Jeff Simpson / The Lantern
When the Ohio State football team travels to Indiana on Saturday night it will mark the 83rd meeting — and first since 2006 — between the two schools in a rivalry that has been dominated by OSU.
However, the Hoosiers have gotten off to a fast 3-1 start on the season, and the Buckeyes know not to overlook them.
“I know they’re excited about their first Big Ten home game,” coach Jim Tressel said. “Our focus, our preparation, our advancement, our progress has got to be straightforward and incremental as we get ready to go on the road in the Big Ten.”
Last time the Buckeyes faced the Hoosiers, Troy Smith threw four touchdowns and Chris “Beanie” Wells ran for one more. The Buckeyes cruised past Indiana 44-3, in a score that shows how OSU has dominated the series since its inception in 1901.
OSU has won the last 14 meetings with the Hoosiers. The last loss for the Buckeyes came 21 years ago in 1988 by a score of 41-7, the most uneven win against OSU in the 108-year-old series.
The Buckeyes have had several long winning streaks during the series, the longest a 23-game stretch between 1960 and 1986. Indiana’s longest streak is four games.
OSU holds the all-time series record of 65-12-5. In Bloomington, Ind., OSU has lost only twice, holding the edge at 23-2-1, and in Columbus the Bucks hold a 42-10-4 record. The closest the Hoosiers have come to a win was a 30-7 loss in 2004.
While OSU has established itself as a national power competing for the Big Ten Championship and National Championship routinely, Indiana has been a middle-of-the-road Big Ten team, struggling at times and winning only two Big Ten titles in school history.
But this season’s Hoosiers are an improvement from the past, under the direction of coach Bill Lynch. In his third year as the Hoosiers’ coach, Lynch is trying to get his team into the postseason for the second time in his tenure.
To earn a bowl berth the Hoosiers need to continue to win, but Lynch knows this week brings a challenge.
“Ohio State has just an outstanding team as usual with very solid special teams play,” Lynch said. “It is a typical coach Tressel team that does not beat themselves.”
OSU’s defense needs to contain a Hoosier’s offense that put up over 400 yards in last week’s heartbreaking loss to Michigan.
The defense has been stellar, getting back-to-back shutouts for the first time since 1996. But without senior safety Kurt Coleman, who is out for a one-game suspension, the Buckeye defense may have to work a little harder in securing a victory.
Ranked second in the Big Ten in total defense, the Buckeyes look to make Saturday’s game their third consecutive shutout.