Ohio State vs. Indiana: Ohio State’s Strong Start to the 2023 Season
Ohio State ranked third in the nation, commenced its 2023 football season with a convincing 23-3 victory over Indiana in the season opener. Nevertheless, while the Buckeyes secured a win, their fans were left wanting more from their typically explosive offense. The team struggled to finish drives, resulting in two touchdowns during the game.
However, it’s worth noting that a win is a win, and this triumph extended Ohio State’s impressive streak of 29 consecutive victories over the Hoosiers. This streak dates back to the 1988 season, marking Indiana’s last win against OSU. Here’s an overview of what we observed during Saturday’s season opener:
Update on the Quarterback Battle Ohio State vs. Indiana
Kyle McCord started as the official quarterback, but we also saw Devin Brown in action in a backup role. Head coach Ryan Day confirmed that the quarterback competition is ongoing despite McCord receiving the majority of snaps. McCord completed 20 33 passes for 239 yards, with no touchdowns and an interception. He connected effectively with Cade Stover (98 yards) and Julian Fleming (58 yards), while Marvin Harrison, Jr. and Emeka Egbuka contributed 34 yards combined.
As expected, there were a few errors, including a fourth-down attempt where McCord threw across his body into traffic, resulting in an interception. Another throw, though gaining yards to Fleming, missed the opportunity for a potential touchdown as Carnell Tate was open near the end zone.
As the game progressed, McCord exhibited growing confidence in the pocket and adapted well. While there is room for improvement, his performance notably improved as the offensive playbook gradually expanded, a strategy Day may continue to use to utilize the quarterback’s potential fully.
Ohio State vs. Indiana Offensive Line Challenges
As anticipated due to some departures to the NFL, Ohio State’s offensive line is a work in progress. Some of McCord’s early struggles could be attributed to the protection provided by the offensive line. Although the line prevented any sacks, it allowed five tackles for loss and appeared disorganized against some of Indiana’s blitz packages.
A more significant concern was the run blocking throughout the game. The Buckeyes averaged 4.6 yards per carry on the ground, but their running backs struggled to find consistent running lanes inside, often encountering Hoosier tacklers who were largely unchallenged. Ohio State converted just 2 of 12 third-down attempts.
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Ohio State vs. Indiana: Early Observations on Defense
Ohio State displayed a solid defensive performance in the season opener, although it’s important to consider the caliber of the opponent. Indiana heavily relied on the ground game and option attack, which Ohio State’s front seven managed to contain. However, the unit recorded only six tackles for loss and a single sack, which was less than expected against this level of competition.
With Indiana primarily sticking to the ground game, Ohio State’s secondary wasn’t thoroughly tested to assess its progress. The secondary had been a concern late in the previous season, but early reviews, especially for the cornerbacks, have been positive. Denzel Burke deflected two passes, and Josh Proctor made a crucial stop on fourth down.
A more comprehensive evaluation will be possible in two weeks when Ohio State faces Western Kentucky. This offense ranked in the top 15 nationally over the last two seasons and features quarterback Austin Reed, who threw for nearly 4,800 yards and 40 touchdowns last year.
Ohio State returns to the Horseshoe for their 2023 home opener against Youngstown State. The Buckeyes have a perfect 2-0 record against them, outscoring their opponent 81 to 6.