It was a potential blowout that came down to the final few drives. Ultimately, Ohio State won 3 of the 5 factors and the game.
Indiana heads to Columbus as the #9 team in the AP poll and a 20.5-point underdog to #3 Ohio State. Vegas expects a blowout, but Indiana has positioned itself to pull off the upset. The Indiana defense is legit as we’ve come to expect under Tom Allen. They’ve been great at forcing their opponent into a mistake. On offense, the Hoosiers have a talented quarterback, a pair of very capable receivers and a tight end that mostly catches the underneath stuff. The pieces are in place but there isn’t a big margin for error.
As such, we’re going to base this week’s lines on Bill Connelly’s Five Factors. Some of the metrics used have been adjusted since Connelly first published them in 2014, but the principles remain the same. As Bill wrote, “the sport comes down to five basic things, four of which you can mostly control. You make more big plays than your opponent, you stay on schedule, you tilt the field, you finish drives, and you fall on the ball. Explosiveness, efficiency, field position, finishing drives, and turnovers are the five factors to winning football games.”
Indiana took care of business against Michigan State meaning the Hoosiers now hold active winning streaks (if you count one game a streak…work with me here) against 9 of the 13 Big Ten opponents. It’s actually 10 of 14 if you include the University of Chicago, a former conference foe who last played the Hoosiers in 1936 with IU coming out on top 20-7. Up next, Indiana can add another team to the list with an upset win at Ohio State.
Indiana heads to East Lansing, the site of Michael Penix’s only loss as a starter at Indiana. The winner gets a container to spit into. If that doesn’t get you excited just rewatch the end of the Penn State game.
Outside some long plays allowed, Indiana dominated this one. They didn’t allow anything on the ground. They were +2 in the turnover battle. Michael Penix looked poised and calm all afternoon. It was a glorious, glorious day in Bloomington.