COLUMBUS – The Ohio State Buckeyes (9-0/6-0) hosted the visiting Indiana Hoosiers (3-6/1-5) on a chilly mid-November Saturday afternoon for a Big Ten Conference contest. The game was Ohio State’s annual Military Appreciation Game.
OSU came into the game on a 10-game winning streak dating to the 2022 Rose Bowl win over Utah. The Buckeyes also held a 26-game winning streak against the Hoosiers ahead of Saturday’s contest.
Notably, Jaxon Smith-Njigba and TreVeyon Henderson were inactive for the game due to injuries.
Indiana won the coin toss and elected to defer. Both teams traded three-and-outs to begin the game, before Ohio State put together a six-play, 65-yard drive that ended with a six-yard touchdown pass from C.J. Stroud to Emeka Egbuka. The extra point made it 7-0 with 9:42 remaining in the first quarter.
The Buckeye defense forced another quick punt and turned it into another touchdown, this one a 14-yard run by Dallan Hayden. Noah Ruggles’ kick gave OSU a 14-point lead.
Ohio State’s defense stood tough yet again, forcing another punt that the Buckeye offense was able to capitalize on. The third touchdown of the first quarter for OSU came on a 58-yard pass from Stroud to Marvin Harrison Jr. The PAT extended the lead to 21 with 2:37 remaining in quarter number one.
Indiana made a change at quarterback in an attempt to provide some life to the offense, benching Connor Bazelak for Dexter Williams II. Williams provided a spark indeed, running for 16-yards on his first play in the game and then completing a 49-yard pass to get the Hoosiers deep into Buckeye territory on his third play of the game. Three plays later, Williams found tight end A.J. Barner for a seven-yard touchdown. The PAT made it 21-7 with just four seconds to play in the first quarter.
Early in the second quarter, OSU running back Miyan Williams broke free for a 49-yard touchdown, much to the delight of the home crowd at Ohio Stadium. The extra point was good, making it 28-7 with 10:41 remaining in the half.
Neither team was able to add to their total over the next 10 minutes, making the halftime score: Ohio State 28, Indiana 7.
The big story of the first half involving Miyan Williams wasn’t his electric touchdown run, it was a lower leg injury he suffered late in the second quarter. Williams had to be helped off the field and was later carted to the locker room.
Ohio State outscored Indiana 28-7 in the second half, cruising to a 56-14 victory. The second half scores for the Buckeyes included two touchdown passes from Stroud to Stover, a 71-yard run by Xavier Johnson, and an emotional eight-yard touchdown pass from Stroud to Kamryn Babb.
Babb, a captain for the Buckeyes, has had four ACL surgeries over the years and this was his first career catch and touchdown as a Buckeye.
Statistically for Ohio State, Stroud completed 17 of 28 passes for 297 yards, 5 touchdowns and no interceptions, earning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors for his efforts. Harrison Jr. caught seven passes for 135 yards and one touchdown, Stover caught three passes for 45 yards and two touchdowns, Xavier Johnson caught two passes for 47 yards, and Egbuka caught two passes for 38 yards and a touchdown. Miyan Williams led the ground attack with 147 yards on 15 carries, with a touchdown, before his early exit, Dallan Hayden carried the ball 19 times for 102 yards and one touchdown.
Defensively, Lathan Ransom stood out with nine tackles, one and a half sacks, one and a half tackles for loss, and a blocked punt. Steele Chambers was the leading tackler with ten, followed by Eichenberg with seven. In total, the defense had four sacks and forced twelve punts, eight of the twelve coming from three-play drives.
OSU head coach Ryan Day spoke about Kamryn Babb’s big moment.
“This is somebody that has overcome four ACL surgeries. That’s nine months recovery times four. So that’s a long time to be in recovery, not being able to do something that you love. With what had happened the last time, there’s a lot of questions on whether you want to do it – he did it. He never batted an eye, said that’s what I want to do. He put his faith in God and felt like this was his journey. What happened today in this stadium was magical. It’s one of the reasons why you coach – to see something like that happen. Hopefully there’s somebody else out there that’s going through tough times that can see that as a motivation to overcome. Because it’s one thing to see that little bit right there but it’s all the morning workouts he had with Adam Stewart. It’s all the mornings waking up on crutches. It’s the disappointment because that’s not what you picture when you graduate high school and sign with Ohio State. I just can’t say enough about it, because there will be great wins and there’ll be great accomplishments here at Ohio State, but what he’s overcome is one of the great accomplishments and it’s not something that people will see.”
Babb also spoke about the touchdown.
“The past five years, that’s always what’s been a dream of mine: that whenever I catch a touchdown, whatever it is, to get on my knees, and give it to Him; to Jesus Christ. That’s the only hope that I truly have. I love football, I love what you can do for so many people that you know. It is a world with a whole bunch of stuff going on and so many people need hope. So, if I could give and shine, the light that Jesus had given me, give that to others. I think that was my responsibility. So that moment has kind of been in my mind for the past five years.”
Indiana head coach Tom Allen spoke after the loss.
“Obviously, with all the play-makers they have, the run-pass conflicts they put a team in, there was a concern going in. We didn’t fit their run. Obviously not very close to what was acceptable, so we’re disappointed in that regard. D-line has to play better; linebackers have to play better and finish tackles better. It was the front seven I put it on more than everybody. They have to step up.”
Indiana fell to 3-7 with the loss and will travel to Michigan State (5-5) next week with a 12 p.m. kickoff.
Ohio State moves to 10-0 with the win and will travel to Maryland next week to take on the Terrapins (6-4). Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. for this contest.