Indiana Preview: A David Versus Goliath Story

osuHelmetExcept David’s sling isn’t a strong leather strap, it’s a used Kroger grocery bag. He doesn’t have a pocketful of smooth river rocks, he’s got a handful aqua blue aquarium gravel.

He probably doesn’t stand a chance.

Things started out so well for Indiana. They were the talk of the B1G after taking out last year’s SEC West Champ Missouri in a game that stunned everyone.

hoosiervictory

The Hoosiers went on to lose every one of their Big Ten conferences games after upsetting Missouri. A letdown game after an emotional high like that can be expected, even forgiven. Six straight conference losses can’t be.

Indiana lost its starting QB, Nate Sudfeld in a loss to Iowa. Chris Covington, Sudfeld’s back-up did not impress against Iowa. True freshman Zander Diamont came under center against Michigan State when #2 QB Covington’s season was ended with an injury.

Maybe those six losses are excusable.

As bad as Indiana has played at QB, Tevin Coleman has been a steady constant for them. The second leading rusher in the nation (behind Melvin Gordon) but probably a better back than Gordon. (Proof? Look at the way Coleman runs versus Gordon. Gordon runs behind a better offensive line yet still looks to bounce it outside whenever possible to use his speed. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But Coleman’s yards are man yards. B1G yards, between the tackles. Give me that any day of the week).

So that’s sets up one of the major story lines for Ohio State — can they stop the run. They struggled to stop MSU’s ground game and Minnesota’s Cobb had his way with Ohio State’s D. As was noted by our Ronnie Glickman, the currently constituted defense line is not built to stop a downhill rushing attack:

But, with Indiana operating with its fourth option at quarterback this year, there isn’t going to be much of a passing threat, which brings the safeties into the box to stop the running game. Doran Grant will probably draw coverage duties to shadow MotSaG favorite Shane Wynn, allowing the defense to focus on stopping the run. But without a space-eater like Jonathan Hankins, Bennett, Washington, Schutt and Company have their work cut out for them. Curtis Grant and freshman Raekwon McMillan will also have to step up their game as well.

On offense, there probably isn’t too much of a concern. Indiana’s defense is led by Linebacker T.J. Simmons, but I’m using “led” in very loose terms here. As you can see from the matchups in yesterday’s By The Numbers, Indiana can’s top anything on the defensive side of the ball. Ohio State’s offensive line will be too strong, J.T. Barrett too smart and the rest of his offensive weapons too quick for Indiana to hang around for very long.

I look for Ohio State to do what they’ve done since the Virginia Tech game — come out passing early, then establish the run by forcing teams to honor Barrett’s arm AND legs, and then let Ezekiel Elliot, Jalin Marshall and Curtis Samuel to do the rest.

At this point, Ohio State’s path to the B1G Championship Game should be academic. Indiana will prove a meatier test than Michigan (yeah, I said it) but it should be no more than a speed-bump.

By The Numbers: Indiana

As always, presented without comment.

Statistically Speaking
Ohio State
Value (Rank)
Value (Rank)
Indiana
Advantage
Rushing Offense (ypg) 263.1 (13) 173.9 (81) Rushing Defense (ypg) Ohio State+
Passing Offense (ypg) 246.7 (50) 258.8 (104) Passing Defense (ypg) Ohio State+
Pass Efficiency 170.9 (2) 133.6 (88) Pass Efficiency Defense Ohio State++
Total Offense (ypg) 509.8 (10) 432.7 (91) Total Defense (ypg) Ohio State++
Scoring Offense (ppg) 44.5 (5) 33.6 (106) Scoring Defense (ppg) Ohio State+++
Rushing Defense (ypg) 134.5 (30) 264.3 (11) Rushing Offense (ypg) Push
Passing Defense (ypg) 189.4 (18) 146.4 (118) Passing Offense (ypg) Ohio State+++
Pass Efficiency Defense 107.7 (18) 103.9 (122) Pass Efficiency Offense Ohio State+++
Total Defense (ypg) 323.9 (17) 410.7 (63) Total Offense (ypg) Ohio State
Scoring Defense (ppg) 22.0 (25) 25.1 (91) Scoring Offense (ppg) Ohio State+
Turnover margin +0.50 (34) -0.60 (109) Turnover margin Ohio State++
Penalty Yards/game 50.4 (54) 65.7 (108) Penalty Yards/game Ohio State+
Sacks (/game) 2.90 (18) 2.10 (70) Sacks Allowed (/game) Ohio State+
Sacks Allowed (/game) 2.00 (59) 2.00 (67) Sacks (/game) Push
3rd Down Conv. (%) 53.1 (4) 35.3 (28) 3rd Down Conv. Def (%) Push
3rd Down Conv. Def (%) 37.5 (48) 29.5 (123) 3rd Down Conv. (%) Ohio State+++
4th Down Conv. (%) 47.1 (76) 71.4 (119) 4th Down Conv. Def (%) Ohio State
4th Down Conv. Def (%) 44.4 (39) 36.8 (109) 4th Down Conv. (%) Ohio State+
Redzone Offense (%) 83.0 (67) 97.4 (128) Redzone Defense (%) Ohio State+
Redzone Defense (%) 80.0 (44) 78.6 (95) Redzone Offense (%) Ohio State+
 Legend
  Difference <25 in National Rank = Push
  Difference >25 in National Rank = Ohio State
  Difference >50 in National Rank = Ohio State+
  Difference >75 in National Rank = Ohio State++
  Differences >100 in National Rank = Ohio State+++

