Scully’s NCAAF takeaways: Indiana comes up short against Ohio State
Thanksgiving week is always an important stretch for college football.
Ten games are scheduled for Friday, including an ACC showdown between Notre Dame and North Carolina, and Saturday has a full slate, as well.
Here are my top three takeaways from Week 12.
Indiana torches Ohio State secondary, but comeback falls short
Indiana started sluggishly, failed to score on its first five possessions, and trailed Ohio State, 28-7, at halftime. The Buckeyes managed to escape with a 42-35 victory, after their pass defense collapsed in the second half.
Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr. put up 491 passing yards and five touchdowns, and receiver Ty Fryfogle had seven catches for 218 yards and three scores. Indiana did whatever it wanted in the second half, but the slow start, coupled with four turnovers, wound up costing the Hoosiers in the end.
This isn’t the same Ohio State team from last year, especially on defense.
Ohio State featured the nation’s second-best pass defense in 2019, but it lost three starters from the secondary (Jeff Okudah, Damon Arnette, and Jordan Fuller) to the NFL. When cornerback Cameron Brown went down with a season-ending Achilles injury in October, the Buckeyes were left with only four healthy upperclassmen at the position.
It’s a similar situation for Clemson, which has had its outstanding defense raided by the NFL. Both teams are down defensively this season. They’ve recruited well, but young players often make mistakes, and talented freshmen are being thrown into the fire.
After they allowed the most passing yards in program history against Indiana, the Buckeyes rank 114th nationally against the pass.
Northwestern dominates Wisconsin
Northwestern is the most underrated team in the nation. Transfer quarterback Peyton Ramsey has elevated the offense, and the defense is special.
In Week 12, No. 10 Wisconsin did not score in the second half of a 17-7 loss to the Wildcats. The Northwestern defense has given up only seven second-half points in five games this season.
Bettors were slow to catch up to Northwestern, as the Wildcats were a seven-point home underdog to Wisconsin. The Wildcats forced five turnovers, and the Badgers failed to score on their final 14 possessions.
Wisconsin was averaging 47 points per game.
Northwestern is on a collision course with Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game on Dec. 19. The Wildcats should arrive in Indianapolis with an 8-0 record, with dates against Michigan State, Minnesota, and Illinois to end the regular season.
Oklahoma, Iowa State emerging in Big 12
Oklahoma and Iowa State are peaking at the right time.
In Week 12, the Sooners took any suspense out of Bedlam, jumped out to a 21-7 first-quarter lead against Oklahoma State, and cruised to a 41-13 victory.
The Cyclones destroyed Kansas State, held a 35-0 at halftime, and outgained their rival by a 539-149 margin in total yards.
With West Virginia and Baylor remaining, Oklahoma has the easier path to the Big 12 Championship Game. Iowa State will face a tough test against Texas in Week 13, then will conclude the regular season with West Virginia.
Iowa State prevailed in a 37-30 thriller over Oklahoma in Week 5, and it promises to be another high-scoring affair if the improving teams meet again at AT&T Stadium on Dec. 19.