Buckeyes huge favorites in opener vs. Indiana
Published 5:15 pm Friday, September 1, 2023
By JIM NAVEAU
Ohio State has opened its football seasons by playing well most years in the 30 openers I’ve seen in
But there haven’t been a lot of great, unforgettable first games for the Buckeyes in the last three decades.
On the other end of the spectrum, there haven’t been any losses to someone like Appalachian State, either.
For teams like Ohio State and the rest of the Power Five conference programs opening their seasons
today, playing well and avoiding upsets is probably enough for Week One.
But for the other guys, this weekend is their big opportunity. This is their chance to be the big story in
The truth is anything can happen the first weekend of college football but it usually doesn’t. But the
possibility that upsets might happen is one of the things that makes the openers special.
My favorite Ohio State opener in the last three decades is probably the 1995 team beating Boston
College 38-6 in the Kickoff Classic.
It had nothing to do with surprises. The Buckeyes’ domination on that day showed just how good that
team could be. It was the introduction to how good Terry Glenn was. It was also a game that contained a
statistical oddity. Eddie George rushed for 99 yards, which was the only time in his Heisman Trophy
winning season he was held below 100 yards.
And, from a western Ohio standpoint, it was a good day because both Bob Hoying and Tom Hoying
threw touchdown passes.
The season opener in 1998, when No. 1-ranked Ohio State went to West Virginia and beat the No. 11
Mountaineers 34-17, also was interesting. And not just for what happened on the field. Let’s just say
West Virginia fans are pretty good at the pre-game part of a football Saturday.
So, what will happen today when OSU goes to Indiana? Probably what has happened 28 straight times
– an Ohio State victory over the Hoosiers.
It’s not a matter of if OSU will win, it’s how it will get there.
Will it be an aerial show with newly named starting quarterback Kyle McCord and his back-up, Devin
Brown, throwing to a group of receivers IU will struggle to contain? Will three, four or maybe five OSU
running backs carry the ball?
Will the Buckeyes’ defensive team players, who must be tired by now of hearing questions about
stopping big plays, stop allowing big plays and dominate? Or will it be all of the above?
Indiana seemed headed in the right direction when it won eight games in 2019 and went 6-2 in the
Covid-shortened 2020 season. But the Hoosiers are 6-18 since then and 2-16 in their last 18 Big Ten
Indiana coach Tom Allen brought in 26 transfer players for this season and some of them are highly
rated. Four of Indiana’s transfers were former 4-star recruits. The Hoosiers’ transfers were rated No. 13
nationally as a group by On3.com and No. 15 by 247sports.com.
Ohio State’s inexperience at quarterback has led some people to predict the Buckeyes might start slowly
today. But neither of Indiana’s top two quarterbacks has ever started a college game. And OSU’s
quarterbacks have much better talent around them.
The prediction: Ohio State 42, Indiana 14.