October 19, 2006

Tale of the tape: Indiana

It's time to take a look at this week's match-ups, where we break down which team has an advantage on both sides of the running game, the passing game and in the trenches. Not only do we let you know who has the upper hand in each area, we rate it on a one- to five-star level, with one start being a slight edge and five stars being an overwhelming advantage.


Indiana DBs

Ohio State QBs/WRs/TEs

The Hoosier defense could be in for a long day going against the Buckeye passing game. Indiana can take solace that most defenses have felt the same way going against Troy Smith and the rest of the offense. Tracy Porter and Will Meyers are both very talented but it will not be enough to slow down the Bucks via the air.

On paper it appears that the Ohio State offense should be able to name their score against the Indiana defense but everyone knows that games are not played on paper. Ted Ginn Jr. and Anthony Gonzalez have both had great seasons and it doesn't appear that Indiana has the horses to slow down the Ohio State passing game.

Indiana LBs

Ohio State RBs

The loss of Kyle Killion from last season hurts Indiana at linebacker. The team has a pair of sophomore linebackers in Josh Bailey and Geno Johnson. Adam McClurg is he senior anchor in the middle and only one of two upperclassmen on the two-deep at linebacker.

The Ohio State running game has done enough for the Buckeyes this season but really has only had one breakout game. Will this be the week that Chris Wells shows his stuff and has a monster game? Antonio Pittman got dinged up last week against Michigan State and that could open the door for more carries for Beanie and Maurice Wells.

Indiana DL

Ohio State OL

The Hoosiers are smallish on the outside of the line at 250-pounds a piece at the defensive end position. Inside the team gets bigger with Joe Kremer and Greg Brown both weighing in close to 300 pounds a piece. The line has not had much success in generating a pass rush this season and there isn't much chance this will be the week that changes.

The Buckeye offensive line has improved every week since the Penn State game. Steve Rehring has quietly become a solid performer while Doug Datish and Alex Boone both grab the headlines. Kirk Barton has recovered nicely after a foot procedure and is playing his best football to date.

Indiana QBs/WRs/TEs

Ohio State DBs

This match-up is nearly even but the edge goes to Ohio State only because of the youth of the Hoosier quarterback. Kellen Lewis is a gamer who has improved each week but has not faced a defense like Ohio State's. James Hardy and James Bailry are a dangerous tandem at receiver and success in stopping the passing game will be on the defensive line as much as the defensive backfield.

Week in and week out the Ohio State secondary has done a solid job ifor the team. Only Wisconsin has allowed fewer passing touchdowns than the Buckeyes. Jamario O'Neal continues to learn on the field in replacing Anderson Russell. Antonio Smith will give up 10 inches in height to James Hardy on the field.

Indiana RBs

Ohio State LBs

Despite the Indiana running game ranking dead last in the Big Ten the Buckeyes can not overlook Marcus Thigpen coming out of the backfield for the Hoosiers. The 5-foot-9, 182-pounder has plenty of speed and if he can make it into open field he is hard to catch and bring down.

John Kerr will get to line up against his former team this weekend where he enjoyed 114 tackles his freshman year with the Hoosiers. The rest of the Buckeye linebackers have shared in success including Marcus Freeman who recorded his second career interception and Jsames Laurinaitis who keeps racking up the tackles (59 on the season).

Indiana OL

Ohio State DL

The Hoosiers have been tinkering with the offensive line all season long and are getting closer to finding the right combination to protect Kellen Lewis. None of the starters are over 6-foot-5 or 300-pounds and the Hoosiers roll out several true freshmen on the line. They will have to find a way as a unit to minimize the Buckeye pass rush.

With or without David Patterson in the lineup the Buckeyes will bring a huge advantage to the field in this match-up.. Quinn Pitcock has put up All-America caliber numbers all season long whil Vernon Gholston continues to impress each week. Jay Richardson has been the forgotten man on the end but has quietly put up numbers each week.

Indiana Special Teams

Ohio State Special Teams

Indiana has one of the most dangerous special teams units in the nation with Lance Bennett returning punts and Marcus Thigpen returning kicks. Tyson Beattie has been a solid punter all season.

Ted Ginn Jr. picked up his first punt return touchdown of the season last week and the rest of the special teams have played well. Kick coverage has had a couple moments where they have allowed big returns and that will need to be worked on before the finale.

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