Buckeyes take on Hoosiers
COLUMBUS – Hoosiers and history are on the checklist for No. 4 Ohio State this Saturday.
The Buckeyes carry a 22-game winning streak into their one-sided series against Indiana – the longest active major-college streak.
On top of that, however, if the Buckeyes win they’ll eclipse the school record set by the 1967-69 Ohio State teams.
That accomplishment comes only if they take care of business, however.
“Right now, we’re just focusing on beating Indiana,” center Corey Linsley said. “Because Indiana doesn’t really care about our winning streak.”
Even coach Urban Meyer, who runs screaming from just about anything other than the X’s and O’s of the next game, says it would be an impressive accomplishment.
“Any time a player plays at a place like Ohio State, and you can make a name for yourself or a dent in this great tradition, that is certainly worth being recognized,” Meyer said.
The Buckeyes (10-0, 6-0) can also clinch a division title and a spot in the Big Ten championship game.
Here are five things to watch for in the game:
GET YOUR POINTS HERE: Ohio State won last year’s matchup, 52-49. This year, the two offenses may be even better – they’re combining for more than 1,000 yards per game. Plus, the defenses may be worse.
“Defensively, it’s a couple teams that have given up some points,” Indiana coach Kevin Wilson said.
Don’t be shocked if 40 points are scored – by the end of the first quarter.
FAILING HISTORY: The Buckeyes have made it an almost annual occurrence to beat the Hoosiers. Not only are they a 32-point favorite this time around, but they’ve won the last 17 meetings with Indiana.
Amazingly, that’s still not their longest streak in the series. The Buckeyes did not lose to the Hoosiers from 1952 to 1986, going 31-0-1 and winning the last 23 in that span.
MOVING ON UP: Ohio State is third in the BCS rankings and needs to impress voters and the computers over its final two games plus a potential date with Michigan State in the Big Ten title game.
Meyer is angry with himself that he’s been distracted by all of the BCS talk, and that in turn his players have been distracted by it.
“When I started getting asked questions about the BCS, (I should have just said), ‘Move on,'” Meyer said. “Because (the players) watch me and I’m saying, ‘Don’t pay attention to it’ and I’m paying attention to it. Then it’s a mixed message. But the best thing they can do is just play.”
CLOSING STRONG: The Hoosiers (4-6, 2-4) need to win their final two games – they finish up at home against archrival Purdue on Nov. 30 – to be bowl-eligible.
If they were to accomplish that, it would be Indiana’s first bowl trip since the 2007 Insight Bowl and only the second since 1993. But it’ll take a huge upset, first.
“With two weeks to go, (we still have a) chance for a bowl opportunity,” Wilson said. “Our goal is always constant improvement. I just met with our leaders, our seniors. I need their best two weeks. We need to get better on offense from a week ago. We’ve got a great challenge this week, and we have to bring every phase of our defense along.”
SENIOR LIVING: Ohio State bids a fond adieu to 18 seniors, along with redshirt junior CB Bradley Roby who has already announced he’s giving up his final season of eligibility to jump into the NFL draft.
“It’s been a great ride,” said OL Jack Mewhort, who was on a 2011 team that went 6-7 and then experienced the other extreme by not losing since.
“I owe everything, I owe who I am to this university and this program. It’s going to mean a lot to me running out for my last time.”