Most, if not all, of the questions raised last week about Ohio State football will probably be raised again this week.
Above all, everyone who is interested will continue wondering just how good these Buckeyes can be — and if they will realize that potential.
Also carrying over: A zero in the loss column after the third-ranked Buckeyes beat Indiana 49-26.
“How would I rate it? If I’m Parris Campbell, it’s a hell of game,” said Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, noting the senior receiver who caught nine passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns. “Pass defense, pass rush, no it’s not very good. Knocking people off the ball and running the ball — I don’t think it’s great. I’ve got to watch the videotape. We’re just not consistent in those areas. Those two areas are the problem child right now.”
Ohio State’s win over Indiana bore nearly all the trademarks of the 2018 season so far:
• The passing game was unstoppable.
Dwayne Haskins threw for a career high again, this time totaling 455 yards to fall just shy of Art Schlichter’s school record for a single game.
Haskins did tie the high-water mark for touchdown passes in a game with six, and he had no problem spreading the wealth through a deep corps of receivers.
Five Buckeyes caught at least four passes, and four different Ohio State players had receiving touchdowns.
READ MORE: Buckeyes’ final 2 TDs were a thing of beauty
• The running game was a nice complement.
Mike Weber and J.K. Dobbins combined for 152 yards on 39 carries, solid production but not Earth-shattering efficiency.
Of course, it should be noted the running game has been second-fiddle must of the season not just because of Haskins’ ascendance but because defenses are in many cases still treating Ohio State like a run-first team.
• The defense was disappointing.
Indiana entered Ohio Stadium averaging 28.2 points per game, 81st in the country. They went to the locker room at halftime on pace for 40 thanks to a plethora of big plays in the passing game and one explosive run of 45 yards by Stevie Scott.
Although the Hoosiers managed just six points and 89 yards in the second half, Meyer and defensive coordinator Greg Schiano agreed there was lots of work to do with a secondary that has looked all season like a group trying to replace two starters.
“We’re not coaching well enough and we’re not playing well enough now to meet the standard of Ohio State defense,” Schiano said. “There are a lot of things that go into that, but it’s our job to fix it and that’s what’s going to happen.”
He declined to go into specifics but acknowledged changing personnel, strategy and techniques (both coaching and playing) are on the table.
“We’re 6-0 for a reason, and we have to get better, that’s for sure,” Schiano said.
What’s next for the Buckeyes?
Meyer said Ohio State is not approaching each game like a warmup for the College Football Playoff.
The Buckeyes hope to maximize their performance at every position in order to be playing their best football at the end of the season, though, so perhaps it’s all the same.
Minnesota comes to town next Saturday.
The Golden Gophers are 3-2 after losing 48-31 at home to Iowa on Saturday.
What type of challenge will they present Ohio State?
The same one that figures to be there every week in the second half of the season (at least until Michigan comes to town for the traditional finale on Nov. 24): To get better.
“You guys saw what I saw: At times we played outstanding,” said Meyer, who again lamented the big plays allowed by his defense but expressed confidence in getting those issues worked out.
“We just have to keep working at it. I trust our staff. I trust our players. We’re banged up a little bit, and we’ve got to fight through it, but gotta play better.”
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