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The Journal Gazette

  • Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett looks up at an Indiana player after being hit on a pass during the first half of an NCAA college football game Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, in Bloomington, Ind. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Indiana's Ian Thomas (80) celebrates with Austin Dorris after Thomas caught a 2-yard touchdown pass during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Ohio State, Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, in Bloomington, Ind. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Indiana's Ian Thomas (80) make a 2-yard touchdown reception against Ohio State's Jerome Baker during the second half of an NCAA college football game Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, in Bloomington, Ind. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Indiana's Simmie Cobbs Jr. (1) is tackled by Ohio State cornerback Kendall Sheffield during the first half of an NCAA college football game Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, in Bloomington, Ind. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Indiana coach Tom Allen watches during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game against Ohio State, Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, in Bloomington, Ind. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) celebrates with Marcus Baugh after Barrett scored on a 2-point conversion during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Indiana, Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, in Bloomington, Ind. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Ohio State wide receiver Johnnie Dixon runs past Indiana defensive back Jonathan Crawford for a 59-yard touchdown reception during the second half of an NCAA college football game Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, in Bloomington, Ind. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Friday, September 01, 2017 1:10 am

No. 2 Ohio State pulls away to beat Indiana

KYLE ROWLAND | FOR THE JOURNAL GAZETTE

BLOOMINGTON – They came in droves from every corner of the state  Gary, Fort Wayne, Evansville and everywhere in between – for what was billed as the biggest Indiana football game in decades.

With No. 2 Ohio State and College GameDay in town, the nationally televised audience tuned in for a party. What it witnessed instead was the same old Indiana.

The Hoosiers came up short in a bid for a program-defining victory. They settled for another moral victory against one of the Big Ten’s blue bloods, falling 49-21 to Ohio State in coach Tom Allen’s home debut. The Buckeyes ended the game with 29 unanswered points.

“We just played a great football team. There’s no other way to put it,” Allen said. “The speed that they have, the size that they have is pretty special. They’ll more than likely be in the [College Football Playoff].”

In recent years, Indiana’s M.O. has been to hang around until wilting to a superior team. The script played out once again Thursday in a rare Week 1 Big Ten conference matchup.

IU dominated the first half and led late in the third quarter before Kevin Wilson announced his Memorial Stadium return. The Ohio State offensive coordinator, who was fired by Indiana for allegedly abusing players, dialed up 269 yards and 22 points in the third quarter.

Following an Indiana touchdown that gave the Hoosiers a 21-20 lead with 4:56 left in the third quarter, Ohio State scored on a 74-yard touchdown pass and a 59-yard touchdown pass.

“From a schematic standpoint, they were doing some things that put us in conflict, basically address one thing and expose another,” Allen said. “We had a couple busted assignments, and if you make one mistake, it leads to a big play. We have to get key stops. I’m a defensive coach. We have to get stops.”

A series of halftime adjustments for the Buckeyes were the answer. They harassed Indiana quarterback Richard Lagow into multiple turnovers, found a quick-fix for a porous secondary and unleashed an offense that’s been dormant since last September against Oklahoma.

A flurry of three touchdowns over 7:31 in the third and fourth quarters dashed Indiana’s dreams of a win that would have sent shockwaves across the college football landscape.

“The third quarter was obviously a game-changer,” said Ohio State coach Urban Meyer. “Our defense was exposed big time in the first half.”

In defeat, Lagow introduced himself to the nation. He completed 40 of 65 passes for 410 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. His 65 pass attempts were a school record.

Lagow spearheaded an offensive onslaught for three quarters. Ohio State’s young, inexperienced secondary could not defend the Lagow-to-Simmie Cobbs connection in the first half, whipping the sellout crowd of 52,929 into a frenzy.

Cobbs finished with 11 receptions for 149 yards and a touchdown. Indiana’s offense produced 12 plays of 15-plus yards. Indiana only mustered 27 rushing yards on 17 carries.

Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett was 20 of 35 for 304 yards and three touchdowns. He ran for 61 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. True freshman running back J.K. Dobbins set an OSU first-game record with 181 rushing yards, averaging 6.2 yards per touch. Ohio State had 595 total yards.

“There’s no consolation,” Allen said. “Very disappointed how we finished. But I’m really proud and excited for our program. I really feel like there’s something to build off of for sure. As I just told our team, the breakthrough is in the mindset. We didn’t finish.”