J.K. Dobbins took an inside handoff, dipped outside, shook three defenders, stiff armed another and carried two more into the end zone on a 26-yard touchdown run.
The junior running back’s escapade captured the essence of No. 6 Ohio State’s (3-0, 1-0 Big Ten) contest with Indiana (2-1, 0-1). The Hoosiers threw everything they could at the Buckeyes, whether it be tacklers, air raids or double passes, but were outgained by more than 250 yards and lost 51-10.
“[We] really came out to a good start again,” head coach Ryan Day said. “I thought we ran the ball well, controlled the line of scrimmage.”
Dobbins proved the primary reason why. The Texas product accumulated 175 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries — during the first half. He finished with 193 yards on 22 carries.
“They think I can carry the load, which I think I can,” Dobbins said. “One day it might be me, and another day it might be our receivers making big plays and getting the ball.
Indiana’s first six offensive plays didn’t gain yardage, and despite an opening stop from the Hoosier defense, Ohio State took control of the game early.
Ohio State’s steady ground game set up its first touchdown. After Dobbins picked up 21 yards on his first four carries, the Buckeyes went play action and found sophomore wide receiver Chris Olave for an 18-yard pass play.
They gained 31 more yards rushing on the series, including a three-yard scamper by sophomore quarterback Justin Fields to give Ohio State a 7-0 lead with 7:28 left in the first quarter.
Indiana redshirt junior quarterback Peyton Ramsey strung several throws together for Indiana’s first score of the day, a 29-yard field goal.
Three overthrown passes by Fields killed two Ohio State first-quarter drives, but a ball thrown over the top of Indiana’s defense to Olave for a 37-yard second-quarter score set his accuracy straight and put the Buckeyes ahead 14-3.
“I moved around in the pocket well, just trying to get my feet set before I throw the ball, that’ll make me more accurate,” Fields said.
Fields’ issues behind him, Olave touchdown sparked a downhill somersault for Indiana.
Olave blocked a punt for a safety, Dobbins dashed 56 yards, and redshirt senior wide receiver K.J. Hill hauled in a nine-yard strike from Fields to put Ohio State up 23-3 with 8:30 remaining in the second.
“[Olave] has got some really good body language,” Day said. “He’s got good depth perception, he can time up balls down the field, strong hands underneath. He’s worked really, really hard this offseason.”
Dobbins’ 26-yard tear extended the lead to 30-3, but Indiana mounted a rare response before the half with a trick play. Ramsey fired a pass backward to redshirt senior wide receiver Donovan Hale, who turned and threw upfield to wide open redshirt sophomore tight end Peyton Hendershot for a 49-yard touchdown that sliced the lead to 30-10 heading into halftime.
Ohio State drove 75 yards in seven plays for a touchdown coming out of the half, needing no trickeration to make its lead 27 again.
Redshirt freshman running back Master Teague came in to relieve Dobbins, and ran 40 yards for a touchdown of his own in short order. Ohio State led 44-10 with 4:58 left in the third.
Teague set a new career high with 106 yards on 10 carries.
“I’ve just been trying to gain the trust of my teammates, and it’s going well, and I’ve gotta continue to do that,” Teague said. “I look up to J.K., he’s a great guy, and I just wanna learn as much as I can from him while he’s here.”
Indiana drove down the field against a mixture of Ohio State starters and substitutes, trying to save face, but it was not meant to be. Redshirt senior cornerback Damon Arnette leapt in front of a Ramsey throw, intercepted the pass and ran it back 96 yards to end the third quarter with a 51-10 scoreline.
The win opens conference play with a victory for Ohio State, its first win on the road in 2019. The Buckeyes will go for a 4-0 start Sept. 21 against Miami of Ohio.