Stats are grabbed from cfbstats.com

Friday Open Thread: Minnesota

osuHelmetFor your Friday Open Thread perusal, a few links from your bloggers here at MotSaG:

Chip sees this as being a smash-mouth, BEE ONE FREAKING GEE three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-frozen-dust, football game. Man on man, strength against strength, as two teams line up and go at it.

The weather will be cold with possible snow, as the present weekend forecast for Minneapolis is for a high of 28 degrees. As Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill said, “I don’t see it being a factor. … That’s the way it is in the Midwest so you deal with it”.

As always, you can see how these two teams stack up statistically in our weekly By The Numbers post.

When Ronnie took a look at which players to watch in Saturday’s game, he singled out the two middle linebackers who hope to stop the opposing running game. It sounds like they have the same style of play, but the edge might go to Minnesota:

Damien Wilson, Middle Linebacker

Wilson is the most NFL ready player on this Gopher roster. The 6’2, 242 pound linebacker leads the Big Ten in tackles with 88 and is beginning to play some of the best football of his career. Wilson is a do it all linebackers as he not only leads the team in tackles, but he also has recorded 8 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 interception, and 1 forced fumble. Wilson will be anywhere and everywhere the Gophers need him to be on Saturday in order to try and contain this Buckeye offense. I would not be shocked to see Wilson have an upwards of 15-20 tackles on Saturday for the future NFL talent.

A lot of people are seeing this as a potential trap/letdown game, but I don’t see it like that at all. I think Urban is going to have the Buckeyes rolling. Their confidence is at an all-time high, this is another chance to put up a good victory against a ranked team, in front of a national audience. I don’t see any chance of a letdown. I say:

Ohio State: 45
Minnesota: 16

What say you?

By The Numbers: Minnesota

As always, presented without comment.

Statistically Speaking
Ohio State
Value (Rank)
Value (Rank)
Minnesota
Advantage
Rushing Offense (ypg) 260.2 (13) 137.6 (37) Rushing Defense (ypg) Push
Passing Offense (ypg) 251.9 (47) 197.8 (26) Passing Defense (ypg) Push
Pass Efficiency 172.1 (2) 107.4 (15) Pass Efficiency Defense Push
Total Offense (ypg) 512.1 (10) 335.3 (21) Total Defense (ypg) Push
Scoring Offense (ppg) 46.0 (4) 21.3 (23) Scoring Defense (ppg) Push
Rushing Defense (ypg) 125.2 (21) 224.3 (28) Rushing Offense (ypg) Push
Passing Defense (ypg) 201.0 (30) 140.2 (122) Passing Offense (ypg) Ohio State++
Pass Efficiency Defense 111.5 (24) 129.3 (68) Pass Efficiency Offense Ohio State
Total Defense (ypg) 326.2 (17) 364.6 (99) Total Offense (ypg) Ohio State++
Scoring Defense (ppg) 21.8 (26) 30.7 (59) Scoring Offense (ppg) Ohio State
Turnover margin +0.67 (25) +0.89 (14) Turnover margin Push
Penalty Yards/game 50.6 (50) 46.6 (40) Penalty Yards/game Push
Sacks (/game) 2.78 (24) 1.33 (27) Sacks Allowed (/game) Push
Sacks Allowed (/game) 2.11 (72) 2.00 (71) Sacks (/game) Push
3rd Down Conv. (%) 51.3 (7) 38.4 (60) 3rd Down Conv. Def (%) Ohio State+
3rd Down Conv. Def (%) 37.7 (49) 41.5 (62) 3rd Down Conv. (%) Push
4th Down Conv. (%) 47.1 (75) 66.7 (112) 4th Down Conv. Def (%) Ohio State
4th Down Conv. Def (%) 37.5 (26) 83.3 (2) 4th Down Conv. (%) Push
Redzone Offense (%) 84.0 (59) 92.0 (120) Redzone Defense (%) Ohio State+
Redzone Defense (%) 77.8 (34) 88.2 (30) Redzone Offense (%) Push
 Legend
  Difference <25 in National Rank = Push
  Difference >25 in National Rank = Ohio State
  Difference >50 in National Rank = Ohio State+
  Difference >75 in National Rank = Ohio State++
  Differences >100 in National Rank = Ohio State+++

