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Indiana Hoosiers vs. Ohio State Buckeyes Preview and Prediction

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The last time Indiana defeated Ohio State in football was 1988. Ronald Reagan was finishing up his presidency, John Cooper was in his first year of coaching the Ohio State Buckeyes, and Urban Meyer was an assistant coach at Illinois State, working with outside linebackers.

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To be fair, Indiana defeated Ohio State in 1987 and ‘88. In 1987, Indiana came into Ohio Stadium and crushed the Buckeyes, prompting then-Ohio State head coach Earle Bruce to state that this 31-10 defeat was the "darkest day" that Bruce had known since becoming part of the program in 1949. Cooper was on the receiving end of a blistering defeat in Indiana the next season, losing 41-7. The teams tied in 1990, and the Buckeyes have been dominant in this series ever since.

Meyer was a graduate assistant in 1987 to Bruce, and has seen his Ohio State teams struggle with Indiana ever since he became the head coach of the Buckeyes in 2012. While Ohio State is a heavy favorite, Meyer stated, “I mean, for four years in a row it's been a swing as hard as you can, because that's game is going to be — this is by far their best team.”

Indiana at Ohio State

Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 8 at 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN

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Spread: Ohio State -29

1. Can Ohio State Maintain Its Defensive Dominance?
So far this season, the Ohio State defense has only given up two touchdowns and three field goals. All of the other points that the opposing teams have scored have come from an interception returned for a touchdown in the season opener, and a kickoff returned for a touchdown. Indiana comes into this game averaging 29 points per game, with Ohio State leading the nation in scoring defense (9.3 ppg). Something will have to give in this contest.

2. Will Ohio State Have Another Sluggish Start?
Against Tulsa in week two, Ohio State was tied with the Golden Hurricane at 3-3. At Oklahoma the next Saturday, Ohio State led 14-7 after the first quarter. Even though Ohio State eventually overwhelmed Rutgers, the Buckeyes only led 6-0 after the first quarter of last week’s game. Can the Buckeyes come out with a faster start against the Hoosiers?

3. Ohio State Cannot Allow Indiana to Remain Close
Last week against Michigan State, Indiana was down 14-0 in the third quarter, but slowly and surely began to come back, eventually winning in overtime 24-21. As stated earlier, Indiana has played tough against the Buckeyes every year, so Ohio State must keep their foot on the gas against a Hoosiers team that has no quit in it.

Final Analysis

Urban Meyer has been keeping an eye out for any signs of complacency or laziness, and this Indiana Hoosiers team may provide more of a challenge than the average college football fan truly understands. While Ohio State is heavily favored, look for this one to stay interesting until the fourth quarter. The Buckeyes have too much speed throughout their roster for the Hoosiers to be able to keep pace all game.

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Prediction: Ohio State 42, Indiana 17

— Written by Chip Minnich, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @ChipMinnich.