Ohio State got its first Big Ten road victory on Saturday with an impressive 33-14 win over the Indiana Hoosiers in Bloomington.
With sophomore starting tailback Dan “Boom” Herron out with an injury, junior Brandon Saine proved he is a viable option in the starting role.
The former Ohio “Mr. Football” got his first start and put up a career-high 113 yards rushing on 17 carries, along with two catches for 19 yards. His efforts were praised and recognized by his coaches.
“Brandon Saine was the offensive player of the game, did a good job breaking the century mark rushing, and made a spectacular catch on a ball that appeared to me to be up in the air about five seconds,” coach Jim Tressel said.
Herron appears to be ready for action this week, but it is unclear who will start on Saturday.
Tressel seems to prefer keeping Herron and Saine as a package deal, even when it comes to naming his No. 1 back.
“Saine, Herron, however you want to call it,” Tressel said. “Herron, Saine, doesn’t matter.”
Bucks gain redemption on the road
The Buckeyes’ second night game gave them a chance to redeem themselves under the lights, and they made the best of their opportunity. A fast start allowed OSU to claim a three-score lead at halftime, and they never looked back.
Indiana has been a team that starts hot and puts up points early on its opponent, but against the Buckeyes that wasn’t the case.
“We felt as if we needed to go out and come out of the gate pretty quickly,” coach Jim Tressel said at his weekly press conference. “If you looked at them [Indiana] and studied them through their first four games, their first halves, they came out of the gate, I think probably 60 to 70 percent of their production going into our game was in the first half of their games, and so we felt good about the fact that we went out and were able to come out of the gate and get a lead.”
The win gives the Buckeyes 15 straight over the Hoosiers and also leaves them one shy of a Big Ten record of 17 straight road victories.
The defense had another stellar outing, and although they didn’t post a shutout as they did the previous two games, they did hold the Hoosiers to their lowest offensive output of the year.
“Defensively, we had seven three and outs, which the impact of a three and out is tremendous. Our goal for a game is to get five,” Tressel said. “If you get seven, you’re probably in a situation where your defense is controlling the tempo of the game.”
The Buckeyes (4-1, 2-0) now return home for a ranked matchup against the undefeated Wisconsin Badgers (5-0, 2-0) on Saturday for first place in the Big Ten.
Pryor shows progress in passing game
Quarterback Terrelle Pryor has begun to show improvements in his passing ability.
Pryor threw three touchdowns in the first half against Indiana. His first to freshman Duron was placed high, away from the defender, where only his receiver could make the catch.
His second touchdown, a 23-yard slant to sophomore DeVier Posey, was one of his best throws this season.
“That was shot out of a cannon,” Tressel said of the second touchdown. “The right trajectory, the right time, those kinds of things.”
Pryor also spread the ball around to eight different receivers, keeping the Indiana secondary on its heels.
For the game, he was 17-28 passing for 166 yards with an interception. Pryor also added 63 yards on the ground and one touchdown rushing, giving him four touchdowns in two of the Buckeyes’ last three games.
Flu a cause for concern among Buckeyes
The Buckeyes and several other squads across the country are battling the flu. At the moment, it seems to be the main cause of missed practices.
Many teams, including upcoming opponent Wisconsin, are dealing with the setback.
“We’ve got to get a little bit healthy. We’ve got a number of guys that are banging around with that flu,” Tressel said. “[Offensive lineman] Andrew Miller I haven’t seen since Wednesday’s practice. He’s been fighting it hard, and we’ve got two or three others that are fighting the flu a little bit, and we’re not the lone rangers. Everyone around the country and the community has the same issues.”
The Buckeyes have multiple players, including several offensive linemen, who are feeling under the weather. Miller, Mike Adams and Michael Brewster are some of the offensive lineman who have dealt with the illness recently.
“I don’t think it’s under control because the problem is it’s not under control with the general population,” Tressel said about controlling the influenza among his team. “So you try to get your rest, and try to take care of yourself, and wash your hands as much as you can.”
The Badgers have had their share of players missing time because of the flu. Several weeks ago, Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said more than 40 of his players had battled flu-like symptoms this season.