Ohio State Football: Buckeyes Open Season Against Indiana

Ohio State running out of the tunnel vs Notre Dame | Image Credit: The Ohio State University Department of Athletics
Ohio State running out of the tunnel vs Notre Dame | Image Credit: The Ohio State University Department of Athletics

The Ohio State Buckeyes are back in action Saturday afternoon as they head to Bloomington to open the year against the Indiana Hoosiers.

For the second time in three years, the Buckeyes will open the year with a conference battle on the road, as they opened the year at Minnesota two years ago. The Buckeyes are not just expected to win but win big. The spread has come in at -29.5, with the over/under hovering around 59.5 total points.

There are a mixture of questions and excitement entering the 2023 season for Ohio State, which is coming off of a heartbreaking end to the year, with a home loss to That Team Up North followed by a one-point loss to the eventual National Champion Georgia Bulldogs after a missed field-goal chance to win the game.

Saturday afternoon will answer some of the off-season questions that have been lingering into the summer, starting with the quarterback situation.

Ryan Day announced early Tuesday afternoon, just four days prior to the opening game, that Junior quarterback Kyle McCord will take the opening snaps for the Buckeyes, but that redshirt freshman Devin Brown will also see time. Both options can be expected to perform well against an underwhelming and shaky Indiana defense.

There are also some questions about the defense giving up big plays and getting to the quarterback more frequently, as well as the offensive line after three NFL draft picks from the group.

Aside from these few concerns, there are many things to like about this team and the matchup against the Hoosiers. The Bucks return a plethora of talent on offense, mainly with the skill positions. The trio of running backs Miyan Williams (817 yards, three touchdowns), Treveyon Henderson (571 yards, six touchdowns, and Dallan Hayden (510 yards, five touchdowns) all return in the backfield, rankings 6th, 12th, and 16th in the conference in rush yards per game when they played.

The 1-2 punch at wide receiver is the best in the country, with both receivers potentially being top-10 draft picks in the NFL draft next year. Marvin Harrison, in my opinion a potential Heisman finalist, put up 1,157 yards and 12 touchdowns last year which was good for second in the Big Ten. Emeka Egbuka finished fourth, posting an impressive 1,039 yards and nine touchdowns, and wide receiver three Julian Fleming recorded 462 yards and six touchdowns.

The wide receiver room remains as loaded as ever, with other talented options with Jayden Ballard, Block O recipient Xavier Johnson, and freshman Carnell Tate, Brandon Innis, Noah Rogers, and Kojo Antwi. The trio of Cade Stover, Joe Royer, and Gee Scott Jr. will hold down the tight end group who showed flashes last season.

This high-powered offense who led the conference in scoring offense, passing yards per game, offensive efficiency and was third in rushing yards per game, should light up the scoreboard against the Hoosiers who allowed 33.9 points per game (last in the Big Ten).

I expect whoever starts at quarterback to have minimal problems against the Hoosiers secondary who also finished last in the Big Ten allowing 274.2 passing yards per game and only having seven interceptions.

The Silver Bullets should have little concern getting acclimated right away with a boast of experience coming back in all three phases. The defensive line returns J.T. Tuimoloau, Jack Sawyer, Michael Hall Jr, amongst others and have great young depth behind them. The group had the fourth most sacks in the conference last season.

Tommy Eichenberg and Steele Chambers hold down the middle of the field with redshirt freshman C.J. Hicks expected to make some plays as well. A group including Lathan Ransom, Denzel Burke, Sonny Styles, and Josh Proctor headline the secondary that had moments but also were known for giving up big plays. Matching up against an underwhelming passing and scoring offense should allow the group to settle into the new season and make adjustments.

With much bigger tests, especially on the road, later in the season, I expect a big win for the Buckeyes as many others do. Ohio State has a 28-game win streak against the Hoosiers, winning 56-14 last season.

Prediction: Ohio State 45 Indiana 10