Associated Press Quarterback Richard Lagow led Indiana to a first-half lead against No. 2 Ohio State before the Buckeyes turned it on in the second half. Lagow finished 40 for 65 for 410 yards.
Sunday, September 03, 2017 1:00 am
Indiana aired it out in loss; ground game stuck in mud
Ben Portnoy | For The Journal Gazette
BLOOMINGTON – The Indiana offense was firing on all cylinders early in Thursday night's 49-21 loss to No. 2 Ohio State.
Heading into halftime, the Hoosiers had a 14-13 lead and appeared poised to take the Buckeyes down to the wire. Then Ohio State outscored Indiana 36-7 in the second half and ran away against the upset-minded Hoosiers.
“They were consistently getting into the backfield so everything was sped up,” redshirt junior receiver Luke Timian said of the adjustments the Buckeyes made in the second half.
Despite the second-half blowout, IU quarterback Richard Lagow had an encouraging outing, going 40 of 65 for 410 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. His 65 pass attempts were an IU single-game record.
“Sixty-five times?” Lagow inquired about his passing attempts. “No, I didn't realize we threw it that many times, honestly. Like I said, whatever it takes to win a game”
The passing game looked as if it might be a question mark early when junior wide receiver Nick Westbrook, Indiana's leading receiver in 2016, went down with a knee injury on the opening kickoff.
Without Westbrook, Timian and redshirt junior Simmie Cobbs were left to pick up the slack. Cobbs responded in a big way, with a career high 11 catches for 149 yards and a touchdown. The receiver's performance was particularly reassuring after he missed most all of last season with an ankle injury.
Timian, who helped Lagow on short, underneath-routes, caught a career-high 10 passes for 72 yards.
“We knew going into this one that the offense was going to be run through us,” Timian said. “So if we were making plays we were going to be able to move the ball, if we weren't we weren't going to.”
Tight end Ian Thomas also had a big night, with two touchdowns and 53 yards receiving.
But for all the success Lagow and his receivers had through the air, the run game doomed the Hoosier offense.
Ohio State's defensive line, one that IU coach Tom Allen said could produce five NFL first-round picks, stymied the Hoosiers' attempts at running the ball.
Indiana finished with 17 rushing yards.
“The O-line and the running backs played their tails off but it was tough sledding for them and they fought the whole game so I was proud of them for that,” Lagow said.
Freshman Morgan Ellison led Indiana with 24 yards on the ground. Quarterback Peyton Ramsey was the next best rusher with 10 yards.
Tyler Natee, Indiana's leading returning rusher, didn't take a single snap and just four running backs saw action.
The Hoosiers threw the ball 68 times, with only 27 rushing attempts.
“You've got to run the football,” Allen said. “Obviously, we don't want to throw it that many times, but at the same time that's kind of what they forced us to do.”
The disparity was partially planned but Allen said the matchup against the suffocating Buckeye defensive line was also to blame.
With the opening-night loss to the Buckeyes behind them, the Hoosiers turn their focus to a road game against Virginia on Sept. 9 – a game they'll hope to be more balanced offensively.
“You've got to flush it,” Timian said of the loss. “There's nothing you can do about it now, so we're ready to move on.”