Ohio State earned its sixth win of the season on Saturday, beating Indiana 49-26 at Ohio Stadium. With many of the same storylines that have followed the Buckeyes from game to game, such as redshirt sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins’ dominance in the passing game or struggling secondary play, the Buckeyes move to a Week 7 game against Minnesota with a perfect record. Here are three takeaways Ohio State can take from its win on Saturday.
Running game still has work to do
As Haskins nearly broke the record for passing yards in a game, throwing for 455 yards, three yards away from the record Art Schlichter set in 1981, the Ohio State offense still had a game plan to follow against the Hoosiers.
Along with passing 44 times in Saturday’s 23-point win, Ohio State backs recorded 48 rushes, the most the unit has recorded since the season opener against Oregon State.
Even with the amount of carries, Ohio State could not get its running game going consistently.
With sophomore running back J.K. Dobbins and redshirt junior Mike Weber taking 81.3 percent of all carries, Ohio State backs averaged 3.2 yards per carry. Weber recorded the only three runs of 10 yards or longer, recording a 21 yard rush in the second quarter.
Dobbins led the team in carries, recording a season-high 26 touches, but averaged, like Ohio State as a whole, 3.2 yards per rush, recording his fourth touchdown of the season, his third since Sept. 22.
With the balanced offense that head coach Urban Meyer preaches, Ohio State has relied on Haskins and the passing game through the first six games of the season. However, Meyer said after the game the running game is still an important part of the offense, calling the performance at this point in the season “alarming.”
Tuf Borland continues to shine
After returning from an offseason Achilles injury originally expected to sideline him for the first part of the season, redshirt sophomore linebacker Tuf Borland has come back to full strength over the past two weeks and has shown he is healthy in the middle.
In Saturday’s game, Borland had three tackles, two of which were for loss, including a sack. He also recorded a forced fumble in the second quarter that was significant in terms of momentum for the Ohio State defense.
It was the second game in a row Borland had made such an impact. In the game against Penn State on Sept. 29, the redshirt sophomore tied for the team lead with eight tackles, recording a 5-yard sack and forcing a fumble.
Even though the second level of the defense has been one of the main storylines as to how Ohio State must improve in the near future, Borland has been one of the bright spots over the past two games.
Redshirt senior receivers set the tone in the passing game
Redshirt senior wide receiver Terry McLaurin is not only a pass blocker.
He said he enjoys doing that, saying at one point in Saturday’s win over Indiana, he helped block two defensive ends. However, McLaurin showed that he is still a valuable receiver in the passing game.
He recorded four catches for 59 yards, bringing in his fifth and sixth touchdown receptions of the season against his home state Hoosiers, one on a 7-yard crossing route and the other a 17-yard pass play in the third quarter.
McLaurin said his play was helping Haskins with the amount of blitzes Indiana was showing up front, allowing the quarterback to be able to get the ball off quickly to open receivers in the secondary, who used their speed to get into open space.
This has been the made strategy for the pass offense through the first six games, something that worked for redshirt senior Parris Campbell as well. In Meyer’s words, Campbell had “a hell of a day,” leading the team with 142 yards and two touchdowns on nine catches.
Redshirt senior Johnnie Dixon also brought in a touchdown, bringing in 73 yards on five catches.
The veteran Ohio State wide receiver room continues to help Haskins as he gets more national recognition for his play over the first six games of the season.