By the Numbers - Indiana Offense
By Jeff Amey
After the big win against Wisconsin a letdown against a 1-7 Indiana team shouldn't have been too much of a surprise. The Buckeyes struggled to a 34-20 win that wasn't really secured until there was less than five minutes left in the fourth quarter, one of the closest games against the Hoosiers since their last loss to them in John Cooper's second season as coach.
For the most part, it wasn't the offense that did the struggling. The Buckeyes had 11 offensive possessions and scored on more than half of them. They had seven plays of more than 20 yards, which is more than they've had in any game except the opener against Akron. It also included the longest run by a quarterback in school history, and their sixth longest run of any kind.
Indiana's defense has traditionally been a cure for whatever ails the offense, but this game wasn't without its issues. Braxton Miller was sacked six times, and of the five playaction pass plays called,, only one of them ended in a throw, and that play lost yardage. In total, those five plays ended with a net loss of 10 yards. The running game was unstoppable. The Buckeyes averaged 7 1/2 yards per carry despite losing 42 yards on those six sacks. Without those, the Buckeyes gained nearly 400 yards rushing and averaged over 9 yards per carry.
We didn't learn a whole lot about the team this week that we didn't already know. Let's get into the stats. Thanks to John Hulslander this week for helping me complete them.
57 Total Plays--399 yards--7.0 yards per play
11 pass (19%)--5/11 for 55 yards 1 INT
46 rush (81%) for 344 yards 4 TD--7.5 ypc
11 Offensive Possessions
Ave. of 5.2 plays--36.3 yards
Ave. Start--OSU 36
First Down--27 plays (47%) for 178 yards
2 pass (7%)--2/2 for 7 yards
25 rush (93%) for 171 yards--6.8 ypc
Ave. gain of 6.6 yards
Second Down--21 plays (37%) for 168 yards
3 pass (14%)--1/3 for 25 yards
18 rush (86%) for 143 yards 3 TD--7.9 ypc
Ave. of 8.1 yards to go
Ave. gain of 8.0 yards
Third Down--9 plays (16%) for 55 yards
6 pass (67%)--2/6 for 23 yards 1 INT
3 rush (33%) for 32 yards 1 TD--10.7 ypc
Ave. of 13.0 yards to go
Ave. gain of 6.1 yards
1/1 for -2 yards
First Downs Earned--16 total
2 by pass
10 by rush
4 by penalty
Two Back Formations--25 plays (44%) for 163 yards
2 pass (8%)--0/2 for 0 yards 1 INT
23 rush (92%) for 163 yards 1 TD--7.1 ypc
Shotgun Formations--15 plays (26%) for 167 yards
7 pass (47%)--5/7 for 55 yards
8 rush (53%) for 112 yards 2 TD--14.0 ypc
Pistol Formations--5 plays (9%) for 26 yards
2 pass (40%)--0/2 for 0 yards
3 rush (60%) for 26 yards--8.7 ypc
One Back Formations--6 plays (11%) for 41 yards
6 rush (100%) for 41 yards--6.8 ypc
Three Back Formations--3 plays (5%) for 8 yards
3 rush (100%) 8 yards 1 TD--2.7 ypc
Victory Formation--3 plays (5%) for -4 yards
3 rush (100%) for -4 yards--(-1.3) ypc
RUN TYPE BREAKDOWN--46 attempts
Counter/Trap--3 (7%) for -11 yards--(-3.7) ypc
Lead Zone/Iso--10 (22%) for 130 yards--13.0 ypc
Option--3 (7%) for 29 yards--9.7 ypc
Outside Zone--2 (4%) for 2 yards--1.0 ypc
Power--10 (22%) for 71 yards 2 TD--7.1 ypc
QB run/scramble--12 (26%) for 78 yards 2 TD--6.5 ypc
Stretch--3 (7%) for 51 yards--17.0 ypc
TEAM--3 (7%) for -4 yards--(-1.3) ypc
Other Stats of Note
~ 3 offensive penalties for 25 yards
~ Ohio State started on the Indiana side of the 50 twice--7 points (1 TD)
~ 4/5 in the red zone (3 TD 1 FG)
~ 6 sacks against and 2 turnovers (1 TD 1 Fumble)
~ 28/57 plays took place on the Indiana side of the 50--(49%)
~ 22/57 plays went for no gain or loss (39%)
~ Number of plays of 10+ yards--11 (19%)
~ 0/11 drives went three and out--(0%)
~ Actual playcall breakdown with sacks/scrambles figured in--19 pass 38 rush
~ Offense if play went for 20+ yards--7 plays for 287 yards--41.0 ypp
~ Offense if play went for less than 20 yards--50 plays for 112 yards--2.2 ypp
The offense was "feast or famine" against the Hoosiers. Well over a third of the Buckeye's plays went for no gain or loss, including six sacks of QB Braxton Miller, and the Buckeyes averaged only 2.2 yards per play on plays that didn't go for over 20 yards. 72% of the total offense in the game came on just 12% of the plays (7). Had this game been against a team with a better defense to eliminate some of those big plays, this might have been a loss.
You have to give the Buckeyes some credit, however, since Indiana played very aggressively on defense, taking chances to try to stop the running game and pressure Miller by attacking the line of scrimmage. That left their defense open to big plays, and when the opportunities were there, the Buckeyes capitalized on them, especially with the run game. You also have to give the Hoosiers credit for coming up with a couple of turnovers and generally wreaking havoc with the offense when they weren't giving up big plays.
