Written By Sammy Jacobs (@Hoosier_Huddle)
This was a tough game to look back on because there are a lot of what ifs. What if Nate Sudfeld's ankle had been 100 percent? What if Jordan Howard did not suffer a high-ankle sprain in the first half? What if pass interference was called on the final play? Indiana had the champs on the ropes and let them off the hook. This was the first close call for the Hoosiers, in a season filled with close calls.
Opponent Ohio State Buckeyes
Location Saturday October 3rd/3:36pm/ Memorial Stadium/ (Bloomington, IN)
Why They Played Indiana and Ohio State opened up Big Ten play as East Division Foes at Memorial Stadium
What The Game Meant
Anytime that the number one team in the country comes to town it is a big game. Add in the fact that IU was 4-0, made the match-up that much juicier. A win would have sent Bloomington into a frenzy, but the Hoosiers showed what they are made of. IU will make some noise in the Big Ten in 2015.
Top Offensive Performers
Zander Diamont, QB, Indiana- The sophomore backup quarterback came off the bench in relief of an injured Nate Sudfeld and led the Hoosiers to the brink of a historic upset. He finished the day six-of-14 passing for 76 yards, ran for 98 yards, including a thrilling 76-yard touchdown and even caught a pass from Mitchell Paige for 16 yards.
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State- There is a reason Elliott was amongst the favorites to win the Heisman Trophy. The junior had a career day gashing the Hoosier defense for three long touchdown runs of 55, 65, and 75 yards. He finished the day with 274 yards on 23 carries, an 11.9 yard per carry average.
Jalin Marshall, WR, Ohio State- Just call him a Hoosier killer. After, dashing the dreams of IU fans last season, Marshall carved up the IU defense and punt coverage team for a total of 186 yards (110 receiving 76 PR). He constantly gave the Buckeyes great field position all afternoon.
Top Defensive Performers
Nick Mangieri, DL, Indiana- The senior busted through the line for two sacks and a forced fumble. He was in forcing Cardale Jones out of the pocket all day.
Chase Dutra, S, Indiana- Dutra came out firing Saturday. He led the team in tackles with 11 including one for a loss.
Tyquan Lewis, DL, Ohio State- The Buckeye lineman had a monster game with seven tackles with 3.5 coming for a loss. He effectively shut down the IU running game.
Joey Bosa, DL, Ohio State- Bosa has had a slow start today, but he was in the IU backfield all day recording six tackles, 2.5 for a loss and had the hit that might have shaken IU starting quarterback Nate Sudfeld up.
Special Teams Performance
The Hoosiers didn’t have the best day on special teams. They continue to take away threats with terrific kickoff coverage, however the punt game struggled with the wind and Jalin Marshall. IU punter Erich Toth punted ten times for a net average of only 32.3 yards. The short punts and the fact that IU didn’t kick away from Marshall set the Buckeyes up with great field position all day. The worst performance was probably on a fake punt where head coach Kevin Wilson said “it was set up and (Toth) just made a mistake.”
The Hoosiers defense played their tails off Saturday, but they were ultimately done in because of nine big plays (by my count) from the Ohio State offense.
Indiana was driving for the tying score and had managed to get the ball down to the Ohio State five-yard line when Indiana tight end Jordan Fuchs was called for a false start. This let the OSU defense catch their breath and ultimately hang on for the seven-point win.
I Knew it Was Over When…
When Eli Apple knocked down Diamont’s final pass attempt, with a fist full of Ricky Jones’ jersey in the end zone. Wilson was hoping for a roughing the passer penalty, but didn’t receive the call from the officials.
Players of the Game
Zander Diamont, QB, Indiana- Indiana looked dead in the water after Ezekiel Elliott’s 75-yard touchdown run, but on Indiana’s next possession he took the first snap 79 yards to get Indiana back within seven and electrified the Hoosier crowd. He did everything in just one half of football as he threw for 76 yards, ran for 98 and catch a pass for 16 yards.
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State- Ohio State probably does not win this game without Elliott, he bailed out a sluggish OSU offense with 274 yards rushing and three touchdowns. There is a reason the guy is on everyone’s Heisman Watch List.
What I took away from the game
Hoosier fans should be proud of the showing their football team had on Saturday, and I think that they realized they should be when the fans gave them a nice ovation as the team left the field. This was a game where IU lost their starting quarterback, their best running back, and had their best defensive lineman suspended. They could have easily packed it up and went home. Not this team, not this year, not with these veteran players. After the game linebacker T.J. Scales said, “our team has a lot of heart. We’re not going to stop.” That’s exactly what they did.
IU needs to shake off this loss and move on to Penn State, so that this doesn’t become a situation where the season gets crushed, which was the case in 2013 when Northwestern was 4-0 and lost to Ohio State at home and went one to win just one more game the rest of the season. There is a bigger picture here. This team, if Sudfeld and Howard come back healthy (it sounds like they will), can make some noise in the Big Ten.
Next week is another big test as the Hoosiers travel to Happy Valley to take on the Nittany Lions who have not impressed so far this season. It’s another opportunity for Indiana to make a statement.