Bucking the Trend: Numbers that Matter vs. Ohio State

Written By: Nick Holmes (@HoosierHolmes)

The talk all summer, by both Hoosiers players and fans alike, was making it through the out-of-conference portion of the schedule unscathed, potentially setting up a match-up of undefeated teams during week five of the season. Well, both the Hoosiers and the Buckeyes held up their end of the bargain, as both enter the game at 4-0.  Neither team has yet to play to their full ability, but I think it's safe to say that IU will need to come closer to a perfect performance than OSU will to get the win. 

52,929 - The Rock will be rocking on Saturday afternoon, at or near capacity.  The question to consider is, what ratio of the crowd will be cheering for the Cream and Crimson versus the Scarlet and Grey? The Hoosiers face tough odds, but getting the crowd behind them could go a long way in helping this team stay in the game and potentially pull off the upset. 

1988 - The Hoosiers last beat Ohio State in 1988, 41-7 at Memorial Stadium. They also knocked off the Buckeyes in Columbus the year before, 31-10, what is commonly known as the "Darkest day in Ohio State football."

121.8 - Ohio State's defense has been stout against the run most of the season, giving up just 121.8 rushing yards per game, which is good for 36 best in the nation.

675 - Jordan Howard leads the nation in rushing, but can he maintain this prolific pace against Ohio State's talented defensive front?

17 - The Buckeyes current winning streak. Can the Hoosiers bring an end to their winning streak and title hopes on Saturday?

3, 2 - Defensive touchdowns by Ohio State and Indiana, respectively. The Buckeyes three scores on defense ties for tops overall in the country and the Hoosiers two touchdowns are tied for sixth best.

2 - The Indiana offensive line has done an incredible job all season of keeping Nate Sudfeld's jersey clean, but they'll be facing their stiffest competition yet on Saturday against the talented Ohio State pass rush. Indiana has to keep the OSU defense honest by making plays through the pass game, so giving Sudfeld plenty of time in the pocket is a key to a victory.

14 - I said the Buckeyes had a fierce pass rush, and their 14 sacks are tied for ninth best in the nation.  The match up in trenches tomorrow is certainly one to keep your eyes on. 

15 - The average margin of victory for the Buckeyes over the Kevin Wilson led Hoosiers. (34-20 in 2011, 52-49 in '12, 42-14 in '13, and 42-27 in '14). Aside from the 2013 game, the Hoosiers have kept each game relatively close right up until the end. 

12.3 - Good luck putting up points against the Buckeyes defense, as they are giving up just 12.3 points per game, which is tenth best in the country. Oddly enough, it's only fourth best in the Big Ten conference (Northwestern - 8.8, Wisconsin - 9.5, and Michigan - 9.5).

38.3 - The Buckeyes have yet to face an opponent with an offense as explosive and dynamic as the Hoosiers have. Can they keep Indiana below their season average of 38.3 points per game? 

89 - The Hoosiers have scored on 89% of their trips to the red-zone. The Hoosiers can't afford to have any empty trips inside of OSU's 20 yard line on Saturday.

80.5 - It's going to take a near perfect game for Indiana to come out on top, and big part of that is minimizing errors and not shooting themselves in the foot. So far the Hoosiers are giving up 80.5 penalty yards per game (No. 114 in the nation), something that will need to be reduced if the Hoosiers' upset hopes are to be realized.

+6 - Winning the turnover battle has been vital to the Hoosiers victories the first four weeks of the season. Last year Indiana picked off OSU twice, allowing the Hoosiers to stay in the game much longer than anyone expected. Indiana will need to force some turnovers on Saturday to give themselves a chance to get good field position and get some easy points. 

1:1 - For as much talent as the Buckeyes have at quarterback and wide receiver, their current touchdown-to-interception ratio is just one-to-one.  So far, Buckeyes quarterbacks have thrown six interceptions and six touchdowns. Can the Hoosiers ball-hawking secondary take advantage of inaccurately thrown balls on Saturday?

The odds are definitely stacked against the Hoosiers on Saturday, and it's going to take one of their best performances under Coach Wilson to pull this off. But in the famous words of Lloyd Christmas, "So you're telling me there's a chance!"