Indiana's offensive stars were at their best, yet it wasn't enough to overthrow Big Ten power Ohio State.
The No. 9 Hoosiers' comeback bid was denied as time expired, losing 42-35 to the third-ranked Buckeyes on Saturday.
Indiana sophomore quarterback Michael Penix Jr. and senior receiver Ty Fryfogle each had career days. Penix threw for 491 passing yards and five touchdowns, while Fryfogle broke his own career records for the third consecutive week, registering 218 yards and three scores.
Despite their great performances, Ohio State’s offense outgained Indiana in total yardage, 607 to 490, which was the difference maker.
The Buckeyes (4-0) did major damage after Indiana tied it at 7-7, early in the second quarter. From there, Ohio State scored 21 consecutive points to take a commanding 28-7 lead at halftime.
“It was very disappointing in the first half, we came out sloppy,” Fryfogle said. “We got to find a way to put four quarters together.”
The deficit worsened as quarterback Justin Fields led the Buckeyes down the field in the opening drive of the second half. He connected with Garrett Wilson in the end zone for the second time to stretch the lead to 35-7 with 12:10 left in the third quarter.
Indiana (4-1) rallied with big plays in the passing game with 63- and 33-yard passing touchdowns from Penix to Fryfogle to trim the deficit to 35-21 seven minutes later.
While the passing attack soared, the Hoosiers abandoned the run, making the offense predictable and limited. For the game, Indiana ran for minus-1 yards on 16 attempts.
The defense kept the Hoosiers in the game as they continually gave Fields trouble. Fields made big plays in the air and on his feet, but he also threw three interceptions.
Indiana defensive back Jamar Johnson, who had two of the interceptions, attributed the defensive success to forcing Fields into indecisive situations.
“We’ll show different coverage. We were just messing up his reads,” Johnson said. “He mainly likes to look at one receiver, he doesn’t really go through his progressions that much ... we were just disguising our coverages.”
One of Johnson’s interceptions never gave Indiana an offensive opportunity, though. He fumbled the ball at the Ohio State 18-yard line after he intercepted it early in the third quarter.
Johnson’s miscue was one of a plethora of missed chances for Indiana throughout the game.
Fryfogle and sophomore receiver David Ellis both had key mistakes, early on that could have helped Indiana avoid the large deficit had they not occurred.
As Indiana marched into Ohio State territory in the first quarter, Fryfogle dropped a pass that would have converted on fourth-and-2. Ellis fumbled the ball on Ohio State’s 7-yard line as Indiana was driving on what looked to be a scoring drive when trailing 21-7.
“In games like this, those kind of plays, there’s two or three of those in a seven-point game, those become the difference,” Indiana coach Tom Allen said.
Despite the missed chances, Indiana did get the ball on the final possession with 38 seconds left try and tie it. They started from their 34-yard line and the game ended on a failed lateral play.
It extended Ohio State's streak to 26 straight wins over the Hoosiers.