BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — What began as a raucous night inside Memorial Stadium quickly turned into a laugher as six first-half touchdowns propelled No. 5 Ohio State to a 54-7 beatdown of the Indiana Hoosiers on Saturday night.
Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud threw for 266 yards and four touchdowns, two of which were caught by tight end Jeremy Ruckert, and running back TreVeyon Henderson rushed for 81 yards and scored three total touchdowns as the Buckeyes eased their way to the emphatic victory.
Indiana, which played three different quarterbacks in the first half, was held to just 128 yards of total offense on the evening, and the Buckeye defense tallied five sacks against an overwhelmed Hoosiers offensive line.
Ohio State wasted no time in getting the scoring started early. After receiving the opening kickoff, Stroud engineered a 12-play, 75-yard drive that was capped off with an 11-yard touchdown run from running back Miyan Williams to give the Buckeyes an early 7-0 lead.
Indiana punched back immediately, however, putting together their own scoring drive on their first offensive possession. The Hoosiers converted four third-down conversions over the course of a 15-play drive, and quarterback Jack Tuttle connected with tight end Peyton Hendershot to even the score at 7-7 with 2:58 remaining in the opening quarter.
That would be as good as it would get for Indiana, however, as Ohio State needed just five plays to recapture the lead. Completions of 32 and 21 yards by Stroud had the Buckeyes back in the red zone, and Henderson scampered in from 20 yards out for his first score of the night to give them a 14-7 lead.
A quick three-and-out by the Ohio State defense had the ball back in the hands of Stroud, who found Henderson on a 14-yard screen pass that Henderson took into the end zone for his second score of the night. Noah Ruggles’ extra point increased the Ohio State lead to 21-7 just two minutes into the second quarter as the Buckeyes began to pour it on the Hoosiers.
Things went from bad to worse for Indiana on the ensuing possession as a bad snap on a punt attempt deep in their own territory led to a safety and a 23-7 lead for Ohio State.
Henderson’s second rushing touchdown of the evening and two more touchdown passes from Stroud further stretched out the lead as Ohio State took a 44-7 lead into the break.
Ohio State piled up 334 yards of total offense over a dominant opening half, while a miserable Indiana offense mustered just 55 yards as the two teams went to the locker room.
Stroud added his fourth touchdown pass of the evening late in the third quarter, again connecting with Ruckert, and Ruggles added a late field goal as the Buckeyes put the finishing touches on the lopsided score.
Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said after the game, ”Heading into this game, we kind of figured that we had no record. We were 0-0, and this is the first win of the second half of the season. That’s the way we’re looking at it. But I thought we came out and played well. We actually weren’t expecting any rain. We got some rain and I felt that we handled that well.”
While the Buckeye offense continues to roll at an incredible rate, Day credited the defense for setting the offense up with enviable situations throughout the night.
“It’s everything. That, to me, is where you just play with ultimate confidence,” Day said. “When you’re getting the ball back at midfield like that, it’s kind of the way it felt in 2019. And that’s the way it felt tonight. You can feel it on the sidelines, there is so much confidence. When you get a three-and-out or you get a turnover, it just steamrolls. That’s a great feeling as a coach.”
Ohio State will again play under the lights next week as they return home to take on Penn State (5-2) at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.