Saturday, October 3, 2009

IU-Ohio State Pre-game

I still am smarting over last week's loss to Michigan. For a brief minute late in the second half, I thought the Hoosiers would pull it out. My hopes and those of Hoosier nation were not answered that afternoon, but I am hoping the loss doesn't linger.

The IU gauntlet continues at 7 p.m. tonight in Bloomington when Ohio State arrives. It appears the only two advantages the Hoosiers have in this game are their home field, which will be filled with students (it was a sell-out) and the possibility of their opponent underestimating the Hoosiers.

The later is not likely, unless the Ohio State coaching staff decided not to use film of last week's game in their game-planning session. I suspect the Buckeyes are ready for Ben Chappell and the pistol offense. But the Buckeyes have struggled defending spread offenses in the past. Two years ago in Columbus, Illinois' spread offense controlled the game and knocked off the No. 1 team in the country.

Chappell and his receivers must play well and put pressure on the Ohio State defense. Running back Darius Willis will have to produce again this week.

It is the OSU offense that will play the biggest role. Can defensive ends Greg Middleton and Jammie Kirlew put Buckeye QB Terrelle Pryor down on the turf? Or better yet, can they keep him in the pocket and take away his speed in the open field? Pryor is much more vulnerable throwing from the pocket, which is not his strength.

Ohio State is an 18-point favorite. I can't predict an IU upset, which likely would be the biggest win in school history. I suspect this game will mirror the 1996 game, one I witnessed. The Hoosiers stayed in the game for more than three quarters, but ultimately lost. The Buckeyes will win this game, but not by 18.

Score: 28-17

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