No. 7 Buckeyes take aim at Indiana’s Tevin Coleman
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The defensive players for No. 7 Ohio State are setting a goal which goes far beyond just winning a game.
The Buckeyes also want to prove a point.
Tevin Coleman, the nation’s No. 2 rusher, is averaging 168 rushing yards per game and an astounding 7.84 yards per carry this season for Indiana (3-7, 0-6 Big Ten) heading into Saturday’s game against the Buckeyes (9-1, 6-0, No. 6 CFP).
A week after Coleman piled up 307 rushing yards in a loss to Rutgers, Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa says his side of the ball plans on being stingy.
"We’re trying to hold him under 100 yards," said Bosa, who leads the Big Ten with 17 tackles for a loss and 11.5 sacks. "That’s our goal for the week as a defense, which is not going to be easy, of course. But we feel if we do that, then we’ll have a good chance of winning."
The Buckeyes have grown accustomed to winning. Since stumbling 35-21 to Virginia Tech in the second game, they have spun off eight straight wins. From out of nowhere, they’re suddenly valid contenders to make the national playoffs.
The Hoosiers realize that as Coleman goes, so go their hopes of pulling an upset.
If they were to stun the Buckeyes, it would brighten a lost season.
"We’ve played some teams very, very well, but playing a really good team on the road and taking that next step is going to be a challenge," Wilson said.
Here are some things to watch:
BROKEN RECORDS: Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett, a late stand-in for Braxton Miller when he was lost for the season with a shoulder injury, continues to have a historic season.
The freshman needs just two more TD passes to break Troy Smith’s record of 30 set when he won the Heisman in 2006.
Not so long ago a kid just hoping to get on the field, he’s now among the handful of top Heisman favorites.
"It’s kind of crazy to think about that, being that that’s really never on my mind," Barrett said. "I’m grateful that I’m on that list. But the objective every week is to go out there and win games."
GOING STREAKING: Everywhere you look in this matchup, there are streaks.
The Buckeyes have won the last 18 meetings with the Hoosiers, dating to Indiana’s back-to-back wins in 1987-88.
Indiana has lost its last five games since an Oct. 4 win over North Texas.
And Ohio State is looking to extend its conference record by winning a 23rd consecutive regular-season Big Ten game.
The Buckeyes can also clinch their second consecutive trip to the Big Ten title game with a victory.
FIGHTING THE DROPS: A week ago, Ohio State did just about everything it needed to against Minnesota in a 31-24 win — except hang onto the ball.
Kick returner and H-back Jalin Marshall coughed up the ball twice but he’ll be back out there again.
"I’ll hear people say, `If he fumbles he won’t play again for another six games,’" coach Urban Meyer said. "But it’s like if a guy jumps offsides. I want a real aggressive team that’s not worried about making mistakes."
HOMECOMING: Fifteen Hoosiers are Ohio natives, including some of their top players.
They’ll step before a crowd in excess of 100,000, with projected temperatures in the low to mid 40s and with a 30 percent chance of freezing rain.
LOOKING AHEAD: One of the few things that could derail the Buckeyes is if they let their minds wander instead of dealing with the game at hand.
They have plenty of distractions. They close out the regular season a week from now in their annual grudge match with archrival Michigan. Then there’s all the talk about being in the race for one of those four precious playoff spots.
"There’s six or seven teams that are still in it, still have a legitimate shot of making that top four," tight end Jeff Heuerman said. "It’s what you worked all offseason for, and you’re right in the heat of it right now. So it’s special."