COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Luke Fickell waited all day for a big turnover.
With just over 4 minutes left and the Buckeyes holding on to a tenuous seven-point lead against Indiana, it finally came.
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.
Not until Howard picked off Tre Roberson's pass over the middle at the Ohio State 28 with 4:07 left were the Buckeyes assured of the win.
``That was the one thing that you keep staring at, looking out there: Man, we've got to get a turnover. We've got to get a turnover,' said Fickell, the Buckeyes' interim head coach. ``It wasn't until the very end of the game that we came up with it.'
Indiana had driven from its own 28 and faced a second-and-1 when Howard made his big play.
``I locked eyes with the receiver and the quarterback,' Howard said. ``I was just, like, 'There's no way he's going to throw that pass.' I was able to run over there and make a great interception.'
Roberson, who like Miller is a freshman, took the blame.
``I was trying to get it to (the medium receiver),' said Roberson, who rushed for 70 yards and completed 11 of 21 passes for 174 yards and a score. ``But it was a bad ball by me. It was all my fault.'
Moments later, Carlos Hyde added a clinching score on a 2-yard run and the Buckeyes (6-3, 3-2 Big Ten) had their third win in a row to remain in solid contention in the Leaders Division despite an 0-2 start in the conference and a season fraught with suspensions and the possibility of NCAA sanctions.
Three Buckeyes topped 100 yards rushing: Dan Herron with 141 yards on 14 carries, Hyde with 105 on 15 and Miller with 105 on 14. It was the first time Ohio State had three runners 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.
It was another learning experience for the young Hoosiers (1-9, 0-6), who lost their seventh in a row.
``We didn't need to play perfect to beat those guys,' coach Kevin Wilson said. ``But we did need to play up to our potential.'
After fighting to a 13-13 stalemate at the half, the teams traded scores.
The Buckeyes took leads of 20-13 and 27-20 in the third quarter, the first when Herron danced outside to cover the last 15 yards before edging inside the left 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 but Mitch Ewald, who had converted two earlier attempts, was wide left on a 40-yard field goal try.
After forcing a punt, the interception killed Indiana's hopes of ending a string of 16 straight losses to the Buckeyes since 1988.
Ohio State once again had trouble passing the ball. Miller was 5 of 11 for 55 yards with an interception. He also lost a fumble.
Indiana grabbed a quick 10-0 lead, silencing a crowd of 105,195. Ewald kicked a 35-yard field goal on the Hoosiers' first possession. Three plays later, Miller was sacked by Bobby Richardson and he fumbled, with Jeff Thomas recovering for Indiana at the Ohio State 41. Stephen Houston then scored on a 5-yard run.
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.
The Buckeyes can still make the Big Ten title game if they win out and Penn State loses twice.
First, they had to survive a scare from the Hoosiers.
``We could have definitely (done) a better job coming out with better energy and better pace,' Herron said. ``We finished the game, you know. It's not how you start the game it's how you finish.'
Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rustymillerap.
The Associated Press News Service
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