Ohio State football is bowl-eligible after a 49-26 win over Indiana on Saturday.
Lots of factors will determine what caliber of bowl they will be invited to, and several were more apparent Saturday than others.
Here are five takeaways from Ohio State’s victory:
1. Dwayne Haskins is still really good.
New superlatives are already running low to use on the scintillating sophomore.
Just six games into his career, Haskins has already four 300-yard passing games. That is tied for second-most in an Ohio State career and three shy of Joe Germaine’s school record.
“I feel like we have a really dynamic group,” Haskins said. "Have a great group of guys, great talent across the board, a lot of depth and today was making plays when they mattered the most, whether it was passing or throwing. Everybody did a good job executing when we needed it.”
Haskins threw for 455 yards against Indiana, missing Art Schlichter’s single-game school record by just three.
He has 25 touchdown passes, tied with Todd Beockman and Germaine for No. 5 in school history for a season.
2. Pass defense is still a concern.
Indiana quarterback Peyton Ramsey entered the game averaging 207.8 yards passing per game. He passed that mark in the first half when he completed 17 of 29 passes for 239 yards.
Ramsey finished with 322 yards and three aerial scores. Seven of his completions were good for 15 yards or more, including four of at least 30 yards.
On the bright side, the Hoosiers managed only 89 total yards in the second half.
“Really didn’t make adjustments (at halftime),” defensive coordinator Greg Schiano said. “We went over what we did wrong and said, ‘Look if we execute this, we’re going to do fine,’ and that’s really the truth. We’re not doing a good enough job coaching consistent execution. You could say, ‘Well the players aren’t doing it.’ Well, we do this for a living. When we consistently executed it, they really couldn’t do anything. When we didn’t, they had their way.”
3. The Ohio State running game can stand to improve.
A high standard exists here, but no one is scarlet and gray is running from it.
J.K. Dobbins ran for 82 yards but needed 26 carries while Mike Weber added 70 yards on 13 tries.
Ohio State tallied 154 yards total, averaging a paltry 3.2 yards per rush.
Urban Meyer wants to see more.
“Offensively had a lot of yards, still not doing what we need to do in the run game, and that's something that's alarming,” the head coach said. “So we've just got to continue to work on that.”
4. Meyer felt OK afterward.
The Ohio State coach appeared to need medical attention at one point late in the game, going to a knee at one point on the sideline and speaking with team trainers.
He said afterward he had a temporary headache, the recurrence of an issue that has bothered him in the past, but he never felt like he might need to leave the field.
5. There was a bit of a Penn State hangover.
Haskins indicated practice wasn’t as sharp as it has been coming off a thrilling, come-from-behind win at Penn State last week, but the Buckeyes muddled through.
“I'm not going to lie, we probably are still tired from last week,” Haskins said. “Definitely were a little low in energy during the practice during the week, but the best thing about today, we found a way to win. Even though it wasn't pretty at all times throughout the game, football is about overcoming adversity.”
Of course, the end result — a 23-point win — was much better than the 55-24 shellacking Ohio State absorbed at Iowa a week after a one-point win at Penn State last season.
“We practiced very hard this week after getting in at 3:30 in the morning,” Meyer said. “We were worried about that a little bit. The heat was there again all week, but you get out fo those things and you go work on, fix some issues. That’s what the game’s all about.”