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Indiana vs #9 Ohio State Pointspread Prediction

10/3/09

Folks are getting excited with this Hoosiers Football team this year, and why not. A 3-1 start and almost knocking off Michigan last week. This week they host The Ohio State Buckeyes and a win here would obviously shoot this team and program into the National spotlight. Even still, oddsmakers and bettors aren't giving them much respect as Ohio State opened as a -16.5 favorite and now stands at -17.5.

With Penn State going down last week to Iowa, Ohio State now takes over as the favorite to win the Big Ten. Ohio State is 3-1 on the year with their lone loss being USC. Since their loss to USC, Ohio State has been playing very good football. They have pitched two back to back shutouts against Tulsa and Illinois. This defense has really come into its own, and with the offense starting to get in rhythm Ohio State is going to be tough to beat for the Big 10 title. Indiana came into its game last week against Michigan 3-0, and they almost left Ann Arbor 4-0. Michigan had to score 15 points in the 4th quarter to get the come from behind 36-33 win. Indiana is looking to prove to the rest of the Big 10 that they are no longer a push over, and that they are here to win. If they are able to get a victory over #9 Ohio State the rest of the Big 10 will have to respect this Indiana football team in more than just basketball.

OHIO STATE’S KEY TO VICTORY

This Ohio State defense was embarrassed in their opener against Navy. They were able to get the win, but Navy was able to move the ball very well and it seemed Ohio State was lost on the field. Ever since that game this Buckeye defense has stepped up to the plate. They played USC very well only giving up 18 points and just over 300 yards of total offense. Then they followed that performance up with a 38-0 shutout against Toledo, and a 30-0 shutout to an Illinois team that was in the Rose Bowl just a year ago. Even more impressive they only gave up 170 yards of total offense in their win over Illinois. In their victories the main thing they have done is win the battle in the trenches. They held Toledo to 13 yards rushing and Illinois to 92 yards. If they want to avoid an upset like so many other Top 10 teams have not been able to do they will need to once again control the trenches and stop Indiana’s talent running back duo Demetrius McCray and Darius Willis.

INDIANA’S KEY TO VICTORY


Indiana was able to keep the Michigan defense on their heels with the balanced attack they had last Saturday. QB Ben Chappell went 21/38 for 270 yards and RB Darius Willis rushed the ball 16 times for 152 yards and 2 TDs. This Buckeye defense is big and fast, and the only way to slow them down is to be able to keep them guessing. If Indiana is able to establish the run to open up the passing game, and is creative with their play calling they are more than capable of keeping this one close.

THE FINAL VERDICT

This Ohio State team is still looking to find their rhythm, but they are getting there. The defense is their biggest strength, and that alone will make them the favorite in every game they have remaining on their regular season schedule. Defense wins championships and this is a very good defense that will give their offense every opportunity to be put in good positions to succeed. Indiana is a much underrated team with a balanced offense. If they can score early and get the lead and start to make the Buckeyes worry about the upset they can keep this one very close.

It's tempting to back the Hoosiers here. The team is pumped. The students are pumped. The alumni are pumped. All aknowledge that this game is huge for this program. Huge because, unlike in years past, any believe Indiana can win it. We'd be a little more eager to jump on the bandwagon here if Indiana's wins this year were impressive blowouts. But they weren't. They barely got by Eastern Kentucky and Western Michigan. They are likely not much better than Toledo and Illinois, both losing to Ohio State 38-0.

The adrenalin alone may keep this one close for the first half but the talent gap here should become more apparent as the game goes on. Getting +17.5 sure does leave lots of room for a cover here, and if Ohio State plays anything like they did in the Navy game, this one could get interesting. But we're going to side with the Buckeyes here. Just a weak call though. Ohio State -17.5

 

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