Stats are grabbed from cfbstats.com

A Recap: Ohio State’s Statement Win Over Michigan State

osuHelmetYour fearless leader (that’s me, if you were wondering) was on the hook to put together our regular in-depth recap, which we post the Monday following a Buckeye game. For whatever excuse I may come up with, it’s not sufficient. I pulled a Dontre Wilson (that means I dropped the ball, for those keeping score at home) and completely forgot my responsibility.

That being said, how does one recap a game of this magnitude? This game had it all: Under the lights, on prime-time TV, top-ranked teams. It also was a rematch of sorts, a chance for redemption or affirmation. It was college football in a nutshell, and every reason why we love Ohio State.

So instead of breaking down the game (my lunch hour is almost over anyway), let’s relive the game in all three glorious HD hours (Thanks to YouTuber Buckdubbs007, who has been doing the Lord’s work, uploading games to YouTube. It’s anyone’s guess how long they’ll stay up):

By The Numbers: Michigan State

As always, presented without comment.

Statistically Speaking
Ohio State
Value (Rank)
Value (Rank)
Michigan State
Advantage
Rushing Offense (ypg) 259.3 (14) 95.4 (6) Rushing Defense (ypg) Push
Passing Offense (ypg) 245.9 (55) 184.0 (15) Passing Defense (ypg) Michigan State
Pass Efficiency 169.2 (2) 103.7 (8) Pass Efficiency Defense Push
Total Offense (ypg) 505.1 (15) 279.4 (5) Total Defense (ypg) Push
Scoring Offense (ppg) 45.6 (4) 20.3 (22) Scoring Defense (ppg) Push
Rushing Defense (ypg) 118.6 (18) 254.9 (17) Rushing Offense (ypg) Push
Passing Defense (ypg) 181.4 (13) 260.4 (43) Passing Offense (ypg) Ohio State
Pass Efficiency Defense 106.9 (18) 160.3 (7) Pass Efficiency Offense Push
Total Defense (ypg) 300.0 (8) 515.3 (10) Total Offense (ypg) Push
Scoring Defense (ppg) 19.9 (17) 45.5 (5) Scoring Offense (ppg) Push
Turnover margin +1.00 (11) +1.50 (3) Turnover margin Push
Penalty Yards/game 50.6 (52) 54.3 (67) Penalty Yards/game Push
Sacks (/game) 3.00 (18) 0.63 (4) Sacks Allowed (/game) Push
Sacks Allowed (/game) 2.13 (73) 3.50 (7) Sacks (/game) Michigan State+
3rd Down Conv. (%) 48.5 (12) 26.6 (36) 3rd Down Conv. Def (%) Push
3rd Down Conv. Def (%) 35.7 (39) 46.9 (22) 3rd Down Conv. (%) Push
4th Down Conv. (%) 43.8 (87) 50.0 (58) 4th Down Conv. Def (%) Michigan State
4th Down Conv. Def (%) 42.9 (33) 44.4 (81) 4th Down Conv. (%) Ohio State
Redzone Offense (%) 82.2 (72) 84.2 (78) Redzone Defense (%) Push
Redzone Defense (%) 77.3 (30) 85.7 (46) Redzone Offense (%) Push
 Legend
  Difference <25 in National Rank = Push
  Difference >25 in National Rank = Ohio State
  Difference >50 in National Rank = Ohio State+
  Difference >75 in National Rank = Ohio State++
  Differences >100 in National Rank = Ohio State+++

Stats are grabbed from cfbstats.com

Penn State: Open Thread

In what has become a tradition for both Ohio State and Penn State fans, some of this series more iconic images are those of the sad panda QBs of the losing team. We all remember Terrelle Pryor, as a freshman, fumbling away a victory against Penn State and then sitting dejected, hands on helmet as the game ticked to a close. I’m sure some knuckle-dragging Penn State fans will point you in the direction of that image. But we can dish out as much as we take, and nothing makes us happier than seeing a Penn State QB sitting dejected on the sideline as the game slips away. So don’t be surprised if you see a few peppered through this open thread. clark_sadface

Oh, so soon? Hello there, Sad Panda Daryll Clark.

