COLUMBUS — Heading towards a season-defining showdown with rival Michigan at the end of the month, No. 2 Ohio State remained on track on Saturday with a 56-14 thumping of Indiana to remain unbeaten on the season.
Buckeye quarterback C.J. Stroud added to his Heisman Trophy resume with 297 passing yards and five touchdowns to lead Ohio State, and Miyan Williams rushed for 147 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries as part of a 340-yard team rushing performance.
Ohio State outgained Indiana by nearly 400 yards, wracking up 662 yards of offense while limiting Indiana to just 269 yards. The yardage was Ohio State’s second-highest tally of the season.
Ohio State jumped out to a 7-0 lead five minutes into the game when Stroud found Emeka Egbuka for a 6-yard touchdown, and the offense was out and running early.
Thrust into the lineup for injured running back TreVeyon Henderson, true freshman Dallan Hayden increased the lead to 14-0 on Ohio State’s next drive, scoring from 14 yards out for his second rushing touchdown of the season.
Indiana’s offensive woes continued late in the first quarter as Ohio State forced a third consecutive three-and-out to get its quick-strike offense back on the field. Stroud needed just one play to add to the Ohio State lead, connecting with Marvin Harrison Jr. for a 58-yard touchdown on the first play of the possession as Ohio State began to pour it on.
Harrison finished with seven catches for 135 yards and the touchdown, marking his fifth game this season in which he’s surpassed the 100-yard mark.
In a quick 21-0 hole, Indiana momentarily showed life on the ensuing possession when Dexter Williams II found a wide-open Andison Coby deep down the middle of the field for a 49-yard completion.
Ohio State cornerback Jordan Hancock saved a touchdown with a tackle of Coby, but Indiana went on to score three plays later when A.J. Barner elevated over cornerback Cam Brown and hauled in a 7-yard touchdown pass from Williams.
The momentum was shortlived, however, as Williams’ 48-yard touchdown run minutes later pushed the Ohio State lead back to 21 points at 28-7 as the Buckeyes began to pull away before halftime.
Stroud added a pair of touchdown passes to Cade Stover in the third quarter, and Xavier Johnson’s 71-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter opened up a 49-7 lead as Ohio State salted away the final quarter.
Finally healthy after a laundry list of injuries including four ACL tears that have largely derailed his football career, journeyman Kamryn Babb capped off the scoring with the first catch and touchdown of his career when he hauled in an 8-yard touchdown pass from Stroud with under nine minutes left in the game.
The touchdown set off a memorable celebration in the corner of the end zone as Babb fell to his knees in prayer before being mobbed by the entire Ohio State bench in the corner of the end zone.
Day said of Babb’s touchdown, “What happened in the stadium today is magical. That’s what college football means to a lot of people … That’s one of the reasons why college football is special, and it’s one of the reasons why you coach.”
Ohio State improves to 10-0 on the season, marking the 10th consecutive season it has won at least 10 regular season games. One final road trip of the regular season looms next week when Ohio State travels to take on the Maryland Terrapins (6-4). A kickoff time has not yet been announced for the game.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.