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Buckeyes Buckeye Archive Buckeyes Survive Scare From Hoosiers
Written by Dan Wismar

Dan Wismar

Braxton3Braxton Miller rushed for two touchdowns, including the longest run ever by an Ohio State quarterback, and the Buckeyes pulled away from a 20-20 third quarter tie with the last two scores of the game to get past Indiana and win their third straight Big Ten contest, 34-20.

The Hoosiers jumped out to a 10-0 first quarter lead with the help of a fumble by Miller, and were able to stay within one score of the heavily-favored Buckeyes (6-3, 3-2) until the game’s final three minutes. In a contest that was supposed to be a breather against a team without a win in conference play, the Buckeyes couldn’t really exhale until cornerback Travis Howard intercepted Hoosier QB Tre Roberson with four minutes left in the game, and OSU up 27-20.

The Indiana run defense was as weak as advertised, and the Buckeyes rolled up 346 yards on the ground, with three OSU rushers gaining over 100 yards for the first time since 1989. Miller’s record-setting 81-yard touchdown run got OSU back to within three at 10-7 in the opening quarter, and after 46 OSU running plays, Miller (105 yds), Dan Herron (141 yds) and Carlos Hyde (105 yds) had all cracked the century mark.

Roberson_BarnettPlaying Up

Coach Kevin Wilson’s Hoosier offense proved to be a handful for the Buckeye defenders, moving the ball effectively on the ground with Roberson (70 yds)  and tailback Stephen Houston (56 yds), and throwing it better than anyone expected from the true freshman signal-caller. Roberson was 11 of 21 passing, for 174 yards, including a 34-yard TD, and 10 first downs through the air. I guess you can define ‘efficiency’ as 10 first downs on 11 completions.

Ohio State moved ahead 13-10 on two second quarter field goals by Drew Basil, and never trailed thereafter, but neither could they shake the pesky Hoosiers. Luke Fickell said afterward, “their record doesn’t show it, but they’re getting better...they create some mismatches”. The Hoosiers may be 1-9, and 0-6 now in Big Ten play, but Roberson’s third start certainly gives them hope going forward. He has some talented skill position players around him on offense, and last year’s Indiana Mr. Football is an impressive looking, versatile young player.

The Indiana defense came after Miller with a number of blitzes and stunts, sacking him six times for 41 yards in losses, and causing a first quarter fumble that Indiana turned into seven points.  But MIller burned them twice on quarterback draws for touchdowns, the second one on a 3rd and goal from the 20-yard line, a run that saw Miller put a move on Hoosier safety Mark Murphy, leaving him grasping at air at the five as the 3rd quarter wound down.

Hyde4Staying Grounded

For the Buckeyes’ offense, it seemed as though the only thing that could slow it down was going away from their rushing attack. Miller was 5 of 11 throwing the ball for 55 yards, with just two completions of any consequence. He found Chris Fields for 25 yards on a nice seam route out of the slot for a big first down on a 3rd and 19, and later hit fullback Zach Boren alone in the flat on a short completion that resulted in a 26-yard gain.

It says something about the strength of the OSU rushing attack that the team has been able to win three straight conference games, two of them against ranked opponents, with Miller completing 13 passes in the three games combined. It may be difficult to beat Penn State or Michigan averaging four pass completions per game...just a guess. But Miller etched his name in the OSU record book with his 81-yard scamper to get the Bucks back in the game in the first quarter. It was the fourth-longest run in Ohio State history, and eclipsed Rex Kern’s 76-yard run as the longest ever by a Buckeye QB.

Dan Herron continued to remind OSU fans how much they missed him for the first six games of the season, with the third consecutive 100-yard game since his return. The senior tailback ripped off runs of 48 and 40 yards, and put the Buckeyes up 20-13 with a 15-yard dash around left end in the 3rd quarter. Herron has 415 rushing yards since coming off his suspension for the Illinois game, and the 3-0 OSU record in those games is surely no coincidence.

The Buckeyes’ leading rusher Carlos Hyde (pictured) got back into action after spending most of the last two weeks on the bench. His 47-yard run off right tackle followed Howard’s 4th quarter interception, and he put the game on ice for the Buckeyes when he followed it up with a 2-yard TD run two plays later. Hyde ran well between the tackles and had a couple more good runs negated by penalties, finishing with a 7.0 yard average on his 15 carries.

Simon_FlagUp and Down Defense

Fickell and the defensive players were careful to give credit to Wilson and the Hoosier offense for playing well against them, but some of the coverage breakdowns that have deviled Ohio State’s defense in recent weeks showed up again. Hoosier wideout Kofi Hughes was lonely in the middle of the field when Roberson found him for a 34-yard score to tie the game at 20 in the 3rd quarter. For the most part though, Roberson was finding his receivers in traffic, threading good throws into decent coverage. 8 of his 11 completions went to Hughes (147 yds, 1 TD)

John Simon had another dominating game, with a career-high 10 tackles, including a sack and three TFL. Andrew Sweat played well too, with nine total tackles, but the Buckeyes didn’t get much from their other linebackers, as Etienne Sabino and Storm Klein combined for just two stops. Michael Bennett, Jamie Wood and Ryan Shazier added sacks for Ohio State.

Next up for Ohio State is a trip to West Lafayette for a date with the Purdue Boilermakers. The Buckeyes are officially bowl eligible (as long as the NCAA says it’s OK) but they’ll have to win out to go 9-3, and get some help taking down Penn State if they want a trip to Indianapolis in December for the Big Ten Championship Game.



OSU Official Box Score and Statistics

ESPN Box and Stats


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(photo credits - JIm Davidson - Dan Harker -

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