Welcome back to Memorial Stadium where, through one half of football, Indiana is dominated by Justin Fields and the Buckeyes, 30-10.
Ramsey cannot play scared
It was clear early on after starting the game on two consecutive three-and-outs that confidence was lacking in the Indiana offense. In Indiana’s first two games, the game began with a heavy pass presence. So far today, the run-and-screen pass has been the bread and butter of the Indiana offense. Although Indiana is more limited with a backup quarterback in play, you just cannot beat Ohio State off a simple offense like the one currently being ran. Ramsey, as a junior, has lost the right to play scared football. The quarterback continues to avoid contact and struggles to impact the offense in the way Penix can.
Ramsey needs to feel comfortable throwing the ball downfield and trust his receivers. By sitting back in the pocket and going through his reads he will be able to find the open man. The Kalen Deboer offense is built for a quarterback with strong receivers. If Ramsey can buy into the system and play a ‘braver’ brand of football, we could see a larger offensive presence in the second half.
Find a way to limit J.K. Dobbins
Listen, he’s amazing. He is one of the best running backs in the Big Ten and is already showing that in the first half. Let’s be clear here: if you’re Indiana, your goal shouldn’t be to stop Dobbins, the goal should be to limit him to minimal yards.
The strategy needs to be to bend for J.K. but refuse to allow him to break free for a 65-yard breakaway type run that we saw in the second quarter. If you can hold JK to less than 5 yards per carry, Indiana can put themselves in a position to compete in the second half.
Cracking under pressure
In a two-play sequence that saw an incomplete pass and a safety off a blocked punt in the second quarter, Indiana has already shown its vulnerability to the pressure that comes with the Buckeyes in town. Ohio State is excellent fundamentally, and feeds off of opponents’ mistakes, week in and week out. Indiana can’t crack to the relentlessness of Ohio State and allow them to cash in on the Hoosier mistakes.
If the Hoosiers really want to have a chance in this one, they need to limit their mistakes and feel comfortable playing the big, bad, dog of the Big Ten.
The bottom line
Fans may be disappointed by the result of the first half but understand this: Indiana is not Ohio State. This Buckeye program is filled with athletes who will play in the NFL in a few years time. Although Indiana only has a few of those guys, this is certainly a learning curve.
A late touchdown thrown by Donovan Hale to Peyton Hendershot does shift the momentum a bit, but of course, there’s still a lot of work to be done.