After a pair of decisive wins, Ohio State football will begin Big Ten conference play this week with a trip to Bloomington, Ind., to face Indiana.
Before the Buckeyes and Hoosiers, who are also 2-0 on the young season, clash in a noon kickoff on Fox, here are four things to know about Ohio State’s next opponent and a series that dates back to 1901.
1. Indiana is 2-0 with wins over Ball State and Eastern Illinois.
So far, coach Tom Allen’s team has taken care of business with a 10-point season-opening win over Ball State (34-24) and a 52-0 whitewashing of Eastern Illinois.
The Hoosiers entered the season projected to be the No. 51 team in the country by Football Outsiders S&P+. That would make them the seventh-best team on Ohio State’s schedule, seven spots behind Cincinnati (a 42-0 loser at Ohio Stadium on Saturday) and 12 above defending Big Ten West champion Northwestern.
The Hoosiers have moved up to 40th with their 2-0 start while Ohio State is No. 5.
2. The Hoosiers return nine starters on each side of the ball from last season, but there have been some changes (including at quarterback).
Offensive linemen Simon Stepaniak of Ross High School and fellow senior A’Shon Riggins (Hamilton) are among the returning starters from last season
Stepaniak started the first two games, but Riggins came off the bench in Indiana’s opener and did not play last week.
Peyton Ramsey, a junior from Cincinnati Elder, started all 12 games last season and four the year before, but he has been supplanted by redshirt freshman Michael Penix Jr.
A 6-3, 202-pounder from Tampa, Fla., Penix has completed 38 of 60 passes for 523 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions on the season. He also has 79 yards rushing.
He has a deep receiving corps that consists of 6-4 senior Donavan Hale, 6-3 senior Nick Westbrook and 5-11 junior Whop Philyor. Sophomore tight end Peyton Hendershot (6-4, 255) is second on the team with nine catches for 121 yards and a touchdown.
3. The Buckeyes have more wins against Indiana than any other school.
Ohio State leads 75-12-5 including a 38-10 win in 2010 that was vacated due to NCAA infractions. (Illinois is second at 69).
This is despite Indiana dominating the beginning of the series.
The Hoosiers won five of the first six games against the Buckeyes, and the other was a tie in 1902.
Things have been a lot different since Babe Ruth made his major-league debut for the Red Sox and World War I began in Europe, however.
The Buckeyes finally got their first win in the series in 1914, and Indiana has only seven wins against Ohio State in the 104 years since.
4. Ohio State had a first-year head coach the last time the Hoosiers beat the Buckeyes.
That was 1988 when one of the best Hoosiers squads in memory met up with one of the worst teams from Ohio State.
The result was not pretty for John Cooper’s kids, who were thoroughly whipped 41-7 one season after Earle Bruce’s last team lost 31-10 at Ohio Stadium. (Bruce famously dubbed this “the darkest day in program history.”)
The ‘88 Buckeyes ended up 4-6-1 on the season, the first losing campaign since they were 4-5 in 1966 and one of only three losing seasons since 1960.
Indiana went 8-3-1 that season and its 5-3 conference record was good for fifth in the Big Ten one season after the Hoosiers tied for second in the conference with an 8-4 overall record and 6-2 conference mark.
The Hoosiers have had five winning seasons since 1989, the most recent coming in 2007 when they were 7-6.
Bonus note: Ohio State’s game against Miami University has a start time.
The school announced Monday morning the Buckeyes and RedHawks will kick off at 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 21 at Ohio Stadium. Big Ten Network will handle the telecast.
Bonus note No. 2: Ohio State’s Drue Chrisman is the Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week.
The Cincinnati LaSalle grad picked up his first such honor after pinning Cincinnati inside the 5-yard line twice in Ohio State’s win over the Bearcats.
He averaged 43.0 yards per punt and is the first Buckeye to receive this honor since Cameron Johnston (also a punter) in late September 2015.
The conference’s defensive player of the week went to a name that will be familiar to Buckeye fans: Antoine Winfield Jr. was tapped after snagging a game-sealing interception for Minnesota in a win over Fresno State. He also had a sack in the game.
His father, Antoine Winfield Sr., was a four-year stand out at Ohio State and won the Thorpe Award in 1998 as the nation’s top defensive back.
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