By Bryant Billing
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Indiana’s Memorial Stadium has long been a second home for Ohio State fans, who biennially travel to Bloomington and pack the place when the Buckeyes play there.
After Saturday, it can be considered a home away from home for J.K. Dobbins, too.
Dobbins ran for 193 yards and one touchdown on 22 carries and caught a touchdown pass as the Buckeyes opened Big Ten play by routing the Hoosiers 51-10.
Dobbins, a junior, ran for 181 yards in his first career game when Ohio State beat the Hoosiers 49-21 in Bloomington in 2017.
“I tried not to think about it too much before the game, but I knew this is where my career started basically,” Dobbins said. “Coming here is a blessing, every time I play the game here. I appreciate this place.”
Ohio State scored touchdowns on four of its six drives in the first half and added a safety after a blocked punt by Chris Olave to take a 30-10 lead by halftime. Dobbins scored his second touchdown of the day on a 4-yard run to cap off the first drive of the third quarter and erase any momentum Indiana had after scoring a late touchdown in the second.
Like last week’s thumping of Cincinnati, Dobbins did most of his work in the first half. He ran for 175 yards on 20 carries in the first half and got the ball twice in the second half.
It was backup Master Teague III who ran over Indiana in the second half. He had 106 rushing yards on 10 carries.
Ohio State had 528 yards of offense, with 314 coming on the ground and 214 coming from passing. Starting quarterback Justin Fields completed 14-of-24 passes for 199 yards and three touchdowns.
“I’m proud of our offensive staff,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. “… We’ve gone from a passing attack last year to now starting to run the ball. I think that shows the versatility of our offense. We can do both.
“When you can have a balanced attack, it’s important. But when you can run the ball, you can really control the game, and that’s what we did today.”
The squad’s defense had another big defensive showing. Indiana managed 257 total yards of offense on 67 plays, including 42 rushing yards on 31 carries. The Hoosiers were a combined 4 for 19 on third- and fourth-down conversion tries.
The Buckeyes recorded five sacks and had 12 tackles for loss.
“I think the D-line has controlled the line of scrimmage as well,” Day said. “They have created some sacks and turnovers. We can get teams in a throwing situation. I think it is an advantage for us.”
Though Indiana hasn’t won more than six games in a season this decade, it has been able to be competitive in matchups with the Buckeyes, at least for a while — including last year when it was within nine points heading into the fourth quarter.
That trend stopped this year, as the No. 6 Buckeyes (3-0, 1-0 Big Ten) pulled away by halftime.
Fields scored on a 3-yard run with 7:28 left in the first to put the squad ahead 7-0. After the Hoosiers (2-1, 0-1) made a field goal late in the quarter, the Buckeyes scored the next 23 points.
Olave hauled in a 37-yard touchdown pass with 11:26 left in the second and followed about a minute later with a blocked punt that resulted in a safety to push the lead to 16-3.
K.J. Hill caught a 9-yard TD pass from Fields and Dobbins ran for a 26-yard TD to increase the lead to 30-3. The Hoosiers narrowed the gap to 20 points at halftime after a 49-yard TD pass from receiver Donavan Hale to tight end Peyton Hendershot.
“In my mind, we have established a standard how we’re going to play on both sides of the football and on special teams and in all three phases weren’t good enough today,” Indiana coach Tom Allen said. “Nothing but respect for the Buckeyes and their staff and their team. They’re an excellent football team, and they played at a high level today, and we didn’t match it.”