BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana followed the game plan to near perfection Saturday.
The Hoosiers put up a school-record 49 points against No. 8 Ohio State. When they got behind, they rallied. And when time was running out, they recovered one onside kick to keep the pressure on the Buckeyes and nearly recovered another in field goal range to give them a shot to win the game or force overtime.
There was just one problem: Braxton Miller did far too much.
Miller ran for 149 yard, scored on a 67-yard run and threw TD passes of 60 and 46 yards, just enough for a wacky 52-49 victory at Indiana.
"I think we're getting better because I saw our team give a lot of fight against a really good football team," Hoosiers coach Kevin Wilson said. "Someone was yelling upset on The Walk into the stadium, and I told the team the only thing that would be upsetting or shocking is we don't come to play."
That certainly wasn't the case for the offense.
Cameron Coffman was 22 of 44 for 275 with one touchdown before giving way to Nate Sudfeld for the final two series of the game, when Wilson just wanted to get Sudfeld some extra work.
Sudfeld did more than that. He completed 6 of 10 passes for 77 yards, including a 12-yard TD pass to Duwyce Wilson with 1:40 to go and a 25-yard TD pass to Stephen Houston with 1:05 left to get the Hoosiers remarkably within an onside kick recovery of winning the game or attempting a field goal to force overtime.
"We just kept fighting to the finish, we never give up," Indiana receiver Shane Wynn said.
The Buckeyes (7-0, 3-0 Big Ten) found out the hard way on a crazy night, where big plays were the norm and Miller stole the show — again.
Miller finished 13 of 24 for 211 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, averaged 6.6 yards on 23 carries and even recovered a teammate's fumble in the third quarter that just may have saved the game. Miller finished with his third straight 100-yard rushing effort, topped his average of 303.8 yards in total offense and helped the Buckeyes (7-0, 3-0 Big Ten) become the first ranked team with seven wins.
Not bad for a guy who was relegated to spectator for the most important play of the night — Indiana's second onside kick.
"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."
Corey Brown, who scored the game's first touchdown on a 12-yard run, got twisted around before finally securing the ball at the Ohio State 31 and allowing Miller to kneel down twice to run out the clock.
Indiana finished with its highest-point total ever against the Buckeyes, breaking the previous mark of 41 in 1988 — their last win over the Ohio State. The Hoosiers have now lost 11 straight league games, 21 consecutive Big Ten games against foes from outside the state and 18 straight to the Buckeyes, including a loss from two years ago that Ohio State later vacated as the result of NCAA infractions.
But the game was a topsy-turvy fest of big plays.
Each team turned blocked punts into touchdowns in the first half.
Indiana scored on TD passes of 76 and 25 yards, a 59-yard TD run and made a field goal after a 60-yard kickoff return.
Ohio State relied primarily on Miller's game-changing plays, though he did have some help.
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 Hoosiers' blocked punt in the end zone for a touchdown.
And although the Buckeyes finished with 353 yards rushing and went home with a win, first-year coach Urban Meyer wasn't satisfied.
"We are not good in certain areas and we were exposed," Meyer said. "Spread offenses right now are really exposing us. We have got to get something fixed."
After the Hoosiers closed to 24-17 early in the third quarter, Miller took over.
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 led 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 TD pass to Smith with 6:47 left.
The Hoosiers came right back with Sudfeld's two TD passes to cut the lead to three, and give themselves a chance with an onside kick recovery.
They didn't get it, and Ohio State became the first ranked team to win its seventh game.
"We have got to get back to work," Meyer said. "We
go back 7-0 and we have got to find a way to get better as Purdue rolls in next week."