The Ohio State Buckeyes came through with a close win over the pesky Indiana Hoosiers and these were the most clutch performers from both teams in the game.
Despite the fact that it had been since the 1980s since the Indiana Hoosiers beat the Ohio State Buckeyes, there were big hopes for Tom Allen’s team as they were ranked No. 9 in the country as they visited Columbus on Saturday. With that and a 4-0 start under their belt, they were eyeing an upset over the Buckeyes to prove their legitimacy.
Indiana came up with three big turnovers but Ohio State poured it on early, jumping out to a 35-7 lead early in the third quarter. The Hoosiers, however, would not be denied as they scraped and fought their way back, getting it to a one-touchdown game in the fourth quarter at 42-35. OSU was able to tighten up and rely on the rushing attack, though, and took enough time off the clock for the No. 3-ranked team to avoid the upset.
This Big Ten clash lived up to the billing with plenty of drama and palpable stakes hanging in the balance. And in this big moment, these were the most clutch performers who stepped up for both Indiana and Ohio State.
Most clutch performances from Indiana vs. Ohio State
5. Ty Fryfogle, WR, Indiana
For as celebrated as the Buckeyes secondary has been over the years, you wouldn’t have figured that watching them try to cover Ty Frofogle. Three Indiana pass-catchers finished with over 85 yards but Fryfogle was the unstoppable force of the bunch. Raising his game to the level of competition, Fryfogle came up with one big play after another, ending his day with a team-high seven catches for 218 yards and three touchdowns, both of which were also highs for the Hoosiers. He made every play he possibly could to try and keep the Hoosiers in line for an upset bid.
4. Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Especially considering that he’d been almost perfect in their first three games, it does feel weird to say that Justin Fields was one of the most clutch performers in this game as he tossed three interceptions on the day. But that speaks to how well he played outside of his uncharacteristic turnovers. Aside from the three picks, Fields still went 18-of-30 for 300 yards with two touchdowns while also rushing for 78 yards and another score. And while the turnovers early hindered the Buckeyes from pulling away even further and allowing the Hoosiers to fight back, his steady play late and his overall production put Ohio State in the right spot to pick up the top-10 win.
3. Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State
There was no bigger individual play on Saturday in Columbus than Buckeyes cornerback Shaun Wade coming up with an interception late in the third quarter and taking it to the house. Prior to that play, the Hoosiers were already mounting a second-half comeback, having cut a 35-7 deficit to 35-21. With that one play, however, the cornerback halted momentum and gave the Buckeyes just enough cushion to eventually stave off the rest of IU’s comeback attempt. Without the pick-six, you have to wonder if Ohio State would’ve walked away unscathed.
2. Michael Penix Jr., QB, Indiana
Even in a losing effort, you have to take your hat off for Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr. In arguably the biggest moment of his young career, the sophomore produced a career-defining performance that gave OSU all that they could handle. Penix finished the game completing 27-of-51 passes for 491 yards with five touchdowns and the unfortunate interception. He threw it all over the Buckeyes in The Shoe and put a scare in Ryan Day’s team as well with threatening to come back following the pick-six.
1. Master Teague III, RB, Ohio State
If there was one thing the Ohio State offense had been missing prior to Saturday’s game, it was consistency in the rushing attack. But they needed that more than ever to maintain control and to ice the win against the Hoosiers, which is when Master Teague III stepped up and delivered his best outing of the season by a wide margin. Teague carried the rock a team-high 26 times for an impressive 169 yards and two touchdowns on the day. The raw numbers are impressive but the running back also played an integral role in securing the win. When IU was charging late, the Buckeyes looked to Teague to suck the life out of the fourth quarter and he did that by continuing to break off chunk runs and bleed clock.