It wasn’t always pretty, and there were times in the first half where many OSU fans were triggered with visions of a paw print on the side of the helmet, but the Buckeyes were able to get it done. The stat lines will look good in the morning with a cup of coffee, and all in all it’s a decent start to the season for a team with high expectations again. Here are three takeaways from OSU’s defeat of Indiana in its first game of the college football season.
The Passing Game is Still a Work in Progress
Anyone hoping to see Ohio State passing game go from 0 to 60 since Clemson game has to be disappointed. Could still happen. Could.
— Rob Oller (@rollerCD) September 1, 2017
If you were drinking from the cup of eternal optimism that was flowing like milk and honey out of Columbus during camp, you were likely expecting J.T. Barrett to shoot lightning bolts out of his ars and drop dimes all over the field. That didn’t happen — especially in the first half.
In fact, the bulk of the thirty minutes looked more like the Ohio State that got run over by Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl last year, than a new and improved version of the Scarlet and Gray passing machine we’ve all heard about. Ryan Day and Kevin Wilson were brought to Columbus to get the J.T. Barrett 2.0 model up and functional with a green receiving corps, but it just wasn’t there in the first half.
Sure some plays were made in the second half, but there’s still signs of smoldering smoke with this passing attack that we saw last year. You have to expect some development, so at least there’s hope that the second half was more of what we’ll see than the pedestrian first half.
J.K. Dobbins is a Stud
J.K. Dobbins now has the most rushing yards for a true freshman in his Ohio State debut. https://t.co/emy0G6WX61
— Eleven Warriors (@11W) September 1, 2017
Mike Weber who?
True freshman J.K. Dobbins got the start because of a hamstring injury Weber was still nursing, and Ohio State might have just stumbled across its next big star. I don’t know how else to say this other than Dobbins gives the Buckeyes more at running back than Weber does. And that’s not taking anything away from No. 25.
Look, I know the incumbent starter went over 1,000 yards last year as a freshman, but you watched the same game I did. Dobbins has better breakaway ability and can make people miss in the open field more than Weber can ever dream of doing. On top of that, the kid came out of the box ready for college football with uncanny strength for a freshman. All the kid did was break the all-time freshman single-game rushing record at Ohio State by going for 181 yards on 29 carries.
Now the coaching staff has to figure out how to handle this going forward.
The Buckeyes Have a Leaky Secondary
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 1, 2017
When it’s all said and done, I think we’re going to see that the Hoosier passing attack is fairly prolific this year, but boy does OSU miss the guys it lost last year via the NFL draft. Time and time again, Indiana QB Richard Lagow went with back-shoulder throws on the outside with man coverage, and time and time again Ohio State was outmatched.
In the end, the coaching staff finally got wise and bracketed safeties over to help out the corners, but I feel as though it’s time for a public service announcement here. Next week, Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma come calling in the Horseshoe and there’s a good chance they’ll fire up the film on this one. There’s also a better than good chance it has the personnel to exploit the weakness on the back-end more than what Indiana did.
And things don’t end there. After the Sooners, Penn State’s Trace McSorley and company will also get a shot at testing out this rebuilt secondary. The DBs have to play better as a unit if OSU has designs of crashing the College Football Party again.
Phil Harrison is a contributor to Talking10 and the featured Big Ten writer for Collegefootballnews.com. You can get his analysis and opinion all year long on Talking10.com. You can follow him on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFB