Each game, the momentum can shift from one team to the other on one play. Every week, we will list five plays, elements of plays or series of plays that made the most significant impact in Ohio State’s games. Here’s the five plays that mattered most in No. 2 Ohio State’s 49-21 victory at Indiana.
Sheffield, Fuller save a score
Ohio State was trailing 7-3 early in the second quarter when Indiana had possession. Following an Indiana fourth-down conversion that extended the drive into the Buckeyes’ red zone, safety Jordan Fuller intercepted Indiana quarterback Richard Lagow’s pass on the goal line to save a would-be touchdown.
Cornerback Kendall Sheffield deflected the pass intended for Indiana’s Donovan Hale, and it fell into Fuller’s arms. The sophomore safety, who made his first-career start Thursday, returned it 40 yards, sparking an Ohio State drive that ended in a 19-yard field goal by Sean Nuernberger.
Ohio State trailed 7-6 instead of potentially facing a 13- deficit.
Terry McLaurin’s block on Campbell touchdown
At the 4:56 mark in the third quarter, H-back Parris Campbell electrified the Buckeyes’ sideline with his 74-yard, breakaway touchdown reception to retake the lead, 27-21, just 18 seconds after Indiana reclaimed the advantage. However, one might have missed McLaurin sealing the edge, allowing Campbell to display his world-class speed.
McLaurin was arguably Ohio State’s best blocking receiver in 2016, and he showed why in a pivotal moment of the game. Matched up against Indiana defensive back Rashard Fant, McLaurin steered Fant to the ground as Campbell raced past the rest of the defense.
.@PCampbell21 hauls it in…
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) September 1, 2017
Ohio State never relinquished the lead after that.
Cornell forced fumble puts game on ice
Ohio State’s defensive line is deep, there’s no questioning that. However, it’s doubtful many foresaw defensive tackle Jashon Cornell making a profound impact this early in the season.
The third-year player from St. Paul, Minnesota, rushed Indiana’s left guard on third down with 12:42 to play, sacked Lagow and forced him to fumble on the Indiana 11. The next play, quarterback J.T. Barrett found wide receiver Binjimen Victor for a score, widening the lead to 42-21.
Dobbins converts on fourth down before go-ahead score
Trailing 14-13 with 7:47 on the clock in the third quarter, coach Urban Meyer put his trust in the offensive line and freshman running back J.K. Dobbins on fourth-and-1 at the Indiana 12. Dobbins followed center Billy Price up the middle for three yards and a first down.
Dobbins was the workhorse for the Buckeyes in his first career game, but what made this play particularly important was that two plays later: Barrett punched in the go-ahead score, which came on the heels of Campbell’s dropped would-be touchdown reception.
The Buckeyes hadn’t had many opportunities in the red zone before this moment, so Meyer rolled the dice and Dobbins seized the moment.
Worley makes pivotal third-down stop
Ohio State had finally built a two-possession lead following Johnnie Dixon’s 59-yard touchdown run-and-catch towards the end of the third quarter. One more score could have put the game out of reach, but first, the defense needed to get the ball back in it’s offense’s hands.
On third-and-1 around the one-minute mark in the third, linebacker Chris Worley attacked the line and stuffed Indiana running back Mike Majette behind the line. The tackle forced an Indiana punt from its 20-yard line and put a tired Hoosier defense back on the field.