BOZICH | Indiana threatens, but Ohio State rolls, 49-21
Lee Corso couldn't beat Ohio State in 10 cracks as the Indiana football coach -- and the Hoosiers could not handle the Buckeyes in Tom Allen's first home game as the IU coach either.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WDRB) — Lee Corso coached football at Indiana University for 10 seasons. He didn’t get to ESPN because of his ability to beat the Buckeyes.
Played Ohio State 10 times. Lost to the Buckeyes 10 times — by an average of nearly 25 points.
Corso once cracked that the first time the Hoosiers got ahead of the Buckeyes he ran across the field, posed next to Ohio State coach Woody Hayes and asked the assembled cameramen to snap photographic proof.
On a spectacular, nearly cloudless late summer night in Southern Indiana, the Hoosiers led the powerful Buckeyes for nearly 31 minutes, from the middle of the first quarter until the middle of the third. There is ample photographic evidence.
Plenty of time for Corso to mug for pictures in front of the Memorial Stadium scoreboard, which he did with many of his former players, who lifted him up and carried him from the field.
Got your photos?
All the photos had to be snapped by the middle of the third quarter. The Buckeyes, ranked second nationally, looked the part of a national contender in the second half and thumped the Hoosiers, 49-21, in Memorial Stadium, extending their winning streak in this series to 22 games.
"We just played a great football team," IU coach Tom Allen said. "There's no other way to put it. (I) coached in the SEC and that's the kind of team we used to play about every week. Especially the elite ones ...
"We played a great football team that will more than likely be playing in the final four. That's what I would predict."
"The feeling that we have right now, nobody wants," said IU linebacker Marcelino Ball.
The Ohio State defensive front turned the Hoosiers’ offense into a one-dimensional mess that could not run the football. Credit Indiana with 17 rushing yards on a night when the Buckeyes ran for 292 yards.
The Hoosiers' leading rusher was freshman Morgan Ellison, who got most of his 24 yards on the final series. The push the Hoosiers had when guys like Dan Feeney and Jason Spriggs were on the line was missing. Maybe it was inexperience and lack of depth. Maybe it was the quality of the Buckeyes' defensive front.
"Talking to their guys, they think they've got five first round draft picks (on the defensive line) over there," Allen said. "That's not normal."
IU quarterback Richard Lagow completed 40 of 65 passes for 410 yards and three scores. Not good enough when a team cannot get a difficult yard or two rushing the ball. The Hoosiers played fast. Maybe that was a mistake.
The Ohio State offense flashed the speed to sting opponents with big plays as quarterback J.T. Barrett cranked up scoring passes of 74 and 59 yards in the third quarter. Barrett is no Lamar Jackson (despite what some national commentators say) but he ran for 304 yards and ran for 61.
Toss in three Indiana turnovers on a night when Ohio State did not turn the ball over and the Hoosiers not only failed to win, they failed to cover the 21-point spread.
Indiana was outgained, 596-437, and travesl to Virginia next weekend with legitimate questions about their running game.
Allen, the Hoosiers’ first-year coach, grimaces at the words “moral victory.” After Indiana came from ahead and lost to Utah in a bowl game last December, Allen bristled and said that coming close was no longer good enough.
The coach said that the time had come for the program to “break through,” and the IU marketing department took Allen’s words and created a marketing program.
If Allen’s team did not break through on the scoreboard, the program did deliver on other platforms.
ESPN’s College Game Day visited Memorial Stadium for the first time, promoting the network’s national telecast for four hours prior to the game. It was Corso’s first visit to IU since 1982 — and he was More than 600 media credentials were issued. All 52,929 seats were sold (even if several pockets were not filled). Former IU basketball star Cody Zeller came back to campus to watch.
And for 37 minutes, the Hoosiers played like a team that should contend for six wins and a third bowl appearance — if they can survive playing three Top 10 teams (Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State) in the first half of the season.
The Hoosiers led 7-3 after tight end Ian Thomas made a dazzling catch in the south end zone on Indiana's opening possession. They stretched their advantage to 14-6 in the third quarterback when wideout Simmie Cobbs made an equally difficult grab in the north end zone. They also led at halftime, 14-13.
Then Ohio State’s speed, depth, power and crackling talent took over.
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