In the wake of last year’s throttling, Penn State fans have all the reason to be scared this Saturday. A night game, in Happy Valley, with the whole nation watching as Urban Meyer continues to build a case as to why his Ohio State Buckeyes should be included in the College Football Playoff discussion. It could get ugly for the home team.

Our resident Penn State Curmudgeon, YNBA, has put together his annual airing of grievances in the form of a game preview, and he doesn’t see things working out too well for Penn State. When you put the safeties of the defense on high alert, it can’t be good:

The two starting safeties for Penn State will be on full alert as Jalin Marshall and Dontre Wilson will add a playmaker element at the H-Back position that Penn State has not seen so far this year. Ohio State will do everything to get these guys into space and safety play will be imperative in keeping these guys from going crazy.

Like YNBA, Chip doesn’t put too much stock in the respective successes of Ohio State’s Offense and Penn State’s Defense. So what will Chip be keying in on?

Penn State’s defense has been keeping the team in games, ranking 6th in the country at points allowed (average 15 points a game). The strength of the Penn State defense is the run defense, while Ohio State prides itself on a powerful running game. With those statistics in mind, keep in mind that these are the opponents Penn State has played up until this point – Central Florida, Akron, Rutgers, Massachusetts, Northwestern, and Michigan. Penn State defeated Rutgers 13-10, largely behind five interceptions of Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova; Ohio State just thrashed Rutgers 56-17.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say Chip thinks OSU’s numbers are a little more realistic and the outcome will prove that out.

As usual, Shannon goes in deep with a Penn State blogger to get the feel for the fans of the other side. Optimism doesn’t seem to be one of the things they’re feeling:

Prediction? Pain. As I said on your podcast, I have Ohio State winning this weekend’s match-up in Beaver Stadium, 35-17 (which if you bet the over at 51.5 is just fine with you). I think Penn State’s defense keeps this game from getting out of hand as it did last season, but I can’t see Penn State ever making much of a game of this with their concerns on offense. I see Ohio State maybe jumping out to an early lead and cruising into the second half before Penn State gets a junk touchdown to make this closer than the score would actually indicate.

So let’s look forward to taking another sad panda to the taxidermist this Saturday. It will look nice next to Moxie McGritty

Sad Panda

I say
Ohio State 52
Penn State 20

What say you?

By The Numbers: Penn State

As always, presented without comment.

Statistically Speaking
Ohio State
Value (Rank)
Value (Rank)
Penn State
Advantage
Rushing Offense (ypg) 259.8 (17) 60.8 (1) Rushing Defense (ypg) Push
Passing Offense (ypg) 274.0 (34) 222.5 (55) Passing Defense (ypg) Push
Pass Efficiency 179.9 (2) 109.3 (22) Pass Efficiency Defense Push
Total Offense (ypg) 533.8 (9) 283.3 (6) Total Defense (ypg) Push
Scoring Offense (ppg) 46.5 (4) 15.2 (6) Scoring Defense (ppg) Push
Rushing Defense (ypg) 137.8 (41) 93.2 (121) Rushing Offense (ypg) Ohio State++
Passing Defense (ypg) 181.7 (16) 282.3 (32) Passing Offense (ypg) Push
Pass Efficiency Defense 112.3 (29) 120.5 (89) Pass Efficiency Offense Ohio State+
Total Defense (ypg) 319.5 (15) 375.5 (92) Total Offense (ypg) Ohio State++
Scoring Defense (ppg) 20.2 (24) 21.2 (111) Scoring Offense (ppg) Ohio State++
Turnover margin +0.83 (22) -0.17 (85) Turnover margin Ohio State+
Penalty Yards/game 46.5 (34) 44.2 (25) Penalty Yards/game Push
Sacks (/game) 2.67 (35) 3.33 (119) Sacks Allowed (/game) Ohio State++
Sacks Allowed (/game) 2.17 (79) 2.67 (35) Sacks (/game) Penn State
3rd Down Conv. (%) 49.3 (9) 34.8 (36) 3rd Down Conv. Def (%) Ohio State
3rd Down Conv. Def (%) 33.3 (29) 42.2 (55) 3rd Down Conv. (%) Ohio State
4th Down Conv. (%) 50.0 (57) 16.7 (4) 4th Down Conv. Def (%) Penn State++
4th Down Conv. Def (%) 75.0 (120) 30.0 (114) 4th Down Conv. (%) Push
Redzone Offense (%) 82.3 (74) 63.2 (3) Redzone Defense (%) Penn State+
Redzone Defense (%) 86.7 (86) 82.6 (73) Redzone Offense (%) Push
 Legend
  Difference <25 in National Rank = Push
  Difference >25 in National Rank = Ohio State
  Difference >50 in National Rank = Ohio State+
  Difference >75 in National Rank = Ohio State++
  Differences >100 in National Rank = Ohio State+++

