Run Defense Will Prevent Upset for Indiana Hoosiers vs Ohio State Buckeyes
Last season, the Indiana Hoosiers pushed the Ohio State Buckeyes to the limit in Bloomington and nearly shocked the world before falling 52-49 in 2012. This season, the Hoosiers would like to finish the job in Columbus and be the first team to defeat an Urban Meyer Buckeyes squad and keep their hopes of getting bowl eligible alive for another week. Unfortunately for Indiana, their porous run defense will keep them from getting anywhere close to pulling off the upset this Saturday.
In an effort to pile on some style points for the BCS, Ohio State has turned things up to another level offensively in recent weeks. Over the last three games, Ohio State has scored 179 points, a school record for any three-game span, thanks to the explosion of their running game behind a dominating offensive line. Carlos Hyde has broken out for 504 yards and six rushing touchdowns over that three-game explosion, including 246 of the school-record 441 rushing yards gained against the Illinois Fighting Illini last week.
While Ohio State’s running game has been finding its rhythm, the Indiana run defense has been falling apart. They rank as the fourth-worst rush defense in the Big Ten this season, allowing 251.1 rushing yards per game, and are coming off an embarrassing showing against the Wisconsin Badgers when they surrendered 554 yards on the ground, including seven runs of 30 yards or more. Head coach Kevin Wilson blamed it on a combination of the team’s youth, ability and a rash of missed assignments. That’s a bad recipe for heading into Columbus.
Indiana has an offense that could make them dangerous, ranking second only to Ohio State in the Big Ten in scoring. But their complete inability to defend the run will make it impossible for the Hoosiers to hang with Ohio State. Does Indiana have any answers to plug up the holes in their defense?