COLUMBUS – Ever since Ohio State’s thrilling come-from-behind win at Penn State last Saturday night it has felt like there has been more talk about a team that is not even on OSU’s schedule than there has been about the one it’s playing today.
The Buckeyes are playing Indiana. But it’s Iowa a lot of people want to talk about.
A year ago, just like last Saturday night, Ohio State put together a huge comeback in the fourth quarter to beat Penn State by one point.
Then the next Saturday it went to Iowa and did a massive face plant into the turf of Kinnick Stadium and lost 55-24 to the Hawkeyes.
So there has been much discussion, probably way too much discussion about Ohio State not having a letdown again after a big win against Penn State.
But is there really a reason to do this? Other than its position on the schedule is Indiana really that similar to Iowa? Should Ohio State fans stop worrying so much?
Here are five reasons why Indiana in 2018 will not be Iowa in 2017:
1. Last year’s Iowa team had much more talent than this year’s Indiana team.
The Hawkeyes had two second-round NFL draft choices (center James Daniels and cornerback Josh Jackson) and a fourth-round pick in linebacker Josey Jewell. They had a two-time 1,000-yard rusher, a quarterback who threw for 26 touchdowns with only six interceptions and a tight end who caught 11 touchdown passes.
2. Last year’s debacle was at Iowa. Indiana has to play at Ohio State today. Ohio State is 37-2 at home since Urban Meyer became head coach in 2012.
3. Last year’s Iowa team had a track record of playing well against big-time opponents. Penn State had to score on the last play of the game on Trace McSorley’s touchdown pass to beat Iowa last year. And many of those Iowa players were on the field for a 2016 win over Michigan.
4. Ohio State’s players don’t need to remember Iowa, they can look back at Indiana in 2017, 2015 and 2014.
Indiana was ahead of then No. 2 Ohio State in the third quarter last year before OSU won 49-21.
In 2015, No. 1-ranked Ohio State was behind at halftime and beat the Hoosiers only 34-27. And in 2014 the No. 6 Buckeyes were behind late in the third quarter before winning 42-27.
5. Ohio State’s players and coaches were watching for a letdown last year following the Penn State win. They almost certainly will be on guard even more this year.
After last year’s loss at Iowa, Meyer said he didn’t sense a letdown during the week leading up to that embarrassment. “I was concerned. I tried to watch it very closely but I didn’t see it. Sometimes I see signs but I didn’t,” he said.
Ohio State has lost to Indiana only twice since 1952 and the last time an Ohio Stadium crowd watched the Buckeyes lose to the Hoosiers was 31 years ago. OSU’s dominance of the series will continue today.
The prediction: Ohio State 42, Indiana 14.