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Indiana head coach Tom Allen walks the sideline during IU's loss to Nebraska on Oct. 1. (HN photo/Max Wood)
Indiana head coach Tom Allen walks the sideline during IU's loss to Nebraska on Oct. 1. (HN photo/Max Wood)

Spaletto's Scouting Report: Ohio State

A couple major keys stand out if Indiana wants a chance at pulling the upset in Columbus

Coming off their sixth consecutive loss, the Indiana Hoosiers have quite the task ahead of them on Saturday afternoon, as they travel to Columbus to take on the No. 2 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes at the Horseshoe. The game will kick off at noon and can be seen on FOX.

The Buckeyes took care of business against Penn State on the road two weeks ago 44-31, and Penn State went on to defeat Indiana 45-14. So to say the least, it will take a lot to happen for IU to even stay competitive against a very talented OSU team with its sights set on winning the national championship.

Taking a look at the Buckeyes

The high-octane Buckeye offense is led by one who many think is the Heisman Trophy frontrunner CJ Stroud. Stroud not only has the capability to throw the deep ball, but has the ability to scramble as well. The junior is also second in the country in passing touchdowns with 29, so Stroud needs to be the key focus in Tom Allen’s defensive gameplan.

But Stroud’s supporting cast is just as dangerous. Even with star running back TreyVeyon Henderson and receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba’s status still unknown, The Buckeyes still have some explosive pieces on this offense. Miyan Williams has really burst onto the scene in Henderson’s absence, running for 111 yards and two touchdowns last week against Northwestern.

Marvin Harrison Jr. has also done the same in Smith-Njigba’s missed time, as he has looked improved in every single week since stepping into his new role. Emeka Egbuka and Julian Fleming have also looked tremendous in Smith-Njigba’s absence as well, so this will undoubtedly be the IU secondary’s greatest test yet.

Keys for IU

Obviously it’s quite the daunting task to defeat the No. 2 team in the country on the road in such a hostile environment, but as said earlier, the secondary might be the biggest key to this game. If IU lets these Ohio State wide receivers dominate the one-on-one battles like Penn State did, it will be a long, long day for the Hoosiers.

Connor Bazelak is expected to be back as the starter for Indiana. I’m eager to see what Walt Bell and the offense do after the QB disaster that was last week with Jack Tuttle and Dexter Williams. It should be interesting to see what the extended preparation does for Bazelak and the rest of this offense.

And lastly, turnovers. You simply cannot gift a team like Ohio State the ball back, especially considering the talent differential between the two teams. Interceptions and fumbles on the offensive end on the floor give the Buckeyes confidence as a team, and a national championship-type team like Ohio State lives off confidence boosts like these.

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