Running Game Stays In Gear In Win Vs. Indiana

The way things are looking, the Ohio State football team is going to try to run its way to the Big Ten championship. The next step in that journey came Saturday afternoon as the Buckeyes ran for 346 yards while downing Indiana by a 34-20 score. Dan Herron, Carlos Hyde and quarterback Braxton Miller all topped 100 yards rushing in the win.

The math wasn't that hard to figure out.

Going into Saturday's home game with Indiana, the Ohio State football team had rushed for more than 200 yards in three straight games.

Meanwhile, Indiana had allowed more than 300 yards in three of five Big Ten games.

In other words, expecting a rushing explosion for Ohio State would have been a pretty reasonable thing to do, and that's exactly what happened during the Buckeyes' closer-than-expected 34-20 win in Ohio Stadium.

Ohio State's 346 rushing yards were the most for a Buckeye team in at least a decade, while three players topped the 100-yard mark for the first time since 1989.

"Offensively we did an unbelievable job, controlled the line of scrimmage," head coach Luke Fickell said.

Dan Herron led the way for Ohio State, toting the ball 14 times for 141 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Braxton Miller chipped in 105 yards – a number dulled by six sacks – and two touchdowns on 14 carries, while Carlos Hyde also had 105 yards on 15 carries. As a team, the Buckeyes finished with 7.5 yards per carry and had 403 yards gained on the ground.

It was just the fourth time in school history that three rushers broke the 100-yard barrier and the first since Dante Lee (157 yards), Scottie Graham (102) and Carlos Snow (100) did it Nov. 5, 1989, at Northwestern. It also happened in 1956 against Indiana and 1970 vs. Duke.

"That's a great accomplishment for us," Herron said. "I think the offensive line did a great job today. It all started up front with those guys. They definitely got us rolling today."

The line has been a strength when it comes to opening holes in the running game in the last four games, all of which have occurred since the return of senior first-team All-Big Ten tackle Mike Adams.

His return allowed Andrew Norwell and Jack Mewhort to settle into the guard spots, and the Buckeyes didn't even miss a beat today when senior right tackle J.B. Shugarts limped off with an apparent knee injury, leading freshman Antonio Underwood to enter the game.

"We definitely felt like we ran the ball well," Adams said. "The stats showed it for sure. I think something like 350 yards, and as an offensive line you definitely take pride in that. I thought that we really established the line of scrimmage in the second half, getting after them, running the ball right at them, not around them."

The tone was also set by Miller, who changed the game midway through the first quarter. The Buckeyes had fallen into a 10-0 deficit less than eight minutes into the game when Miller took a quarterback draw 81 yards for a score on a second-and-12 play.

Miller first followed Herron through the hole, juked a safety near the Ohio State 40 and then used his wideouts as blockers the rest of the way while turning cornerback Michael Hunter inside and out a few times.

When it was all said and done, the run was the longest for a quarterback in OSU history and the sixth longest ever by a Buckeye, facts that surprised the freshman signal caller.

"It's the best when you can be in the Ohio State record book any way it goes," he said. "It was a called run for me. I looked to the right. Boom was in front of me, and I just followed him and made my cuts off his block."

Miller later added a 20-yard touchdown run that served as the game winner with nine seconds left in the third quarter. One play after being sacked, Miller took off on another draw over the right side, juking safety Mark Murphy out of his shoes near the 10 before hitting paydirt.

While Miller spent much of the day looking like a running back, the players who meet in the running back room also had fantastic days. Herron has now topped 100 yards in each of the three games since his return, and he twice burst through the line for rushes of more than 45 yards. Throughout the day, "Boom" made Indiana linebackers and safeties miss in the open field.

He added a tough 15-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter in which he fought to get to the front left pylon.

"Me being an older guy and having the experience, I think it's important to try to get the guys going and be a leader on the field," he said. "I'm just trying to do my best to help the team however I can."

Then there was Hyde, who had a bit of a redemption game. Hyde entered the game as the team's leading rusher despite only three carries for 8 yards in the first two games after Herron's return and tweeted his disappointment at one point, but he was able to top the 100-yard mark for the second time in his OSU career on the day.

The first time was his last game with five or more carries, which came Oct. 8 when he had 13 rushes for 104 yards and a pair of touchdowns at Nebraska.

Hyde also had one of the more important runs of the day, breaking over the right side for 47 yards all the way to the Indiana 7-yard line to set up the game-clinching touchdown late in the fourth quarter, which Hyde was able to run in himself from 2 yards out.

"I was excited," he said. "I couldn't wait to get out there. It was emotional when I got out there. I had to take advantage of it."

Add it all up and the Buckeyes were able to win again on a day in which the team didn't pass it much. Miller has only 13 completions in the last three wins, but Adams said he saw no reason for a change in plans.

"If we can run the ball, why stop?" Adams said. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."


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