More than 200 years ago, when Ben Franklin said that nothing was certain except death and taxes, he obviously did not consider that Ohio State and Indiana would be playing football into the 21st century. This one had a familiar feel, as well: The Buckeyes were sweating for a while. Leaves are awarded on a zero-to-five basis. — Ray Stein

Offense

4 leaves

Since it’s so early in the semester, the teacher will be a little more lenient in his grades. So let’s overlook the drops, ignore the unsightly three-and-outs and focus instead on the gaudy final numbers: 49 points and 596 yards. Such totals sure didn’t seem possible in the occasional muck of the first half.

Defense

Three leaves

Cornerbacks Denzel Ward, Damon Arnette and Kendall Sheffield must feel like steel ducks at the county fair being plucked off by Annie Oakley, the way Indiana pestered them with flung pigskin. That front seven, though, wore down the Hoosiers until they could finally punch through the wall.

Special teams

Three leaves

New punter Drue Chrisman lacks the accent and the rugby punch but he acquitted himself well with a 45.3-yard average on six punts and, more important, it was all net. The OSU kicking game was solid enough, though the kickoffs should probably sail a little closer to the goal line on a consistent basis.

Coaching

Three leaves

The offseason whispers about the passing game sort of made you wonder what all the hubbub was about, especially after a full string of J.T. Barrett misfires. Whoever made the call to feed J.K. Dobbins made the right one; the Buckeyes had to keep their defense off the field, and that did the trick.

Fun

Three leaves

For the self-proclaimed “biggest game in program history,” Indiana did not exactly have to turn fans away. Those in crimson and cream who did show up were full of throat while their fun lasted, but in the end it still felt like OSU maintained its traditional road-field advantage in Bloomington.

Opponent

Three leaves

Would anyone have been surprised to see Indiana QB Richard Lagow wearing an ice pack on his right arm while the IU defense was on the sideline? He looked like another No. 21 — Roger Clemens — the way he kept firing seeds. In the end, the Hoosiers were game but lacking the bodies to match up for 60 minutes.

Officiating

Three leaves

Replay twice did its job, both to Indiana’s rightful benefit. First came a toe-dragging touchdown catch, which was a tough naked-eye call. Later, a rather obvious incompletion by Lagow originally was ruled a fumble and OSU TD return. It didn’t matter in the end.

rstein@dispatch.com

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