Indiana football may have found a way for someone to beat Ohio State football this season.
The No. 9 Indiana Hoosiers were not intimidated by the No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes, and it showed on Saturday. Indiana went into The Horseshoe and nearly came out of it with a victory. Though they did fall to the Buckeyes 42-25, the Hoosiers exposed a major weakness in the Buckeyes defense: Ohio State’s pass defense is horrendous and the Buckeyes will get burned eventually.
Michael Penix Jr. lit up the Ohio State secondary through the air
Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr. completed 27-of-51 passes for 491 yards, five touchdowns and one interception. He massively outplayed his counterpart Justin Fields, whose three interceptions have knocked him out of serious Heisman Trophy contention. Can you imagine what teams better than Indiana will do to this Ohio State defense in the College Football Playoff?
Penix’s impressive 9.6 yards per passing attempt were helped out by way of the big play. He completed six balls for over 30 yards six times in his big day for Indiana. While Penix is an excellent quarterback, he is not on the same level of guys Ohio State will be going up against in the College Football Playoff, such as Mac Jones, Trevor Lawrence and Kyle Trask. This is a massive problem.
Even with Shaun Wade capable of being an All-American cornerback, he got burned repeatedly against the Hoosiers receivers who did whatever they wanted against the typically stout Buckeyes pass defense.
Having a bad secondary that lives to give up the big play has to be one of the worst fatal flaws you can have as a football team. It essentially means no lead is ever safe and if you are going up against a quality quarterback, he will pick you to pieces. Indiana has outstanding receivers as well, but from a pure talent standpoint, the Hoosiers are not on the same level as playoff teams.
Indiana gave us the blueprint for how teams can beat Ohio State in the College Football Playoff.