Indiana will play host to No. 5 Ohio State in Bloomington in one of the biggest games on Week 8's schedule. Saturday's Big Ten showdown between the Buckeyes and Hoosiers will be a rematch of one of the bests contests from the 2020 college football season.
The Big Ten began its season later than its counterparts after initially deciding to postpone the campaign during the COVID-19 pandemic but eventually changed course. When the season did start, Ohio State was ready for it and cruised through its first three games, winning them all comfortably. Then the Buckeyes were home to host an upstart Indiana team that had caught many by surprise with a 4-0 start. Despite wins over Penn State and Michigan, few took the Hoosiers seriously and saw Ohio State as a litmus test.
Even in defeat, the Hoosiers passed. Indiana fought back from a 28-7 halftime deficit to pull within 42-35 with over 10 minutes left in the game, but that was as close as they'd get, as neither team would score again. Ultimately, it was the game that would decide the Big Ten East title. Even though Indiana played more games, the Big Ten decided Ohio State's 5-0 record was enough to name them the champion, thanks largely to the win over Indiana -- plus, you know, that whole College Football Playoff thing.
You can bet that'll be on the minds of the Hoosiers when the two meet again Saturday.
Ohio State vs. Indiana: Need to know
C.J. Stroud continues to improve: Earlier this season, particularly after the loss to Oregon, Buckeyes fans questioned whether the freshman should continue as the team's starting quarterback. He was guilty of not playing well enough in their eyes when, in reality, his greatest crime was probably not being as good as Justin Fields. Well, after throwing for eight touchdowns and three interceptions in his first three starts, Stroud missed Ohio State's game against Akron, but he's been phenomenal in the two games since. Against Rutgers and Maryland, Stroud completed 41 of his 56 passes for 736 yards, 10 touchdowns and no interceptions. You aren't hearing nearly as many complaints these days.
TreVeyon Henderson is one of the most exciting players in the country: So far, the 2021 season has lacked top-end quarterbacks but has a plethora of terrific running backs. Add Ohio State freshman TreVeyon Henderson to the growing list of studs toting the rock. Henderson has rushed for 612 yards and nine touchdowns through his first six college games while averaging 8.7 yards per carry. He's been a force in the passing game, as well, catching seven passes for 154 yards and two more touchdowns. Henderson has five plays of 40 yards or more to his name already this season, which ties him for fifth-most nationally and for the most among Power Five players.
Indiana is not living up to preseason expectations: As previously mentioned, Indiana was one of the biggest surprises of 2020, going 6-2 on the season. It was enough to get the Hoosiers to start the season at No. 17 in the AP Top 25, but they didn't stay ranked for long. The Hoosiers opened the season with a 34-6 loss at Iowa, and it's been downhill since. They enter the weekend with a record of 2-4 with their wins coming against Idaho and a Western Kentucky team that's currently 2-4. In its defense, Indiana has played four teams currently ranked in the top 11 of the AP Top 25 (Iowa, Cincinnati, Penn State and Michigan State), but it must be mentioned that the Hoosiers have been outscored 116-45 in those games. Indiana has three games remaining against ranked teams, including Ohio State, but it must find a way to go 4-2 down the stretch if it wants to get back to a bowl game.
How to watch Ohio State vs. Indiana live
Date: Saturday, Oct. 23 | Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Memorial Stadium -- Bloomington, Indiana
TV: ABC | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Ohio State vs. Indiana prediction, picks
It's difficult to go against the Buckeyes here. I'm not in love with either side of this spread, but Ohio State has been the much better team this season of the two. The Buckeyes have found a rhythm offensively after a sluggish start, and while they still aren't great, the defense is also improving. As for Indiana, it will be missing QB Michael Penix, but I'm not sure the move to Jack Tuttle is much of a downgrade at all. The problem the Hoosiers face in this matchup is that a lot of the explosiveness they had on offense has not returned this year, and they've turned the ball over too frequently. Defensively, they can do enough to frustrate the Buckeyes, but I just don't know that their offense can keep pace. Prediction: Ohio State (-19)
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