Miller's 2 TDs lead Buckeyes past Hoosiers, 34-20
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Braxton Miller ran for two scores including a record 81-yarder and Travis Howard ended Indiana's last chance at tying it with an interception, leading Ohio State to a 34-20 victory on Saturday.
The victory was the third in a row for the Buckeyes (6-3, 3-2 Big Ten), but it didn't come easy.
Not until Howard picked off Tre Roberson's pass at the Ohio State 28 with 4:07 left were the Buckeyes assured of the win.
Three Buckeyes topped 100 yards rushing: Dan Herron with 141 yards on 14 carries, Carlos Hyde with 105 on 15 and Miller with 105 on 14. Hyde added a clinching touchdown after the interception.
It was the first time Ohio State had three runners go over 100 since Scottie Graham, Carlos Snow and Dante Lee did it in 1989 against Northwestern.
The Buckeyes totaled 346 rushing yards on 46 attempts.
Roberson rushed for 84 yards and passed for 174 and a touchdown for the Hoosiers (1-9, 0-6), who lost their seventh in a row.
Ohio State has won the last 16 meetings, dating to a 41-7 loss in Bloomington, Ind., in 1988, and holds a 67-12-5 upper hand in the series.
The second half looked like a 7-on-7 drill, with the offenses scoring at will.
After battling to a 13-13 tie at the half, the Buckeyes took leads of 20-13 and 27-20, the first when Herron danced outside to cover the last 15 yards before edging into the left corner by the pylon to make it 20-13. Miller helped the Buckeyes regain the lead when, on third and goal at the Indiana 20, he raced up the middle through a gaping hole on a draw and faked out the last defender, Mark Murphy, who never got a hand on him.
In between, Roberson had tossed a spot-on 34-yard scoring pass to Kofi Hughes to knot it at 20.
Down a touchdown at the start of the fourth quarter, the Hoosiers came right back and had second and 3 at the Ohio State before a false start helped kill the drive. Mitch Ewald, who had converted two earlier attempts, ended up wide left on a 40-yard field goal try.
After forcing a punt, they drove from their own 28 to a second and 1 at the Buckeyes 44 but Roberson's pass over the middle was picked off by Howard.
Hyde, a starter earlier in the year before Herron returned from two NCAA suspensions, then raced 42 yards and later added the 2-yard closing score.
Ohio State once again had trouble passing the ball. Miller, like Roberson a true freshman, was just 5 of 11 for 55 yards with an interception. He also lost a fumble.
Roberson completed 11 of 21 for 174 yards and one TD with the one interception.
Indiana grabbed a quick 10-0 lead, silencing a crowd of 105,195.
The Hoosiers took the opening kickoff and marched 11 plays to the Ohio State 16 before settling for Ewald's 35-yard field goal. Three plays later, Miller was sacked by Bobby Richardson and he fumbled, with Jeff Thomas recovering for Indiana at the Ohio State41. Just six plays later, Houston made it 10-0 on a 5-yard run up the middle.
It didn't take long for the Buckeyes to respond.
On the second play after the kickoff, Miller squeezed through a hole at the line and then outraced the secondary for an 81-yard touchdown — the sixth-longest run ever at Ohio State and the longest ever by a Buckeyes quarterback.
Two field goals by Drew Basil and another by Ewald kept the teams tied at 13 at the half.