By RICH GIBSON
Talk about a tough act to follow.
If the Buckeyes aren't quite amped-up for Saturday afternoon's conference clash with Indiana, is it any wonder?
From the doom and gloom of a second half meltdown at Nebraska to last week's unforgettable comeback win over Wisconsin, Luke Fickell's Scarlet & Gray have made indisputable progress.
In fact, had OSU held on and beaten the Cornhuskers, they would own a 3-1 ledger in the Leaders Division and be 6-2 overall.
Still, Buckeye Nation has every reason to believe running the remainder of the regular season table is certainly not out of the question.
This, of course, would mean knocking off surging Penn State (8-1, 5-1), Leaders Division frontrunners, then staging a Nov. 26 assault on the Big House and handing Michigan yet another loss.
First things first, however. Which means taking care of business Saturday against a hapless 1-8 Hoosiers' squad, easily the Big Ten's bottom feeders.
It figures to be a feel-good afternoon in the Horseshoe, quite possibly of a name-the-score variety.
A polar opposite, to be sure, from last week's down to the wire prime time thriller when OSU and Wisconsin staged a mini, game-within-a-game final five minutes.
Down 7-3 at halftime, Braxton Miller and Boom Herron combined to lead a third quarter rally, resulting in a 17-14 Bucks' lead as the fourth quarter unfolded.
Ten unanswered tallies, including a 44-yard Miller sprint to the house had the Bucks looking good at 26-14. But Russell Wilson rallied the Badgers for a pair of late scores to seemingly steal a 29-26 decision.
Miller, though, responded with a Terrelle Pryor-like improvised 40-yard bomb to freshman Devin Smith with 20 seconds to play.
Thus, it wasn't difficult excusing a students' midfield stampede as time expired to cap a memorable Saturday evening.
Hard to imagine similar dramatics occurring seven days later, even should the Buckeyes not be properly focused.
Indiana has precious little to hang its hat on nine games into a miserable season under rookie head coach Kevin Wilson.
The carnage includes a lone week three 38-21 triumph of South Carolina State at Bloomington. Though the Hoosiers played Joe Pa within 16-10 Oct. 1, they've since yielded 204 points the past four weeks, including a 59-38 home field reversal to Northwestern last Saturday.
IU is going with a coming of age freshman at quarterback. Tre Roberson (6-0, 184) is an Indianapolis native and the third signal-caller employed by Wilson this season.
Roberson is 43-of-72 through the air, good for 524 yards and two scores. Prior starter and current understudy, sophomore Edward Wright-Baker is 86-of-144 for 979 yards and four scores.
The Hoosiers' running attack is led by 6-0, 228-pound redshirt sophomore Stephen Houston, a Little Rock, Ark. recruit who has a team-leading 577 yards and six TDs via 111 carries.
Roberson adds 267 rushing stripes to the mix with 5-10, 185-pound freshman D'Angelo Roberts also seeing action.
The receiving corps has 6-2, 205-pound sophomore Kofi Hughes with 20 receptions, good for 298 yards and two scores. Another sophomore 6-3, 196-pound Duwyce Wilson lends 17-catch, 217-yard support.
A trio of seniors man O-line positions: 6-5, 294-pound tackle Justin Pagan; 6-6, 285-pound tackle Andrew McDonald; and 6-5, 250-pound tight end Max Dedmond.
The center is 6-2, 282-pound junior Will Matte with a pair of freshmen lined up at guard: 6-2, 263-pound Collin Rahrig and 6-2, 278-pound Bernard Taylor.
Placekicker Mitch Ewald is a perfect 26-of-26 on PATs and has connected in nine of his 11 field goal attempts.
On the defensive side, middle linebacker Jeff Thomas, a 6-1, 239-pound fifth-year senior, has logged a team-high 58 tackles.
Thomas is flanked by fellow fifth-year senior Leon Beckum (5-11, 213) and 6-2, 232-pound redshirt freshman Chase Hoobler.
Senior tackle Adam Replogle (6-3, 290) has recorded a team-best four quarterback sacks. Two other vets on the D-line include 6-0, 243-pound right end Darius Johnson and 6-2, 305-pound junior tackle Larry Black, Jr.
The Hoosiers' secondary features 6-1, 186-pound sophomore corner Greg Heban who's recorded a pair of pass INTs.
Safety Alexander Webb, a 6-0-, 193-pound junior, is the most experienced member of the secondary which includes freshman right corner Michael Hunter (6-1, 170) and 6-2, 202-pound safety Mark Murphy.
Coming off the Wisconsin victory, Herron has 290 yards in two starts. Carlos Hyde continues to top Buckeye ball carriers with 408 yards and five touchdowns.
Miller is moving up the chart at 342 yards and Jordan Hall is contributing 330 yards and two scores.
In seven games, Miller's completion rate is at 52.4 percent, going 33-of-63 for 492 yards and six touchdowns.
Tight end Jake Stoneburner continues as leading receiver (12 catches for 150 yards and six scores). Smith's game-winning reception last week elevates his number to 10 receptions, good for 227 yards and four TDs.
Hall is averaging an impressive 30.2 yards via 15 kickoff returns while kicker Drew Basil has nailed 10 of 12 field goal tries and has yet to misfire on PATs (22-22).
MILLER is the Big Ten's reigning freshman of the week following his 188-yard, three-TD performance last week....He is also just one of three true freshmen starting QBs among FBS schools...
THE Buckeyes own an overwhelming 66-12-5 all-time record vs. Indiana and are on a current 15-game win streak. IU's last triumph over OSU was a 41-7 decision in 1988 at Bloomington...
HERRON'S return is a welcome addition. The Buckeyes are 20-1 during Herron's career when he rushes for 55 yards or better. He totaled 91 yards in 2010's Buckeyes' setback at Wisconsin....Herron is currently second in rushing (2,468) among Big Ten players, trailing only Michigan's Denard Robinson who has totaled 2,832....