Early season football can be a bit wonky — that's why we saw Indiana outplay Ohio State for a couple of quarters Thursday night in a rare Big Ten week 1 opener. The Hoosiers looked hot early, but in the end Ohio State walked away with a comfortable 49-21 win.
Ohio State was looking to erase all thought of a loss to Clemson in the College Football Playoff last fall. Early, they didn't help themselves.
After two quarters of play, a channel surfer would likely be surprised by the score — a 14-13 Indiana lead at the break. Richard Lagow looked poised at the helm of the Indiana offense early and Simmie Cobbs showed why NFL draft scouts are lining up to see him play.
— HERO Sports CFB (@HEROSportsCFB) September 1, 2017
But, Ohio State is, of course, the better of the two teams. It just took a little while for them to really show up. After trailing by one at the half, Ohio State outscored Indiana 22-7 in the third quarter and cruised from there, outscoring Indiana 36-7 in total over the final two quarters.
By the end of the night, Ohio State had flashed just about every weapon in its arsenal. J.T. Barrett finished with 304 yards and three touchdowns (no interceptions) on 20 completions in 35 attempts. Freshman J.K. Dobbins exploded for 181 rushing yards on 29 carries. Parris Campbell went off for 136 yards and a touchdown on just 6 catches. And when it counted, the defense figured things out and slowed down an Indiana offense that looked like it had an edge early.
— The Buckeye Nut (@TheBuckeyeNut) September 1, 2017
Ohio State showed in the second half why it deserves early consideration for a spot in the College Football Playoff. The Buckeyes have NFL talent all over the roster, and once everything started moving in the right direction we saw just how good this team can be.
The Buckeyes do need to worry a bit about that defense, though — Lagow and the Indiana offense passed at will in the first half and the Hoosiers offense finished the game with 420 yards and three touchdowns through the air. The Buckeyes did pick off Lagow twice, but the defensive backfield is clearly young and inexperienced.
That kind of defense could come back to hurt when Baker Mayfield and the Oklahoma Sooners are on the other side of the ball next week.
Still, we have to consider that it's just the first week of play and the Buckeyes faced an opponent who sees them just about every year. It's not a normal first game of the year. At the same time, anyone sleeping on Indiana needs to wake up. The Hoosiers have an offense that will test people this season, and the duo of Lagow and Cobbs is going to be fun to watch.
One thing's for sure — every team on Ohio State's schedule is going to have a juggernaut to deal with, and no lead will be safe when the Buckeyes are on the other side of the ball.
Yeah, Indiana made things interesting early. But good teams know how to get the job done, and that's exactly what Ohio State did late in the game. Next week's contest against Oklahoma should be fun.