The Ohio State Buckeyes will be facing off against what could be their toughest opponent of the 2020-2021 regular season on Saturday.
The Scarlet and Gray will be facing off against the Indiana Hoosiers. In most seasons this would be another game that you could chalk up as an easy victory for the Buckeyes before opening kickoff. However, this season the Hoosiers are much better than they have ever been in the past.
Indiana is off to its best start since 1993 where they would finish their season 8-4 with a loss to Virginia Tech in the Independence Bowl. Also, this is the first time that Indiana has been ranked in the top 10 since 1969. Lastly, this is the first time the Hosiers have been 4-0 in Big Ten play since 1987.
Despite this being a historic start to the season for Indiana, this game is still projected to be a cakewalk for the Buckeyes. According to The Action Network, the Buckeyes are 21 point favorites.
This is an incredibly lopsided spread when considering that the matchup is against two top ten teams. There have only been five other games between two top ten teams in the 2020-2021 season, and the widest spread margin before this was when Clemson was favored over Miami by 14.5 points.
In the two games that Ohio State played in the regular season against top ten teams, they won by a combined total of 24 points. So far this season, the Buckeyes and the Hoosiers have faced off against two common opponents.
Those two opponents of course are the Penn State Nittany Lions and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Ohio State defeated them by 13 and 22 points respectively. While Indiana defeated them by 1 and 16 points respectively.
In an article from Scarlet and Game by Frank Teriaca, he predicts that Indiana running back Stevie Scott III will have a field day against Ohio State’s subpar run defense compared to previous years. He brings up that the Buckeyes allow 110 rushing yards a game.
Scott III currently averages 79.75 yards per game on 3.6 yards per carry through the first four games of the season. However, they have faced off against the 37th, 80th, 75th, and 55th rush defenses in the country. While Ohio State ranks 40th, which is a huge drop off compared to last season where they ranked third.
While I would bet my bottom dollar that Ohio State will come out of the game with another win, The final score might be a bit closer than predicted. With the Buckeyes coming off of a canceled game against Maryland and Indiana coming off of a 24-0 shutout win against Michigan State, the Hosiers will be coming into the game with some momentum that may keep them within the 21 point spread