Schedule preview: Indiana
After Spartans and Huskers to open Big Ten, division opener could be breather
Ohio State at Indiana
Oct. 13, at Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, Ind. (kickoff and TV TBA)
About the Hoosiers
2011 record: 1-11 (0-8 Big Ten)
Ohio State all-time against Indiana: Buckeyes lead series 68-12-5
Last year: Ohio State held serve at home and continued its dominance in the series, knocking off Indiana 34-20 thanks to a pair of explosive touchdown runs from Braxton Miller, including one of 81 yards.
Top Hoosiers returners: QB Tre Roberson, RB Stephen Houston, WR Kofi Hughes, WR Jamonne Chester, C Will Matte, OL Bernard Taylor, OL Collin Rahrig, DE Bobby Richardson, DT Adam Replogle, DT Larry Black Jr., DE Ryan Phillis, LB Chase Hoobler, DB Mark Murphy, CB Greg Heban, CB Lawrence Barnett
Key losses: WR Dre Muhammed, TE Max Dedmond, OL Andrew McDonald, OL Justin Pagan, LB Jeff Thomas, LB Leon Backum, DB Chris Adkins
2011 statistical leaders (* denotes returners)
Rushing: Houston* (802 yards, 8 touchdowns)
Passing: Ed Wright-Baker (1,029 yards, 4 touchdowns, 4 interceptions)
Receiving: Hughes* (35 receptions, 536 yards, 3 touchdowns)
Tackles: Thomas (80)
Sacks: Replogle* (4)
Interceptions: Heban* (2)
What they're saying: "I will say this -- the record is not near what it can be, should be. I'm personally embarrassed, and if we're going to win this year significantly and make strides, the first thing that happens is I have to coach and our coaches have to coach better." -- Indiana coach Kevin Wilson, at Big Ten media days
Three things to watch
1. Deep breath: Compared to the opening two games in the league and the huge historical edge against the Hoosiers, certainly the possibility for the Buckeyes to catch their breath and regroup exists. New coach Urban Meyer has hinted strongly recently that he doesn't believe motivation is going to be a problem with Ohio State this fall, and they'll have a chance to prove it by treating every game the same -- including the visit to Indiana, which has been almost like a home game in recent years because OSU fans buy up the tickets.
2. Miller mania: The athleticism that can make a jaw drop had already been on display previously in Braxton Miller's freshman campaign, though a quarterback breaking off an 81-yard touchdown run offered another reminder of what he can do with the football in his hands. Miller didn't have many chances to air it out last year against the Hoosiers, but keeping it on the ground worked out just fine for him then, and he figures to be even more difficult to contain now.
3. Experience counts: The Hoosiers certainly took their lumps defensively in Kevin Wilson's first season, allowing more than 37 points per game and making it far too difficult for the offense to keep up the pace. Many of those responsible for that mess are returning to clean it up, as eight starters are back in the fold for Indiana. That effort figures to start in the trenches, where the entire defensive line has previous experience on the first team.