It will be interesting to see whether Minnesota sells out to stop the Ohio State running game on Saturday in much the same fashion as Indiana did a week ago.
But as effective as the Hoosiers were in making life tough for running backs J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber, they watched the Buckeyes exploit the weaknesses that scheme left in the pass defense. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. threw for 455 yards (three short of the school record) and a school record-tying six touchdowns.
Take this play for example — let’s call it “Stack right, Z seam-corner” for short. It produced a 39-yard TD pass, the first of the day, from Haskins to Johnnie Dixon, and it no doubt will be on the call sheet against the Gophers.
Though the Hoosiers usually had two safeties deep on sure passing downs, on this particular first-and-10 at the IU 39 they were caught in a bind as Ohio State employed its uptempo attack. The Buckeyes put Dixon up on the line tight to the formation to the right and stacked Parris Campbell behind him. Tight end Rashod Berry was off the line and between them and the tackle, Terry McLaurin was split wide to the left and Weber was lined up next to Haskins in the shotgun.
Indiana wound up with seven defenders inside the tackle box, and they all bit on the play-action fake to Weber before Haskins rolled back and to the right. He was supposed to have an escort in left guard Malcolm Pridgeon, who had pulled to the right but tripped.
It didn’t matter. Dixon sprinted off the line straight up the right inside seam, got over the top of his defender, then bent left. Haskins launched his pass before an IU defender could reach him and hit Dixon in stride in the left corner of the end zone.