BLOOMINGTON – Braxton Miller scored on a 67-yard touchdown run, threw TD passes of 60 and 46 yards and produced his third straight 100-yard rushing game, helping No. 8 Ohio State escape with a 52-49 win at Indiana on Saturday night.
The victory makes the Buckeyes (7-0, 3-0 Big Ten) the first ranked team with seven wins.
Indiana (2-4, 0-3) has now lost 21 straight conference games to teams from outside the state and 18 straight to the Buckeyes since 1988, including the game Ohio State won two years ago but later vacated as part of an NCAA penalty.
This one sure wasn’t easy. But Miller had all the answers – scoring on his 67-yard run on the next offensive play after Indiana trimmed the deficit to 24-17, leading the Buckeyes on back-to-back drives of 75 and 78 drives and throwing a 46-yard TD pass to break open the game late.
Indiana scored two touchdowns in the final two minutes to make the Buckeyes sweat out an on-side kick with just over a minute left.
Indiana coach Kevin Wilson had spent the week putting on his poker face and getting ready to go all-in against the Buckeyes.
Sometimes you’re bluffing, sometimes you got a good hand, he said. You got to play your cards. ... But if you cut all of the window dressing out, there’s fundamentals and basics that win, and that’s what they do at Ohio State, and that’s what we’re trying to get done here.
There’s little doubt Wilson’s Hoosiers have been more competitive this season.
By winning the first two games, Indiana has already surpassed its 2011 victory total. Beating Massachusetts gave Wilson his first career win over a Bowl Subdivision opponent. The Hoosiers (2-3, 0-2) rallied from a 27-0 third-quarter deficit and nearly upset Northwestern on the road two weeks ago, and last week, Michigan State needed two fourth-quarter touchdowns to pull out a come-from-behind victory.
What hasn’t changed, so far, is the result.
Indiana is now 0-11 in Wilson’s tenure against Big Ten foes.
With that kind of a record, it’s no wonder Wilson is looking for something, anything, to swing the odds in their favor.
Wilson’s normal ploy is to speed up the game to a breakneck pace, something that helped make Oklahoma a perennial national title contender.
Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer likes the style so much he’s taken a page right out of Wilson’s playbook.
I’ve always loved his coaching, Meyer said. (Offensive coordinator) Tom Herrmann and I were talking about him today, Kevin Wilson, and we’ve stolen a lot of stuff. He’s an innovator.