BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Film doesn’t lie; scoreboards don’t confuse. Indiana gave itself a chance against No. 3 Ohio State on a stifling hot Saturday because its defense rose to the challenge.|

“There are no moral victories with us,” linebacker Aaron Casey said in the aftermath of the 23-3 season-opening loss at Memorial Stadium. “We didn’t get the job done, but we also see the positives. We see what we can do as the season goes on.”

In front of a crowd of more than 50,000, IU’s defense never broke against Ohio State, annually one of the nation’s best offensive teams, and its heralded receiving group.

“It’s not about who they are or what they have,” Casey said. “We have to bow up and play.”

And so the Hoosier defense did, again and again.

“Can you bow up when you’re exhausted and make a play against an elite team,” head coach Tom Allen said. “Our guys showed that.”

IU held Ohio State to 380 total yards, had an interception from safety Phillip Dunnam, and nearly got two more. It held quarterback Kyle McCord, making his first college start, to 20-for-33 for 239 yards.

That included holding two of the nation’s best receivers, Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka, to a combined five catches for 34 yards.

“You don’t know until you do it,” Allen said. “I was concerned about that matchup. Those receivers are special. To keep those guys in check was critical.

“It was a combination of pressure up front and coverage. We mix things up. We confuse people.

“We dropped two picks. We’ve got to make those plays, but I’m very encouraged by our secondary. We have a lot to build on and be excited about.”

IU didn’t get a sack, but did get five tackles for loss, including two from defensive end Andre Carter in his first Hoosier game after transferring from Western Michigan.

“We’ve been putting in a ton of work,” Carter said. “We did some good things today, but we have a lot to work on.

“Their O-line works well together. You have to find their tendencies. I was able to find some and do some big things.”

Added Casey: “Andre is a dog. I know how hard he works. He gives you everything he’s got every play.”

Still, IU remains winless against Ohio State since 1988.

“There’s a lot of disappointment in the locker room,” Allen said. “We’ll make corrections.”

Indiana’s quarterback question will need a two-game answer. Brendan Sorsby and Tayven Jackson, who had a combined six college completions on their resumes before Saturday, will be evaluated after Friday night’s Indiana State game to determine a starter. They were told a couple of weeks ago that it would be a two-game process.

“You have the spring, summer, and August camp,” Allen said. “You never get hit. It’s not full bore.

“They needed to play in a game. They are so similar, we decided the best thing to do was let them both play. We didn’t have a pitch count. We need game time to do a complete evaluation.”

Sorsby started. After two possessions without a first down, Jackson got his shot. He played until late in the third quarter, when Sorsby returned.

Sorsby finished 8-for-16 for 58 yards. Jackson was 1-for-5 for 28 yards. Neither threw an interception. Jackson directed the only scoring drive.

“They both did some good things,” Allen said. “They both made some mistakes. We’ve got to do a better job of executing.”

IU will, said receiver Cam Camper, who led the way with three catches for 35 yards.

“They’re young, It’s going to take some time. We’ll figure it out, what we need to accomplish.”

Moving forward, Allen said he wants a more aggressive offensive approach, including more deep throws. He said seven or eight deep throws were called, and on a couple of those, quarterback pressure took them away.

Poor field position, a couple caused by special teams penalties, limited IU’s offensive aggressiveness.

“We were a little more conservative than I’d like to be,” Allen said. “I want to see it grow each week.

“As a system, we have to get better. We have to keep working. We know what’s ahead of us. I want to see a lot of growth between Week 1 and Week 2.”

James Evans showed why he’s one of the nation’s best punters. He averaged 54.2 yards on his six punts, with a long of 60. Allen said Evans kicked so much in the offseason, he told him to back off.

“My big thing is consistency,” Allen said. “He works his tail off. Sometimes he kicks way too much. He’s such a hard worker. He’s a big weapon for us.”

Jaylin Lucas totaled 114 yards, including 51 on punt returns and 38 on kickoffs. The heat caused him to cramp.

“I hydrated well before the game,” he said. “I have to hydrate way more.”

Lucas is returning punts for the first time. Last year he was inconsistent catching the ball, and worked hard over the summer with Evans.

“It’s a difficult skill set,” Allen said. “He can be a huge weapon.

“Offensively, we have to continue to find ways to get him the ball in space. That’s where he’s most dangerous.”

Added Lucas: “I’m confident. I can make things happen on special teams. I want to have a winning mentality.”

IU punted on its first possession. Ohio State drove for a touchdown on its first attempt.

Dunnam’s second-quarter interception not only ended a potential Buckeye scoring drive, but helped jump start IU’s offense. Going with the no-huddle, Jackon hit Camper with a 24-yard pass. Tailback Christian Turner banged out an 11-yard run. The Hoosiers drove inside the Ohio State 25-yard line before settling for Chris Freeman’s 42-yard field goal and a 7-3 score.

It was Freeman’s first career field goal, and if it banged off the upright before going through, no Hoosier complained.

Ohio State ended the half with a 40-yard field goal for a 10-3 lead. It had 172 total yards to IU’s 89.

The Buckeyes added a field goal and a touchdown in the third quarter, and then a field goal in the fourth quarter, for the 23-3 final score.

“We showed some signs,” Allen said, “but we’ve got to keep getting better.”

Added Lucas: “We need to start fast, execute, and make less mistakes.”