Friday, October 2, 2009

OSU-IU Preview!

Head coach gives final briefing before Buckeyes head for meeting under the lights with IU

After putting together a dominant performance and watching the Big Ten's highest-ranked team get upset in the first week of conference play, Ohio State had reason to feel good about its chances to win the league.

The Buckeyes, though, aren't looking that far ahead with their next game coming against an Indiana team that nearly pulled off an upset of its own last week.

The ninth-ranked Buckeyes look to build on an impressive conference-opening performance Saturday night when they visit the Hoosiers, coming off a narrow loss to a Top 25 opponent.

Ohio State (3-1, 1-0) has bounced back from an 18-15 loss to then-No. 3 Southern California on Sept. 12 with its first back-to-back shutouts since 1996. After routing Toledo 38-0 on Sept. 19, the Buckeyes limited Illinois to 170 yards to win their rain-soaked Big Ten opener 30-0 last Saturday.

Terrelle Pryor was limited by the weather, finishing 8 for 13 for 82 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. The sophomore quarterback, though, ran 11 times for 59 yards as part of Ohio State's balanced ground attack. Dan Herron rushed for 75 yards and two TDs, and Brandon Saine had 81 yards on 13 carries.

While those players carried the offense, the defense delivered another lock-down performance, holding the Illini to their lowest yardage total since Sept. 9, 2006.

"We want a mentality that we want to get to the ball, have at least five or six guys at the minimum there," lineman Doug Worthington said. "And we did a good job doing that today."

Coach Jim Tressel has been very impressed with his defensive unit, including its showing in the loss to the Trojans.

"When you can control the trenches, which thus far we've done a pretty good job with that, you've got a very good chance," he said. "(Then) you've got guys in the back end that are very disciplined and do what they're supposed to do. They know that the other guys are going to be putting some pressure on the opposing quarterback."

Ohio State's strong performance last week, combined with conference favorite Penn State losing at home to Iowa, was encouraging for Tressel and his players. However, they refuse to look past the Hoosiers (3-1, 0-1), who gave then-No. 23 Michigan a test before falling 36-33 last Saturday.

"Obviously they watch TV. They watch the highlights," Tressel said of his players. "They see the facts and figures and they saw that Indiana had every opportunity to win their Big Ten opener and put up a lot of yards and made a lot of plays, so our guys went to work on that."

Indiana had four go-ahead scores - including Darius Willis' 85-yard run midway through the fourth quarter - and outgained Michigan 467-372, but it gave up a touchdown with 2:29 left and suffered its seventh loss in its last eight games against Top 25 teams.

"I thought about what a big win this would have been for our football team," said coach Bill Lynch, who threw his headset and tossed a piece of chewing gum toward the seats at Michigan Stadium in frustration.

Lynch said Tuesday he didn't think the gum hit anyone and he's entirely focused on the Buckeyes.

Indiana has lost 14 straight against Ohio State by an average of 22.7 points since the teams played to a 27-all tie in 1990. The Hoosiers, 2-23-1 against the Buckeyes in Bloomington, haven't won in the series since 1988.

These teams last met in 2006, when then-No. 1 Ohio State cruised to a 44-3 home victory en route to an undefeated regular

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