Columbus, OH – Braxton Miller showed no signs of rust following a two-week layoff with a knee injury, throwing four touchdown passes to lead No. 4 Ohio State to a 31-24 with over No. 23 Wisconsin in a Big Ten battle at Ohio Stadium.
Miller connected of 17-of-25 passes for 198 yards and also rushed for 83 yards for the Buckeyes (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten), who extended their winning streak to 17 games, the longest active streak in the nation.
Corey Brown caught eight passes for 85 yards and two touchdowns, while Devin Smith and Evan Spencer added a touchdown grab apiece in the win.
Joel Stave was 20-for-34 for 295 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, and Jared Abbrederis caught 10 passes for 207 yards and a touchdown for the Badgers (3-2, 1-1), who have dropped three straight to Ohio State.
Miller wasted no time in his return, completing his second pass for a 25-yard touchdown strike to Spencer to give the Buckeyes a 7-0 edge just 3:42 into the game.
Wisconsin evened things up on Stave's 36-yard touchdown pass to Abbrederis to cap a 90-yard drive. After James White was stood up on 2nd-and-7 at the OSU 37, Stave lofted a pass near the right sideline. Abbrederis had his left arm hooked with a Buckeyes' defender, but made an impressive one-handed grab, shed a tackler and hurried across the goal line for the score.
Ohio State responded with a touchdown as Miller found Smith in the end zone with 44 seconds left in the first quarter. After finding Dontre Wilson along the left sideline for a 21-yard gain, Miller faked the hand off, turned and fired a perfect pass for Smith in the front left corner of the end zone to make it 14-7.
Drew Basil's 45-yard field goal with just over 4 1/2 minutes left in the half made it a 10-point game.
Wisconsin pulled with 17-14 three minutes later as Stave connected with Sam Arneson for an 11-yard touchdown.
Ohio State, though, added a touchdown with one second left in the first half. On 4th-and-7, Miller hit Brown on a deep post route to the end zone for a 40- yard score and a 24-14 lead at the break.
"He (Miller) doesn't really get discouraged during the game. He's a strong kid, but I think the touchdown before the half was cool. For us though, it was important to make sure we came out in the second half strong,"Smith said.
Miller's 1-yard TD pass to Brown with 2:18 left in the third made it 31-14.
White's 17-yard touchdown run brought the Badgers within 10 early in the fourth, and Wisconsin made it a one-score game with just over two minutes to go as Kyle French nailed a 42-yard field goal.
Wisconsin then forced an Ohio State punt with 1:29 remaining, but failed to pick up a first down and handed the ball over to the Buckeyes, who ran out the remainder of the clock to seal the win.
"We have to be able to make it difficult. That's what a great team would do and to be a great team you have to make those special plays at special moments. I am proud of the way the kids fought, they never gave up, they found a way to scratch and get back into the football game," said Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen.
OSU leads the all-time series 56-18-5 ... The Buckeyes are 17-0 since Urban Meyer took over as head coach ... Carlos Hyde rushed for a season-high 85 yards on 17 carries ... Wisconsin outgained Ohio State by nine yards (399-390) ... Stave has eight touchdown passes this season and four interceptions ... Melvin Gordon led the Badgers with 74 rushing yards, raising his season total to 698 yards. It was the first game Gordon was held below the 140-yard mark.