Ohio State football got all it could handle today. The Buckeyes just couldn’t quite put away a very plucky Indiana team, and wound up with a close 42-35 win.
Indiana is a deserving Top 10 team, so it wasn’t overly shocking to see them give Ohio State a game. The way that the Buckeyes failed to put things away on the defensive end is definitely a concern, especially for a team with national title aspirations.
The Buckeyes were up by as much as 21 with less than a minute left in the third quarter, after Shaun Wade’s Pick Six of Michael Penix Jr. After that play, which put OSU up 42-21, it looked like the Buckeyes might cruise to a pretty comfortable win. Instead, Indiana took the fourth quarter 14-0, scoring on its first two drives of the fourth quarter.
After the game, Ryan Day said he is “really excited to be 4-0,” and that getting this win is “all that matters.” He did admit that the team needs to figure out how to get better at closing out games.
Ryan Day at the postgame podium: “Really excited to be 4-0 … big, big deal. Couldn't be prouder of this team … All that matters is that you win.“
He thought the Buckeyes had great energy in the first half, but have to figure out how to close out games in the second half. pic.twitter.com/X0fWzHHsr0
— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) November 21, 2020
Day, who has been superb since taking over for Urban Meyer, deserves a fair deal of blame in that regard. Up 42-35 with 4:39 left in the game, Day opted to go for it on 4th and 1 from the Indiana 7, going for a dagger touchdown rather than a chip shot field goal to push the lead to 10.
We’ve seen Indiana escape crazy late game situations like that before, but moving the game to two scores that late was definitely the better call. Per Eleven Warriors, he said he doesn’t second-guess himself there, arguing that he didn’t know that 10 points would be enough with how IU was moving the ball.
Ohio State is +77 in scoring differential in four games this year. It is -16 in the fourth quarter, and -30 in the last three fourth quarters against Penn State, Rutgers, and Indiana. Nebraska (+14) is the only team that OSU has outscored in the final quarter of a game this year.