BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Sixth-ranked Ohio State begins Big Ten play against Indiana for the second time in three years Saturday in Bloomington, Ind. Both teams opened with two wins over nonconference opponents, but the level of competition will be much greater for Indiana this week after beating Ball State and FCS Eastern Illinois.
TV: Noon ET, FOX. LINE: Ohio State -16.5
Ohio State has dominated the series with a 75-12-5 record and isn't expected to have a problem extending its winning streak over Indiana to 24 straight since a 27-27 tie in 1990. The Buckeyes and sophomore quarterback Justin Fields will be going on the road for the first time this year, but Indiana's Memorial Stadium is not exactly a intimidating venue, especially considering coach Ryan Day and his players likely will see a huge contingent of their fans in the stands. Fields has played up to the huge expectations that followed the Georgia transfer to Ohio State, accounting for nine touchdowns (six passing, three rushing) in two games while completing 76 percent of his passes for 458 yards with no interceptions. Indiana's quarterback, freshman Michael Penix Jr., has shown similar ability as a passer (38-for-60, 523 yards, three touchdowns) and as a runner (nine carries for 79 yards).
ABOUT INDIANA (2-0)
The Hoosiers bring a healthy dose of confidence into Saturday's game after winning their first two this season and knowing they challenged Ohio State last year before the Buckeyes pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 49-26 victory. Indiana needs running back Stevie Scott III, an 1,137-yard rusher as a freshman in 2018, to get going after running for 109 yards in two games this year, but that won't be easy against an Ohio State defense that allows 64.5 yards per game on the ground. Indiana's defense posted its third shutout last week in three seasons under coach Tom Allen, but Ohio State's offensive skill will be on a completely different level this week, possibly as good as last year when first-round NFL draft pick Dwayne Haskins Jr. passed for 455 yards and the Buckeyes racked up 609 total yards.
ABOUT OHIO STATE (2-0)
Big things were expected this season from defensive end Chase Young and running back J.K. Dobbins, and both have produced in the first two games. Young is tied for eighth in the FBS with three sacks totaling 28 yards in losses as one of the leaders of the Silver Bullets' defense. Dobbins has rushed for 232 yards on 38 carries (6.1-yard average, three touchdowns) and the junior could get more carries this week against Indiana's untested defense.
1. Ohio State carries the nation's second-longest winning streak at eight games into Saturday, trailing only Clemson's 17 in a row.
2. Pass defense was an issue for Ohio State the past two years against Indiana, giving up a combined 742 yards, but the Buckeyes have shown improvement during the first two games this season at 186 passing yards allowed per game with two interceptions.
3. Indiana is 2-0 for the fourth time in five seasons but finished with a losing record each year.
PREDICTION: Ohio State 45, Indiana 20