ANALYSIS: 5 takeaways from Ohio State’s 42-35 win over Indiana

Buckeyes gain over 600 yards but yield nearly 500

Ohio State remained unbeaten with a 42-35 win over Indiana on Saturday.

The game was tighter than the oddsmakers expected but befitting of a clash between top 10 teams with control of the Big Ten East on the line.

“Really excited to be 4-0,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. “Coming off the bye week there and looking back on everything we’ve been through the last four months, to be 4-0 and in first place in the Big Ten East (is) a big, big deal. I couldn’t be prouder of this team.”

Here are five things to know about the game:

1. Ohio State got its running game in gear.

Although the third-ranked Buckeyes showed off a high-powered offense in the first three games, there was some concern about the traditional strength of the Scarlet and Gray: Running the ball.

Saturday they hit the 300-yard mark — exceeding their season average by roughly 50 percent — with a three-headed monster.

Master Teague III led the way with 169 yards on 26 carries while fellow running back Trey Sermon added 60 yards on nine carries.

“Overall I felt like I got into a good groove and was able to make big plays and help the team to a big victory,” Teague said.

Quarterback Justin Fields ran for 78 yards on 15 carries, including five sacks.

“When I’m not picking up the offense other players have to pick me up, so I think Master, Trey and those other running backs did a great job running north and south and being physical with the other teams,” Fields said. “They helped me out a lot.”

2. Fields had an up and down day throwing the ball.

The powerful ground game was needed because Fields wasn’t at his best.

The Heisman Trophy candidate entered the day with only 11 incomplete passes and no interceptions on the season but logged 12 and three of those, respectively, against a stingy Hoosiers defense.

Fields still finished with 300 yards passing and a pair of scores, but he has set a high bar when it comes to performance.

“Overall I thought he played really guts and made some big-time throws,” Day said.

He noted the first interception was a bad read by Fields and said he tried to force balls into coverage on the other two, but the coach also noted Indiana was playing aggressively.

“They were blitzing every snap, so we knew there were going to be some negative plays and some big plays and that’s how it played out,” Day said.

3. Michael Penix Jr. had a near-historic day.

The Indiana quarterback threw for 491 yards, the third-most passing yards for an Ohio State opponent in one game and the most since Jim Everett threw for 497 for Purdue in 1985.

He threw five touchdown passes but also gave up an interception to Shaun Wade that was returned for a touchdown in the third quarter.

The record for passing yards against Ohio State remains 621 by Dave Wilson of Illinois in 1980 followed by Scott Campbell of Purdue (526 in ’81).

His top target was Ty Fryfogle, who had 218 yards on seven receptions and scored three touchdowns. Only Sammy Watkins of Clemson (227 in the 2014 Orange Bowl) and Chris Moore of Cincinnati (221 in 2014) have had more receiving yards against the Buckeyes.

“I’d have to go back and really watch the film,” Wade replied when asked what went wrong for the OSU secondary. “They’ve got great receivers over there. We’e got good DBs. At the end of the day, they made their plays. We made ours. That’s just how it goes.”

4. Ohio State had another disappointing second half.

Indiana trailed 28-7 at halftime and 35-7 after giving up an early touchdown in the third quarter, but the Hoosiers ended up outscoring the Buckeyes 28-14 after intermission.

That came after the Buckeyes were also lackluster in the second half of their last game against Rutgers two weeks ago.

“The second half, it’s not just the secondary, it’s the whole defense and the whole offense,” Wade said. “In the second half, I don’t know what it is, but we’ve got to figure it out, especially in big games with competition just like we played right now.”

5. The Buckeyes still gained control of the Big Ten East.

Ohio State is the only unbeaten team left in the division with three weeks left in the regular season.

No. 9 Indiana fell into a second-place tie with Maryland, who has not played the past two weeks because of COVID-19 cases in the program.

If Ohio State wins out, the Buckeyes will go to the Big Ten Championship game for the fourth straight year and go for their fourth straight title with hopes of also making the College Football Playoff.

“I think when you get into a game like this, emotions run high, but most people don’t know the sacrifices these guys have made,” Day said. “They haven’t seen their families in months. When they leave the facility, they’re isolated in their room and not allowed to go anywhere because of this virus.

“This family has stuck together, and we said going into this game we just had to figure out a way to win this game. That’s all that matters is that you win. That’s how we were all brought up playing sports. You win the game, that’s it.”

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