College Football Game of the Week: Indiana vs. Ohio State
Entering week five of the Big Ten season, two undefeated teams remain in the East division: Ohio State (3-0) and Indiana (4-0). The two will square off this weekend in Columbus.
Ohio State is ranked third in the AP Top 25 Poll. The Buckeyes have defeated Nebraska, Penn State and Rutgers.
Indiana, meanwhile, is ranked ninth. The Hoosiers have wins over Penn State, Rutgers, Michigan and Michigan State.
Entering the season, hardly anybody thought that Indiana would be the biggest threat to dethrone Ohio State from the Big Ten crown. However, this Indiana team has caught a lot of people by surprise.
The Indiana offense is led by redshirt sophomore quarterback Michael Penix Jr., who is enjoying a breakout season. Penix has completed 91 of 150 attempts for 1,070 yards and nine touchdowns.
The one weakness of this Indiana team is its running game. In four games, the Hoosiers have just 381 rushing yards, about 95 per game.
Receivers Ty Fryfogle and Whop Philyor are having breakout seasons. Fryfogle has 24 catches for 424 yards and four touchdowns, while Philyor has caught 24 passes for 287 yards and one score.
Indiana’s defense has been excellent this season. The Hoosiers have given up just 77 points in their four contests. They allowed just 73 rushing yards against Michigan and Michigan State. They also lead the Big Ten in sacks, and they’re second in tackles for loss.
As for Ohio State, the Buckeyes come into this matchup after having their game last Saturday against Maryland canceled due to a COVID-19 outbreak at Maryland.
The Ohio State offense has been a thing of beauty to watch. They have scored 139 points in just three games.
Quarterback Justin Fields has been outstanding this season and is in contention for the Heisman Trophy. Fields has completed 87% of his passes for 908 yards and 11 touchdowns.
The rushing attack has been led by lead backs Master Teague III and Trey Sermon, who have 211 and 172 yards, respectively. Teague has tallied four touchdowns on the season.
The air attack for the Buckeyes is led by receivers Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave. Wilson is Field’s main target, as he has racked up 24 catches for 344 yards and two touchdowns. As for Olave, he has 18 catches for 288 yards and four touchdowns.
The defense has not played at the level that it did last season, as star pass rusher Chase Young left for the NFL, but the defense does rank third in the Big Ten in sacks. Overall, there hasn’t been too much to complain about on the defensive side of the ball.
This game will come down to who plays better at quarterback: Penix or Fields. Ultimately, it seems extremely likely that Fields will win that battle.
That is no disrespect toward Penix, and he most likely will have a good game. It is just that Fields is playing so well that it will be very hard for the Indiana offense to keep pace.
Ohio State will play this game very similarly to how it played Penn State. The Buckeyes will get off to a fast start, and from there, there will be no concerns for Ohio State. The final score will look better for the Hoosiers, as Indiana will score late points to make the game look more competitive, but the Buckeyes should be the ones coming out victorious.
Prediction: Ohio State 38, Indiana 24
Alex Rocco is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.