Andrew Holleran / Photo editor
While Ohio State’s football team will be playing under the lights for a second week in a row, the mood surrounding Saturday’s game against Indiana might differ from the one that resonated during last weekend’s 63-38 win against Nebraska.
After back-to-back wins against ranked Big Ten competition vaulted the Buckeyes to No. 8 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll, coach Urban Meyer said he’s concerned that his team might overlook an unranked Hoosiers squad.
It’s an issue that Meyer addressed as a “huge concern” Wednesday night.
“(Indiana) has played better,” Meyer said. “This team took – should’ve – beat Michigan State.”
OSU, which matched its six wins from 2011 last Saturday, will travel to Bloomington, Ind., in just its second road game of the year for an 8 p.m. tilt with the 2-3 Hoosiers.
Making it to 7-0, though, might not come as easily as some have suggested.
Junior running back Carlos Hyde said it’s easy to forget that Indiana nearly beat Michigan State a week after the Buckeyes defeated the Spartans in East Lansing, Mich.
“I don’t try to take any team lightly,” Hyde said. “I mean, you just can’t overlook them. Indiana is a good team. They played Michigan State great, they came out strong against Michigan State, and, you know, we beat Michigan State by a point, you know, they was beating Michigan State all the way into the fourth quarter.”
Likewise, redshirt sophomore cornerback Bradley Roby said the Buckeyes aren’t going to overlook the Hoosiers.
“(Indiana) is a better team than last year and last year we were losing to them for a little while,” Roby said. “We’re not going to take them for granted, we’re gonna go in and gonna make sure we try to make as many plays as early as possible to shut down any momentum they might be able to get.”
OSU beat Indiana 34-20 at Ohio Stadium last season.
Sometimes, Meyer said, wins can be taken for granted and the first-year coach said he’s been guilty of such a charge before.
“It happened with me,” he said, “and it won’t happen again.”
Hall likely out, Barnett back
Meyer said senior running back and captain Jordan Hall likely won’t play in the Buckeyes’ game against Indiana.
“He’s just not full speed,” Meyer said. “(He’s) doubtful for this week.”
Junior safety C.J. Barnett, however, will play, Meyer said.
“(He’s) about full speed,” Meyer said. “He’s playing.”
After redshirt senior linebacker and captain Etienne Sabino left last Saturday’s game against Nebraska with a broken right fibula, Meyer said OSU hasn’t finalized anything yet as to who will be stepping into the vacancy left by the the Miami, Fla., native.
Meyer, though, said freshman linebacker Joshua Perry, who saw substantial action Saturday, is getting better, as is fellow freshman linebacker David Perkins and senior linebacker Storm Klein.
The coach said he went back and “did homework” on the recruitment of linebackers and noticed “out of the last 10 guys (recruited), only two are really playing.”
The depth of OSU’s linebackers, Meyer said, is a concern.
“We got to get some guys going, they got to get going,” he said. “That position is not Ohio State standard right now, not depth-wise.”
Hyde ready for more touches
After toting the ball 28 times for 140 rushing yards and four touchdowns against the Cornhuskers, Hyde said he’s fine carrying a load for the Buckeyes’ offense.
“That’s part of being a running back carrying the ball that many times,” Hyde said. “I’m ready and excited for that.”