A 22-point quarter can cure a lot of ills, and that certainly proved to be the case for the Ohio State Buckeyes in their 2017 regular-season opener against the Indiana Hoosiers at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Indiana Thursday night.
Down by a point at halftime, the second-ranked Buckeyes stormed out of the locker room at halftime, scored three touchdowns and forced four three-and-outs in the third quarter, all of which propelled Ohio State to a 49-21 road win over the Hoosiers in their Big Ten opener.
The first three-time captain in Ohio State history, senior quarterback J.T. Barrett completed 20 of his 35 attempts for 304 yards with three touchdowns, and rushed for another 61 yards on 13 carries. In the first half of the win, Barrett broke the Ohio State record for the most career yards of total offense.
While the passing game came alive in the second half, freshman running back J.K. Dobbins rushed for 181 yards on 29 carries, an average of 6.2 yards per attempt. Dobbins broke the Buckeyes’ debut freshman rushing record set by Maurice Clarett during the 2002 season.
Barrett came out strong in the third quarter, rushing for a two-yard touchdown on the second drive out of halftime, which gave the Buckeyes a 20-14 lead over the Hoosiers.
After Indiana retook the lead, the Buckeyes ratcheted up the pressure on both sides of the ball and scored the next 14 points to seize control of the game for good.
On the first play after Indiana regained the advantage, Barrett swung a pass out to the left side of the formation for junior wide receiver Parris Campbell. After getting a block to spring him from defensive pressure, Campbell sprinted down the sideline 74 yards for a touchdown.
Following another three and out from the Hoosiers, Barrett engineered a five-play, 75-yard drive that resulted in a Buckeyes touchdown. On second and seven from the Ohio State 41-yard line, Barrett slipped a pass over the middle of the field to junior wide receiver Johnnie Dixon, who outraced Indiana’s secondary to the goal line.
In what was his first career start for the Buckeyes, Dixon gave Ohio State a 35-21 lead with 1:47 to play in the third quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter, redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Jashon Cornell registered a strip sack of Indiana quarterback Richard Lagow, and redshirt freshman lineman Jonathon Cooper recovered at the 11-yard line. One play later, Barrett found sophomore wide receiver Binjimen Victor in the left corner of the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown, which gave Ohio State a 42-21 advantage.
The Buckeyes punctuated the victory when sophomore running back Antonio Williams rushed for a five-yard touchdown with 3:55 to play in the fourth quarter. Williams rushed for two touchdowns in the win over the Hoosiers.
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