Columbus, OH – Urban Meyer is still perfect at Ohio State.
Braxton Miller threw for 178 yards with a pair of touchdowns and Jordan Hall ran for 159 yards with two scores, as the second-ranked Buckeyes used an early burst to claim a 40-20 victory over Buffalo in the 2013 season opener at Ohio Stadium.
The Buckeyes (1-0) finished 12-0 last year in Meyer's debut season, but were ineligible for postseason play because of NCAA sanctions. This year, they're expected to be national title contenders and looked the part early with 23 first-quarter points.
Miller, the reigning Big Ten Player of the Year and a strong Heisman Trophy candidate, is among the reasons. He completed 15-of-22 passes with an interception while adding 77 yards on the ground.
Joe Licata threw two touchdown passes and linebacker Khalil Mack returned an interception for a score for Buffalo (0-1), which kicked off its 100th season of football. The Bulls were 4-8 last year with three wins in their final four games.
The Buckeyes scored on their first three possessions. Miller found a streaking Devin Smith for a 47-yard touchdown to cap a four-play opening series, then connected with Chris Fields from seven yards away to end a five-play set before Hall broke free for a 49-yard TD run in the final minute of the first quarter. A pair of two-point conversions after the first two scores helped Ohio State open a 23-0 cushion.
Buffalo finally forced an Ohio State punt before the teams traded turnovers. The Buckeyes' fumble at their own 42 led to a 16-yard Licata touchdown pass to Matt Weiser. Miller was then picked off by Mack, who raced 45 yards the other way for a score and the two-point play failed to leave the Bulls down 23-13.
It took just two plays for Ohio State to turn the tide, as Hall followed a 51- yard kickoff return from Dontre Wilson with a 37-yard touchdown jaunt.
Buffalo sacked Miller on third down to end Ohio State's initial third-quarter series, and the Bulls went 62 yards the other way after a punt for a score. Licata completed each of his three passes for 48 yards during the march and finished it with a 10-yard strike to Alex Neutz.
A personal foul penalty against Buffalo negated a Miller fumble inside the Buckeyes' 5 midway through the third quarter and Ohio State took full advantage with a 91-yard scoring drive. Miller left the field after a 14-yard run because of cramping, but Kenny Guiton completed the lengthy march with a 21-yard TD pass to Fields.
The Bulls were threatening again with a first down inside the Ohio State 5, but the Buckeyes turned them away on four downs and Miller returned to the field with a 40-yard run that set up a 39-yard Drew Basil field goal for a 40-20 advantage midway through the fourth.
Miller became the second Ohio State quarterback to eclipse 2,000 career rushing yards. He has 2,063 and is just 17 shy of Cornelius Greene's record for quarterbacks of 2,080 ... Ohio State has won 62 straight regular-season non-conference home games against unranked teams since a 34-17 loss to Florida State in 1982 ... The Buckeyes have also won 35 straight home openers since a 1978 loss to Penn State ... Ohio State hasn't lost a season opener since 1999 in the Kickoff Classic against Miami-Florida ... Meyer improved to 12-0 in season openers ... Buffalo fell to 0-5 against Big Ten opposition.