Ohio State Football 2012
Buckeyes Hold on to Remain Unbeaten
The impact that first-year Head Coach Urban Meyer has had on the Ohio State Buckeyes football program can't be understated enough.
On Saturday night, the 8th ranked Buckeyes improved to 7-0 with a 52-49 victory against the upset-minded Indiana Hoosiers.
Once again, it was sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller whom spear-headed the Buckeyes offensive outburst.
After rushing for 149 yards, scoring on a 67-yard run and throwing TD passes of 60 and 46 yards, Miller sat helplessly on the sideline waiting for Corey Brown, or anybody else, to pounce on a bouncing onside kick that finally sealed the victory.
"I said, please man, let's get this other onside kick so we just kneel the ball and the game would be over," Miller said. "I was nervous a little bit."
Miller finished 13-of-24 for 211 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, averaged 6.6 yards on 23 carries. Furthermore, Miller finished with his third straight 100-yard rushing effort, topped his average of 303.8 yards in total offense and helped the Buckeyes become the first ranked team with seven wins.
"He's a great quarterback, a great athlete, all week we talked about treating him like a running back," said Hoosiers cornerback Greg Heban. "We didn't do a good job of stopping him. There were a lot of missed tackles."
The Buckeyes would end up needing everything from Miller to avoid an upset from the pesky Hoosiers (2-4, 0-3), who rallied for 15 points in a 35-second span in the last two minutes. Indiana even had a chance to score again when their second onside kick started rolling around on the ground with 1:05 remaining.
That was when Brown, who scored the game's first touchdown on a 12-yard run, got twisted around before finally jumping on the ball at the Ohio State 31 to allow the Buckeyes to set up in the victory formation.
The game was an entertaining, back-and-forth battle of big plays, including each team turning blocked punts into touchdowns in the first half.
The Hoosiers scored on TD passes of 76 and 25 yards, a 59-yard TD run and made a field goal following a 60-yard kickoff return.
Ohio State was dependent on Miller's game-changing plays, although there were some other Buckeyes that made plays.
Carlos Hyde ran 22 times for 156 yards and a touchdown and caught a 14-yard shovel pass for a TD from Kenny Guiton when Miller left briefly after he was hit out of bounds. Devin Smith caught two passes for 106 yards, both for touchdowns. Bradley Roby recovered the aforementioned Hoosiers' blocked punt in the end zone for a touchdown.
Despite the win and explosion in points, Meyer wasn't satisfied with his team's performance.
"We are not good in certain areas and we were exposed," Meyer commented. "Spread offenses right now are really exposing us. We have got to get something fixed."
The Hoosiers took a 14-10 lead in the second quarter when Stephen Houston scored on a 7-yard run following the blocked punt. Houston ran 11 times for 91 yards and two scores.
The Buckeyes then responded with two touchdowns to take a 24-14 lead into the half.
After the Hoosiers closed to 24-17, Miller took over the game.
He kept the ball on the Buckeyes' next offensive play, found a seam, split the Hoosiers safeties and sprinted 67 yards to make it 31-17.
When Indiana cut the lead to 31-24, Miller answered again, leading the Buckeyes on a 75-yard drive, giving way to Guiton and Hyde. Miller then drove the Buckeyes 78 yards, setting up Hyde for a 1-yard run to make it 45-27 early in the fourth quarter and appeared to put the game away with a 46-yard touchdown pass to Smith with 6:47 to go.
To the Hoosiers credit, they never give up.
"We just kept fighting to the finish, we never give up," Indiana receiver Shane Wynn said.
Indiana got a 12-yard pass from Nate Sudfeld to Duwyce Wilson with 1:40 left, a 25-yard touchdown pass from Sudfeld to Houston with 1:05 to go and a two-point conversion run by Cody Latimer to round out the final score at 52-49.
"We have got to get back to work," Meyer said.
The Buckeyes will look to get back to work and stay unbeaten next Saturday as the welcome the Purdue Boilermakers into Columbus.
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