Stats are grabbed from cfbstats.com

Friday Open Thread: Rutgers

Ohio State gets back into action this Saturday, against the other new member of the Big Ten, welcoming Rutgers to the ‘Shoe.

To the surprise of a lot of people, the newest additions to the Big Ten, Maryland and Rutgers, have been more than competent thus far. While Ohio State handled Maryland with relative ease, Rutgers will still pose a viable threat come Saturday afternoon.

Statistically, Ohio State has an edge of Rutgers in most categories, but it’s closer than I had expected. Rutgers has a good pass rush and solid red zone offense.

Ronnie mentioned that pass rush in his Players to Watch post. I think Ohio State’s line should be able to establish the run but should be on the look out for Rutgers pass rush.

Shannon previewed the game here at MotSaG and he sees it as a pretty open-and-shut case, with a Buckeye victory. I think most would agree with that assessment. Ken at the Buckeye Battle Cry is equally optimistic.

I’ll join the chorus of prognosticators calling this one for Ohio State. I say:

Ohio State: 45
Rutgers: 20

What say you?

By The Numbers: Rutgers

As always, presented without comment.

Statistically Speaking
Ohio State
Value (Rank)
Value (Rank)
Rutgers
Advantage
Rushing Offense (ypg) 247.0 (18) 135.0 (44) Rushing Defense (ypg) Ohio State
Passing Offense (ypg) 276.6 (35) 261.7 (100) Passing Defense (ypg) Ohio State+
Pass Efficiency 183.5 (2) 131.5 (79) Pass Efficiency Defense Ohio State++
Total Offense (ypg) 523.6 (12) 396.7 (70) Total Defense (ypg) Ohio State+
Scoring Offense (ppg) 44.6 (5) 21.7 (43) Scoring Defense (ppg) Ohio State
Rushing Defense (ypg) 135.6 (45) 159.2 (75) Rushing Offense (ypg) Ohio State
Passing Defense (ypg) 178.8 (13) 267.5 (36) Passing Offense (ypg) Push
Pass Efficiency Defense 112.4 (28) 166.9 (4) Pass Efficiency Offense Push
Total Defense (ypg) 314.4 (14) 426.7 (57) Total Offense (ypg) Ohio State
Scoring Defense (ppg) 20.8 (31) 29.5 (71) Scoring Offense (ppg) Ohio State
Turnover margin +0.60 (28) -0.33 (90) Turnover margin Ohio State+
Penalty Yards/game 50.2 (52) 55.5 (64) Penalty Yards/game Push
Sacks (/game) 2.40 (68) 1.33 (28) Sacks Allowed (/game) Rutgers
Sacks Allowed (/game) 2.60 (74) 4.00 (3) Sacks (/game) Rutgers+
3rd Down Conv. (%) 48.4 (14) 42.1 (85) 3rd Down Conv. Def (%) Ohio State+
3rd Down Conv. Def (%) 35.8 (44) 42.3 (60) 3rd Down Conv. (%) Push
4th Down Conv. (%) 44.4 (83) 28.6 (16) 4th Down Conv. Def (%) Rutgers+
4th Down Conv. Def (%) 100.0 (127) 50.0 (55) 4th Down Conv. (%) Rutgers+
Redzone Offense (%) 82.1 (72) 75.0 (26) Redzone Defense (%) Rutgers
Redzone Defense (%) 91.7 (109) 90.5 (26) Redzone Offense (%) Rutgers++
 Legend
  Difference <25 in National Rank = Push
  Difference >25 in National Rank = Ohio State
  Difference >50 in National Rank = Ohio State+
  Difference >75 in National Rank = Ohio State++
  Differences >100 in National Rank = Ohio State+++

Stats are grabbed from cfbstats.com