By the time Indiana kicks off Wednesday night in Columbus, Ohio to face the Ohio State Buckeyes, the Big Ten regular season title could be wrapped up.
But that doesn’t discount how important Wednesday’s match is to the Hoosiers. Indiana players have had the Ohio State match circled on the schedule since the day it came out. The reason for that? The chance to face former Indiana assistant coach Brian Maisonneuve.
It’s been a down first season for Maisonneuve in Columbus. The Buckeyes have won just one game and have stumbled 12 times to go along with two draws. Yet, Wednesday’s match should be an interesting one.
Let’s get into what the Buckeyes have to offer and what to look forward to in Columbus.
Goal scoring woes
It’s been a close to disastrous year for Ohio State. In 15 matches in 2018, the Buckeyes have scored just seven total goals and have scored just once in the past five matches. They have also been shut out in nine games.
?Jake Scheper ▶️ @DevynEtling ?
— OhioStateMensSoccer (@OhioStateMSOC) September 18, 2018
Devyn Etling leads the team with three goals on the season and four other Buckeyes have one goal each. The best chance they have to potentially steal a result would be to pitch a shutout because they just haven’t been very goal dangerous all year long based on earning just 8.7 shots per game on average.
Porous at the back
Goals seem to be going in the wrong direction for Ohio State. Its goal differential overall is minus-23 and minus-11 in the Big Ten. Both of those numbers are last in the conference. While goals haven’t been going in for themselves, plenty have been going in for opponents.
The Buckeyes have allowed nine multi-goal games, including seven straight matches. Junior defenders CC Uche and Osman Fofanah have played nearly every match this season while goalkeeper Parker Siegfried hasn’t gotten much help. It took IU 26 shots before finding the back of the net against Rutgers, so it will be interesting how long it takes them Wednesday to score.
One to watch
Devyn Etling has to be the go-to guy for the Buckeyes. He leads the team with three goals and scored the lone goal for Ohio State against a ranked Michigan State team. He received a medical redshirt a season ago in his freshman season, which means this is his first season on the field.
88′ | GOALLLLLLLLL!@DevynEtling header finds the back of the net! Assisted by Brady Blackwell. We’re tied up!
— OhioStateMensSoccer (@OhioStateMSOC) October 12, 2018
Etling was the 30th overall recruit in the 2017 class by College Soccer News and was the 2016 Columbus Crew Academy Player of the Year. There is plenty of potential for the redshirt-freshman.
If you look at this match on paper, it shouldn’t be close. It’s a No. 2 Indiana team against an Ohio State team that has struggled in 2018, to say the least. The Hoosiers could be Big Ten champs by first kick or could still need a win to seal the title. Either way, it’s a conference match that they will want to play well in.
Being that it is against Maisonneuve brings an extra storyline into play. Maisonneuve knows this IU team very well as he has coached nearly every player on that will play for IU. Still, this shouldn’t be a very close match and I expect IU to roll. It might be behoove the Hoosiers to score a few early goals and not wait until the dying moments to take away three points.