Injuries Derail Hoosiers Upset Bid, OSU Survives 34-27

 Zander Diamont and the Hoosiers rally fell short in a 34-27 loss to No. 1 Ohio State  Image: Cam Koenig

Zander Diamont and the Hoosiers rally fell short in a 34-27 loss to No. 1 Ohio State Image: Cam Koenig

A sellout crowd at Memorial Stadium watched as Ezekiel Elliott ran for a career-high 274 yards as the Ohio State Buckeyes (5-0) survived a strong challenge from the Indiana Hoosiers (4-1) and stayed unbeaten with a 34-27 victory. Indiana's dynamic offense was severely hampered as offensive stars Jordan Howard and Nate Sudfeld both left the game with ankle injuries. The Hoosiers defense fought hard and would force three turnovers to keep IU within striking distance but the defending national champions did just enough to leave Bloomington unblemished.

Indiana started strong, jumping out to a 10-0 lead after a field goal from Griffin Oakes and a touchdown from Devine Redding. However, Ohio State would answer with a pair of field goals to cut the deficit to four at 10-6 at halftime. Indiana held the Buckeyes rushing attack in check in the first 30 minutes of action but that would change in the second half as Elliott erupted for multiple big runs and a trio of touchdowns. Elliott's first score on a 55-yard scamper to put the Buckeyes ahead 13-10. OSU appeared poised to score again and take control but Tegray Scales intercepted a Cardale Jones pass and IU capitalized with an 11-yard touchdown run by Devine Redding to go back ahead 17-13. Elliott would score again to put Ohio State back ahead, this time on a 65-yard run on 4th and inches. The fourth quarter began with a 23-yard touchdown pass from Cardale Jones to Michael Thomas to put OSU ahead 27-17 and it appeared the Buckeyes would coast to a victory. 

But the Indiana Hoosiers, playing with a backup quarterback and a backup running back, wouldn't go quietly. A 34-yard field goal from Griffin Oakes cut the deficit to seven, 27-20. Ezekiel Elliott answered again as he burst for a 75-yard touchdown and the 34-20 lead. IU's backup quarterback Zander Diamont responded quickly with a 79-yard touchdown run to chop the lead back down to 7, 34-27. Indiana stopped the Buckeyes to force a punt but a 4th and goal pass from the nine yard line fell harmlessly to the turf as the clock expired. 

Ohio State outgained the Hoosiers, 517 yards to 402 yards but the three turnovers and eight Buckeye penalties gave Indiana a chance to grab the upset. The Buckeyes were led on defense by Raekwon McMillan who garnered 14 tackles on the day. Safety Chase Dutra had eleven tackles to pace the Hoosiers. Ohio State will continue their quest for a second straight national title as they return home to play the struggling Maryland Terrapins. Indiana will hope to get Nate Sudfeld and Jordan Howard healthy as they head on the road to take on the Penn State Nittany Lions.