Week 6 Big Ten CFB Picks: Indiana Hoosiers at (3) Ohio St. Buckeyes

Indiana at Ohio State
Time: 3 PM CT
Spread: OSU -26.5
Total: 64.5

Odds c/o 5dimes

Ohio State suffered a close scare last week against No. 9 Penn State, but it emerged one-point victors to improve its mark to 5-0 and its ranking to No. 3 in the nation. This week the Buckeyes face lowly Indiana as 26.5-point favorites at 3 PM (CT) on FOX. The over/under is set at 64.5 points, but this is one that could easily exceed that mark given Urban Meyer’s propensity to punish his conference foes long after the game has been decided.

OSU

Ohio State is mostly gearing up for its playoff run, and it will not face a ranked opponent again until Nov. 10 when it faces Michigan State. In typical fashion, the Buckeyes close the season against its top-rival, NO. 15 Michigan. In the time between those matchups, however, it faces the bottom feeders of the Big Ten, games like this week, in which the Buckeyes main concern is not just winning, but winning “big.”

The Buckeyes are again having a statically dominant season: OSU ranks No. 6 in scoring at 49 points per game while giving up just 18.8 per game. Its pass offense is a tad bit ahead of its rush attack, but its ground game is far from weak. OSU ranks No.7 in passing yardage (346.6 per game) and No. 34 in rushing offense (210.4 per game), but how Meyer seeks to balance this versatile team against the top opponents is still something of a bit of guesswork. Let us delve closer into last week’s matchup, OSU’s only game of the season against a top-10 opponent.

Ohio State trailed by six points at the half, but it out-scored the Nittany Lions 20-13 in the final two quarters. Dwayne Haskins threw a pair of TD passes in the final seven minutes of the game, as OSU overcame what had stretched to a 12-point deficit before rallying to win. It did show, however, that Meyer will rely heavily on the arm of Haskins should it fall behind this season.

He completed 22 of 39 passes for 270 yards, three TDs, but with one interception. He also averaged only 6.9 yards per completion, while the OSU ground game was mostly stifled.

The Buckeyes managed just 3.2 yards-per-carry; and, J.K. Dobbins only ran for 57 yards on his 17 attempts (Though he did score a touchdown). Mike Weber was more effective in fewer carries, with 51 yards on nine attempts. Haskins did little good, rushing for just eight yards on his four attempts.

It showed, if anything, the Buckeyes will turn to its pass offense against the stronger teams. That is undoubtedly something the top teams (which it will not face in the regular season) duly noted in preparation for the postseason, which OSU almost assuredly will be a part of once again.

IND

Indiana is improved this year, but it still hardly stacks up to the Buckeyes. Sporting a somewhat deceiving 4-1 record, the Hoosiers are still just 5th in the Big Ten. It knocked off conference foe Rutgers 24-17 a week ago, but it has lost its only matchup against an AP-ranked opponent, with its week 4 loss to Michigan State. Indiana’s strength is its defense, a unit which holds its opponents to just 21.2 points per game, ranking No. 41 in the nation. The offensive struggles might be overstated, but Indiana does rank middle-of-the-pack in both its rush and pass offense. Its overall scoring lingers slightly behind at No. 73, as the Hoosiers score 29.4 points per game,

Peyton Ramsey has been a bit of a mixed bag at quarterback. On one hand, his 71 percent completion ratio ranks as excellent— but he is averaging just 6.41 yards per attempt and has already thrown five interceptions. He is a decent rusher at 3.3 yards-per-carry and ranks No. 2 on the team in total rushing yards (170). The Hoosiers do most of its ground-work with Stevie Scott.

He has attempted nearly half the team’s total rushing attempts with 97 carries for 464 yards. He also leads the team in rushing TDs with four, though Indiana has aired it out more to get to the end zone: The Hoosiers have nine receiving TDs and six players with 100-plus receiving yards on the season.

Overall, improvement has certainly come for this program, but to say it is outclassed by the Meyer dynasty at Ohio State is a gross understatement—there is simply no comparison and even a 26.5 point spread might not be gratuitous enough to fully cover what OSU is capable of when it runs up the score. Bettors beware.

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