In the end, this was a game the Buckeyes won on the talent gap. The Hoosiers have some young playmakers, especially on their offense, the Buckeyes just have a couple more, especially on their offensive line. Let's take a look at the position groups.
I think a lot of Buckeye fans expected the coaching staff to let Braxton Miller throw the ball around a little more against the Hoosiers, and while they did call nearly 20 pass plays for the game, there was still no appreciable improvement in the passing game...yet. Miller didn't start the game that way, however. His first two throws were both nice passes that went for more than 20 yards each. It was a little surprising those two plays accounted for more than 90% of the passing total for the game.
Miller's progress has been slow,and agonizing. Miller is holding the ball too long on some plays staring down his primary and not checking down at all on most plays. He did find a wide open Zach Boren in the first quarter on a checkdown, but that is the exception. He's also not doing a very good job of reading blitzes yet. Experience will be the best cure for these problems, but it was hard to watch Indiana's freshman quarterback hitting three step drop passes over and over again against the Buckeye defense while the Buckeye staff doesn't seem to think those kinds of plays exist.
When it comes to running the ball, Miller's confidence seems to be growing every week. That 81 yard run jump-started the Buckeyes on both sides of the ball, and his 20 yard touchdown run in the third quarter gave the Buckeyes the lead for good. The most impressive thing about his running is his ability to set up a defender with one move, then blow past them without breaking stride. The next 3+ years are going to be fun to watch.
Grade--B Despite the paltry passing numbers, there are indications of improvement. His running ability makes up for a lot of it. That's four rushing touchdowns in the last two games. His biggest play of the game with neither, but the recovery of Boom Herron's fumble in the fourth quarter.
With Jordan Hall out of the mix this week, it was up to Boom Herron and Carlos Hyde to carry the load for the Buckeye offense. Both finished the game with over 100 yards, and three runs of 40 yards or more between them on just 28 carries. This was to be expected against the Hoosier defense, as the Buckeyes usually have a good game on the ground when they play Indiana.
Once again, Carlos Hyde did a good job with his carries, making my early season assessment of him look all the more terrible. With his second straight 100 yard game (he didn't play against Wisconsin), it looks like the running back spot is going to be in fine hands next season.
Grade--A The backs averaged nearly 10 yards per carry against a team attacking to stop the run. Anything less than an "A" against the Hoosiers would've been disappointing.
The Buckeyes only finished this game with five completions, with just three of those going to receivers. They made more of an impact blocking downfield for Braxton Miller and the running backs than they did in the passing game. I find it very hard to believe the receivers never got open against the Hoosier defense. The Big Ten Network doesn't do as good of a job of getting downfield shots, so I have little to go on here from TV coverage, but with Miller locking in on his primary most of the time, there has to be times he missed other receivers open.
Grade--Incomplete There just isn't enough to go on here to grade. The tight ends both did a good job blocking in the run game, though.
Boom Herron might be the main emotional leader for this team, but the leaders on the field have been the offensive line. The Hoosiers defended the Buckeye offense very aggressively which allowed them to rack up a lot of negative plays including six sacks, but the line was also able to open up some huge holes for the backs to get through on their way to nearly 350 yards of rushing.
One minor surprise was freshman Antonio Underwood at right tackle when J. B. Shugarts went out with an injury in the second half. I thought he did a good job on most plays when he was in, and looked better than expected for a freshman. Being able to come in to play adds much needed depth to a group that started the season seemingly very short-handed.
While Miller was sacked six times, very little of that was the line's fault. The Hoosiers were bringing a lot of heat, attacking both "A" gaps (between center and guard) on several plays, outside on others, and sometimes bringing more defenders than the Buckeyes had blockers. Miller took a few hard shots, but did a pretty good job standing in in the face of the pressure.
Grade--B+ It was a better than average day for the line, but the Buckeyes did finish the game with nearly 40% of their plays going for no gain or loss. At least a little bit of the blame for that goes on the line.
At this point, there will be very little in the way of surprise when it comes to the offense until Braxton Miller starts doing more in the passing game. As I've already touched on, it was a little disturbing to see the Indiana QB throwing three step drop passes at will on the Buckeye defense while the Buckeye offense rarely does the same when it seems to be there for the taking.
There were a couple of new wrinkles, most notably an outside stretch play with center Mike Brewster pulling to lead. The Buckeyes ran it three times and gained an average of 17 yards with it. We also saw the Buckeyes attempt a wide receiver screen (it lost two yards) and a fake of the same play that was going to be a long pass except the Hoosiers blitzed the corner on that play to disrupt it.
All in all, it was mostly a lot more of what we've already seen from the offense this season. They used a little less Pistol and more I formation, but it was mostly the same base plays. They got themselves into long third down situations when they were hit with negative plays, but had less than ten third downs in the game. When a team finishes a game with less than 20% of their plays being on third down, it was a successful game.
Grade--B They didn't have to get fancy to beat the Hoosiers. They tried to work on the passing game a little bit, but Indiana was getting too much pressure to get much out of it except experience for Miller against Blitzes.
Other than Drew Basil's two more field goals to extend his streak to 12 makes in a row, there was little on special teams that stood out on Saturday. Coverage was good, as it has been usual this season, as were the two punts by Ben Buchanan. The return game was a little less dynamic with both top returners out, but wasn't terrible.
Grade--B Basil and Buchanan have been unsung heroes for this team this season.