The Ohio State Buckeyes and the Indiana Hoosiers meet on Saturday for the lead in the Big Ten East and to stay alive in the college in the College Football Playoff race. Ohio State enters the top-10 showdown as a 22.5-point favorite with the game total set at 64.5.
Indiana Hoosiers at Ohio State Buckeyes
Date: Saturday, Nov. 21 – 12:00 PM ET
Odds: Ohio State -22.5
Ohio State Buckeyes
The Buckeyes entered the season as the heavy favorite to win the Big Ten, and through three games this season they’ve certainly looked the part, establishing themselves as legitimate national title contenders through their first three games.
Ohio State boasts one of the most lethal and potent passing attacks in the country, led by Heisman Trophy contender Justin Fields. Through three games this season, Fields is averaging more than 300 passing yards per game, completing 72 of 83 passes for 11 touchdowns – throwing just as many touchdowns as incompletions. Fields is throwing to an elite receiving duo, as well, with Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave accounting for five 100-yard receiving games and six touchdowns between them.
The Buckeye defense is not the team’s strength, but it’s certainly not a liability, either. Ohio State has yet to surrender more than 30 points in a game and ranks in the top-40 in terms of total defense, allowing 355 yards per game. It’s nowhere close to the dominant defense the Buckeyes enjoyed last year but coupled with the high-powered offense, it’s reliable enough to allow Ohio State to compete with college football’s best.
Indiana has been one of college football’s biggest surprises so far this season. After upset wins over Penn State and Michigan and decisive victories over Rutgers and Michigan State, the Hoosiers are 4-0 for the first time since 1987 and hold their highest ranking in the AP Poll since 1967.
Much of Indiana’s success on the offensive side of the ball is due to the play of quarterback Michael Penix Jr. In his 10 games as Indiana’s starter going back to last season, Penix is 9-1 and is playing his best football lately, throwing for at least 320 yards in each of his last two games. Meanwhile, wide receiver Ty Fryfogle emerging as Penix’s top target, with 18 catches for 342 yards and three touchdowns in the last two games.
On the other side of the ball, Indiana has a top-20 defense in terms of both total yardage and scoring, which is impressive in its own right, but where the Hoosiers have truly stood out on the defensive side of the ball this is their ability to create interceptions. In just four games, Indiana has intercepted 10 passes, which is by far the most intereceptions per game in the country. AIndiana has forced 12 turnovers in total and lost only four this season to lead the Big Ten in both takeaways and turnover margin.
A big part of Indiana’s success this season has been foring mistakes and capitlizing on them. Unfortunately for the Hoosiers, they’re playing an Ohio State team that does not make mistakes. Fields rarely throw incompletions this year, much less interceptions, and the Buckeye offense has just been too potent for Indiana to keep pace. This game might be close early, but Ohio State will cruise to a victory and a cover.
Pick: Ohio State Buckeyes -22.5