Feb. 4th: Fast Forward 2017 Wk 1 CFB Ohio State vs. Indiana “Inside The Numbers”


Ohio State has won 22 straight games against the Hoosiers and since 2011, the Buckeyes have won by an average margin of victory of 20.6 points per game. 

In 2016, Indiana did not beat a team with a winning record and the Hoosiers six wins (FIU, Ball St, Michigan State, Maryland, Rutgers and Purdue) came against opponents with a combined overall record of 22-51 or a .301%. 


Ohio State:

The Buckeyes averaged 39 points per game in 2016 and were a balanced offense for much of the season rushing for 245 yards per game along with passing for 213 yards per game through the air.

Ohio State rushed for over 150 yards in every game in 2016 except their College Football Playoff loss to Clemson, in which they rushed for 88 yards on the ground.

A deeper look into the Buckeyes rushing attack showed a complete domination against teams outside the Big 10. Not including the loss to Clemson, the Buckeyes averaged 306 rushing yards per game (918 rushing yards) against Bowling Green, Tulsa and Oklahoma at the start of the season in 2016.

Ohio State averaged 242 rushing yards per game against their nine Big 10 opponents last season recording 2,444 rushing yards in those contests.

Quarterback J.T Barrett will be the key to the offense in 2017 and how he plays will dictate whether the Buckeyes can get back to the Playoff next season. Last year, Barrett completed 61% of his passes for 2,555 yards with 24 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.

As a team, the Buckeyes completed 211 of 322 passes (65%) for 2,444 passing yards (242 passing ypg) with 25 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions in their first ten games.

However, in the last three games to Michigan State, Michigan and Clemson-the offense completed 44 of 87 passes (50%) with 337 passing yards (112 passing ypg) with 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions. 

Offensive line was a concern in pass protection as the unit allowed 28 total sacks in 2016.

The Buckeyes converted 46% of their third down attempts as an offense in 2016, however, in the last three games of the season the offense was inconsistent.

During the last three games against Michigan State, Michigan and Clemson the Buckeyes converted 13 of 47 third down attempts which was only 27%. 

Defensively, the Buckeyes allowed 15 points per game and were very solid in run support giving up 123 rushing yards per game along with 172 passing yards per game.

Ohio State was very opportunistic in 2016 in creating turnovers and ended the year +15 in turnover margin. The Buckeyes were +10 at home and +5 on the road last year.

Three teams were able to rush for over 200 yards on the Buckeyes front seven:

Wisconsin: 236 rushing yards

Michigan State: 207 rushing yards

Clemson: 205 rushing yards


Ohio State was stellar against the pass through the first eleven games in 2016. During that span, the Buckeyes held opposing offenses to 149 of 328 (45%) with 1,755 passing yards with 8 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.

Last year, there were only two teams to complete more than 60% of their passes against the Ohio State defense:

Michigan: 63%

Clemson: 64%

The defense recorded 28 total sacks as a unit in 2016. The Buckeyes held opposing offenses to 32% on their third down attempts, but in the last two games against Michigan and Clemson-the unit allowed 17 of 36 conversions which was 47%.




The Hoosiers averaged 25 points per game in 2016 and were a pass heavy offense for much of the season averaging 273 yards per game through the air along with rushing for 152 yards per game on the ground.

Indiana struggled running the football consistently against the better teams in the Big 10 and averaged only 89 rushing yards per game (445 total rushing yards) against Ohio State, Nebraska, Northwestern, Penn State and Michigan.

These opponents were a combined 48-18 or .727% in 2016.  

OSU: 99 rushing yards (LOSS)

Nebraska: 88 rushing yards (LOSS)

NW: 84 rushing yards (LOSS)

PSU: 110 rushing yards (LOSS)

Michigan: 64 rushing yards (LOSS)


Against the lower teams in the conference, the Hoosiers were able to manhandle the line of scrimmage and pound the football consistently averaging 217 rushing yards per game (869 total rushing yards) against Michigan State, Maryland, Rutgers and Purdue.

These opponents were a combined 14-35 or .285% in 2016. 

Michigan State: 156 rushing yards (WIN)

Maryland: 414 rushing yards (WIN)

Rutgers: 147 rushing yards (WIN)

Purdue: 152 rushing yards (WIN)


Indiana completed 50% or more of their passes in every game in 2016 except one-the bowl loss to Utah (37%).

From October 22 through the end of the year including the bowl game loss, the offense completed 145 of 259 passes (55%) for 1,849 yards with 8 touchdowns and 9 interceptions.

The offense averaged 39% on third downs and the offensive line allowed 29 sacks as a unit in 2016.


Defensively, the Hoosiers allowed 27 points per game and gave up 160 rushing yards per game along with 219 passing yards per game.

Indiana ended 2016 -6 in turnover margin (-4 at home, -2 on the road) and must be able to be opportunistic in 2017 in order to build off of their 6-7 overall record. The team went from a +8 in 2015 to  -6 which is -14 turnover differential.

Two bright spots for the defense was their ability to force three and outs against opposing offenses and their ability to generate a pass rush.

The Hoosiers recorded 33 total sacks which was their highest total since 2008. 


Indiana held opposing offenses to 32% of their third down attempts and played very well against the better teams within the Big 10 on third down situations.

Against Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan-the defense held those offenses to 17 of 58 third down attempts or 29%. 

Another strength for the defensive unit last year, was their ability to play well in pass coverage against the top teams in the conference. Against Ohio State, Nebraska, Penn State and Michigan-the unit all four opponents to under 54% completions.

Ohio State: 42% completions (9 of 21)

Nebraska: 38% completions (10 of 26)

Penn State: 53% completions (16 of 30)

Michigan: 43% completions (7 of 16)


The weakness of the defense last year was their inability to shut down the run consistently against the better teams in the Big 10. Against Ohio State, Northwestern, Michigan and Nebraska the defense allowed 197 rushing yards per game.

Ohio State: 290 rushing yards 

Northwestern: 123 rushing yards 

Michigan: 225 rushing yards

Nebraska: 152 rushing yards 








About Joseph Lisi

Joseph Lisi is a member of the FWAA (Football Writers Association of America), the Maxwell Football Club and the National Football Foundation. He is the owner of the website: www.goforthe2.com and hosts a weekly college football radio show on SB Nation Radio and FNSTY Sports Radio from 10-12pm EST every Saturday morning. Listen live at: www.sbnationradio.com or www.fntsy.com/radio. Joseph is a former college football researcher for ABC Sports and has been featured on: SportsXRadio with Ken Thomson, ESPN Radio, Sirius XM Radio, FNTSY Sports Network, the Sid Rosenberg Show (640 AM Sports-South Florida), 1560 AM CBS Sports Melbourne, FL and multiple media outlets throughout the nation. Joe appears every Friday with Ken Thomson on SportsXRadio for the Football Fiasco in which every game on the college board is broken down during the show. Follow Joe on Twitter: @goforthe2

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