BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Thoughts from Ohio State’s game at Indiana on Saturday, with the Buckeyes leading 44-7.
* Don’t think I’m alone on this, but C.J. Stroud probably made his best throw of the season in the first half, feathering a 32-yard pass to Jaxon Smith-Njigba over two linebackers and in front of a safety. Early in the year, Stroud wouldn’t have tried a throw like that over the middle, but now he’s taking it with confidence and touch.
* The Buckeyes have found an interesting dime look on third and long. They got a sack late in the half with the look. They had just three defensive linemen on the field, and linebacker/safety hybrid Craig Young on the line of scrimmage as a QB spy. He didn’t rush, but was there if the quarterback took off. The Buckeyes then played six defensive backs and had Steele Chambers as the only linebacker.
With just three-man pressure against five offensive linemen, Zach Harrison beat a double team to force Indiana QB Donaven McCulley to move in the pocket, and J.T. Tuimoloau finished him off for the sack.
That’s a third-and-long look that should continue to cause problems for opponents.
* The Buckeyes often give up an early drive as the defense figures things out. That happened again in this game as the Hoosiers marched for 75 yards on a 15-play touchdown drive. Starting quarterback Jack Tuttle got hurt on the touchdown pass and the Indiana offense was lost after that. The Hoosiers were playing Tuttle because starter Michael Penix is hurt. But the OSU defense also often adjusts after that first drive, and the shutdown of the Indiana offense this time was complete.
* Freshman running back TreVeyon Henderson had 95 yards and three touchdowns on 10 touches in the first half. With his cutting ability and explosiveness, he’s a threat to score almost every time he touches the ball.
* There have been 19 consecutive drives led by Stroud that have ended in touchdowns. That included the six in this first half.
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