CollegeFootball pic.twitter.com/4Zz9WS7DND
The Buckeyes lead the nation with 562.7 yards per game and now lead in scoring with 48.5 points per game, after Coastal Carolina’s loss this week.
Running back TreVeyon Henderson has been a huge part of that offensive explosion, as well. The freshman has averaged 8.7 yards per carry and found the end zone nine times.
He is fifth best in the nation with five different runs of at least 40 yards and will be the biggest test Indiana’s run defense has confronted all season.
Ohio State has 3 of the top-5 true freshmen in College Football 😳 pic.twitter.com/xJT2ZM2xvW— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 20, 2021
Ohio State has 3 of the top-5 true freshmen in College Football 😳 pic.twitter.com/xJT2ZM2xvW
Ohio State's woes in the secondary are not fully solved, but freshman corner Denzel Burke has become a rising star. He will likely be asked to lock down Ty Fryfogle, the 2020 Big Ten Receiver of the Year, and force Indiana to find someone else in the passing game.
However, the pass rush must step up its game. The Buckeyes' current sack percentage is 8.10% .
Indiana had high hopes coming into the season, but the Hoosiers sit at 2-4, with their only wins coming against Idaho and Western Kentucky.
They have played four ranked teams this season and have been competitive against Cincinnati and Michigan State at home, but Penn State beat Indiana 24-0, without a big game from Sean Clifford.
Iowa put the game away before halftime against the Hoosiers.
Top-5 hardest remaining schedules this season1. Nebraska2. Michigan State3. Auburn4. Texas Tech5. Indiana— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 19, 2021
Top-5 hardest remaining schedules this season1. Nebraska2. Michigan State3. Auburn4. Texas Tech5. Indiana
Indiana has a success rate of just 27% on passing downs this season, and a major problem for the Hoosiers is their inability to generate explosive plays on offense.
Indiana has recorded just two plays all season that have gone for more than 40 yards, and it has just one running play that has gained more than 26 yards.
When compared to what Henderson has done, alone, for the Buckeyes, it shows why Indiana has struggled to put points on the board.
Drops have been a problem as well. Head coach Tom Allen called out his receivers after the Michigan State loss and demanded better.
The biggest issue has been turnovers, and quarterback Jack Tuttle must protect the ball better than he did against Michigan State.
The Hoosiers have committed five turnovers in the past two games, with Tuttle’s pair of interceptions proving crucial mistakes in the defeat to Michigan State.
Without a solid run game, and with Tuttle’s poor decision-making, it is difficult to see a way forward for the Hoosiers against an Ohio State team that will put points up in a hurry.
The numbers in the #iufb-Ohio State rivalry are gaudy. IU is 2-57-2 dating back to 1952. Since 1990 it has been outscored by 552 points. This year OSU has the nation's best offense while IU's is 107th.But hey, maybe it's not all bad? For @ids_sports:https://t.co/Xh3RmbBC1D— Evan Gerike (@EvanGerike) October 21, 2021
The numbers in the #iufb-Ohio State rivalry are gaudy. IU is 2-57-2 dating back to 1952. Since 1990 it has been outscored by 552 points. This year OSU has the nation's best offense while IU's is 107th.But hey, maybe it's not all bad? For @ids_sports:https://t.co/Xh3RmbBC1D
This is a bad matchup for the Hoosiers. Their inability to create explosive plays on offense will prevent them from exploiting Ohio State’s biggest weaknesses on defense.
The Buckeyes will rely on their dominant offensive line to wear down Indiana’s front seven. However, the question remains whether Ohio State can cover such a large spread.
In their four games against ranked teams this season, the Hoosiers have been outscored 116-45, and that’s after losing just 20-15 last weekend to Michigan State.
The Buckeyes, on the other hand, have won their last three games by a combined score of 177-37, and have had a week to rest up.
Look for Stroud and Henderson to name the score against the Hoosiers and win this one going away. That said, I recommend buying a point to protect against a backdoor cover and bet on the Buckeyes winning by at least three scores.
For a same-game combo, bet Ohio State -20.5 with a total of Over 58.5 at +175 odds.
Ohio State is averaging 59 points over its past three games, and the lowest game total in the Buckeyes' six games this season has been 61 points.
Score prediction: Ohio State 49, Indiana 20
Our predictive engine is calling for Ohio State to win outright and to cover the spread. The total is expected to go Over 59 points.
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