Hey guys. It’s Ohio State week. Where pretty much anything that happens, MINUS INJURIES, doesn’t matter. It doesn’t take away from the fact that Indiana just knocked off a ranked team, has an improved defense, has an offense yet to meet its potential, and is in a great position to make a bowl again.
Ohio State is really good, even by Ohio State standards. They are ranked 1st nationally in a slew of categories. So many that they are ranked 1st in each of our over/under picks.
1. Indiana rushing TDs – Over/Under 0.5
The Hoosiers are tied with Miami (OH) for the fewest rushing touchdowns in the nation with 2. That is a far cry from last season when Indiana ranked 38th nationally with 27 touchdowns. Unfortunately this may not be the best weekend to get back on track. Ohio State is the only team that has not allowed a rushing touchdown all season. They rank 7th in rush defense S&P+ whereas Indiana’s rush offense ranks 51st.
2. Indiana average starting field position – Over/Under 26.49
Ohio State’s opponents have averaged the worst starting field position in the nation at the 22.3 yard line.[ref]Meaning Ohio State’s defense ranks 1st in opponent starting field position[/ref] It would be one thing if one of the best defense’s in America had to deal with short fields on a regular basis. But, so far, they have not.[ref]One of the benefits of an offense that can pick up some first downs.[/ref] Indiana’s offense has enjoyed relatively average starting field position at the 29.9 yard line. If Indiana can generate some turnovers in Ohio State territory, it would greatly help the chances of an over here.
3. Indiana points scored – Over/Under 19.5
Indiana is averaging just[ref]By Indiana standards[/ref] 29 points per game, down from 36.5 last year. The biggest reason, in my opinion, has been the difficulty in finishing drives. The Hoosiers rank 116th nationally at 3.74 points per scoring opportunity compared to the 4.95 they averaged last year. They’ve averaged 8 scoring opportunities per game in 2016 which multiplied by the 1.21 point scoring differential is 9.7 points per game. On the flip side, Ohio State has allowed the fewest points per game in the nation at 9.3 points per game. They have allowed 10 points to Bowling Green, 3 to Tulsa, 24 to Oklahoma, and 0 to Rutgers.
4. Ohio State opportunity rate – Over/Under 45.4%
Opportunity rate measures the percent of a team’s rushes that go for 5+ yards. The Buckeyes lead the nation at 54.3%[ref]Compare that to Indiana’s opportunity rate of 40.1%.[/ref] Even against Oklahoma their opportunity rate was 53%. Those are some major chuck plays. On the other side, Indiana has done quite well in slowing down the opponent’s rushing game. The Hoosiers are 15th nationally in opportunity rate at 31.2%. That is a huge improvement over last year’s 37.3% and one of the reasons, along with fewer big plays allowed, that IU has allowed 56 rushing yards per game less in 2016.
5. Ohio State points per scoring opportunity – Over/Under 5.79
While the Indiana offense has struggled in this area, the Buckeyes have had no such troubles. Ohio State has averaged a mind-boggling 6.71 points per scoring opportunity, scoring a touchdown nearly each time. This is probably why OSU kicker Tyler Durbin has only attempted 4 field goals. Indiana’s defense has been solid in not breaking, averaging 4.35 points per opportunity to rank 49th. However, it will be a challenge to slow down the juggernaut. If the starting average field position over/under could be decided by a forced turnover in Ohio State territory, this one could come down to a forced turnover deep in Buckeye territory.[ref]Attn: Marcus Oliver[/ref]
6. Ohio State 3rd down conversion % – Over/Under 45.1%
Ohio State tops the FBS with a 57% 3rd down conversion rate. They are dominant on standard downs with a 66% success rate[ref]Ranking 1st again…[/ref] but have managed just a 28% success rate on passing downs. Therefore, if Indiana can force Ohio State into 3rd and longs, it will probably go to the overs. But if Ohio State can get down into 3rd and 4 or shorter, Indiana could have trouble getting off the field. Indiana has been great at getting off the field, with a 34% 3rd down conversion rate allowed. The Hoosiers have allowed a 3rd conversion on 45% of standard downs and a 31% rate on passing downs.
7. Ohio State punt average – Over/Under 45.99
Ohio State Cameron Johnston isn’t even listed in the punting ranks because he’s only punted 11 times all season. As Kevin Wilson said, why would you go to Ohio State if you’re a punter? Regardless, Johnston has averaged 50.64 yards per punt which would rank 1st if he had more punts. Obviously as a team, the Buckeyes are #1 so far. Johnston averaged 44 yards as a freshman, 45 as a sophomore, and 44 as a junior.
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