October 3, 2009

OSU rushing attack bucks Hoosiers, 33-14

A steady stream of fans sporting red and white gear filed in to Memorial Stadium on Saturday night, but only a few of the season-high 51,500 in attendance remained for the game's final snap.

Ohio State (4-1, 2-0 Big Ten) used a balanced rushing yards to pound the Hoosier defense early and often to put Indiana (3-2, 0-2) in a quick hole. IU was never able to fully recover as the team dropped its second straight conference game, 33-14.

Just 7:30 into the first quarter, the OSU running game was hitting on all cylinders. The Buckeyes had already tallied 100 yards on the ground, most notably from running back Brandon Saine and quarterback Terrelle Pryor. The rushes took its toll on the Indiana D, who would feel its effects later in the game.

"We came out flat and we came out sloppy in the beginning," defensive end [Jamie Kirlew[/db] said. "We were sloppy on special teams, on defense, on offense. And they took advantage of it. When you play a team this good, you almost have to be perfect."

And the Hoosiers were far from perfect, especially stopping the run. Saine finished the game with 113 yards on just 17 carries, averaging nearly seven yards a run. Pryor ran for 63 yards, a number prominently deflated by IU's three sacks/

"We just couldn't get them off the field in the first half," Indiana head coach Bill Lynch said. "They just had the ball too much. The we got behind and we weren't able to run the football. They are just a good football team."

Indiana had little trouble finding running room in the first four games of the season, averaging almost 160 yards per contest. However the quick and physical OSU defense caused running back Darius Willis and company difficulties all night.

The Hoosier rushing attack tallied just 18 yards on 26 attempts after eclipsing 180 yards in their previous three games.

"That's as good a defense as you are going to find in America," Lynch said. "Then you get behind and you do some things you don't want to have to do. The front four just came after us and caused some problems."

Ohio State struck early, taking a 10-0 first quarter lead following a Pryor touchdown pass to Duron Carter. But minutes into the second quarter, the Hoosiers put themselves on the scoreboard when quarterback Ben Chappell found Tandon Doss on the right side of the field. The sophomore wideout made three Buckeye defenders miss before stretching the ball over the end zone line for a score.

The touchdown catch ended Ohio State's two game shutout streak. However, it did little to deflate OSU's potent offense as Pryor answered with a three play, 55-yard scoring drive for a 17-7 lead. Following a Chappell interception later in the quarter, Pryor again did damage through the air. He dumped it off to Zach Boren over the middle for eight yards and a 24-7 lead.

The Buckeyes added a touchdown and safety in the second half to put the game out of reach.

However the Hoosier fans that stuck around the game got a late treat. With 0:06 remaining on the clock, Lynch called the team's first time out of the half, much to the dismay of the Ohio State fans. The Hoosiers capitalized following the stoppage when Chappell found receiver Matt Ernest in the back of the endzone for a touchdown. Nick Freeland's point after cemented the final score, 33-14.

"(The last touchdown) was a little bit of momentum," Chappell said. "We knew we could move the ball. We only hurt ourselves the whole game. We would move it on them a little bit, then go three-and-out. We would just do stuff to hurt ourselves. But like I said, they are a good football team, so you have to give them some credit too."

The touchdown pass capped off a rough game for Chappell. While he did finish 20-for-34 for 210 yards and two touchdowns, he also threw two interceptions and was sacked three times. After the Hoosiers struggled to sustain any type of ground game, the team was forced to try to break down the OSU defense through the air-a difficult task against a big front line and solid OSU secondary.

"Their D-line was really good and was able to stop the run pretty effectively," Chappell said. "Then once we got behind them, we had to pass and you can't get one dimensional."

The loss drops Indiana to 3-2 and gives the team their first losing streak of the season. However Kirler, a senior captain, is confident that the Hoosiers will be back in time for next week's game at Virginia.

"Everybody knew we weren't playing our ball today in the first half. The second half was better, but it still wasn't us," Kirlew said. "Ohio State is a great team, but we come in every game to win. I think it's time to get together to talk and get back on the right track. (We need) to get our mind set and play our football. We need to play strong the rest of the season…We need to put these games behind us and play practice-by-practice and take it day-by-day."

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