The Ohio State football team is headed to Indianapolis.
The Buckeyes clinched their second consecutive Big Ten Leaders Division title Saturday, beating Indiana 42-14 on Senior Day and setting a school record for wins in a row with 23. OSU is set to take on Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship game Dec. 7 at Lucas Oil Stadium.
OSU coach Urban Meyer said the reason the team has been able to have so much success because of how consistent the players come out and work each and every week.
“I think it’s consistency…and for this team to do it 23 times in a row, that’s an incredible testimony, first of all, to the players,” Meyer said after the win. “And I really want to mention my staff. I mean, we haven’t had any turnover…without question (the coaches) are perfectly aligned.”
Senior running back Carlos Hyde became the first back under head coach Urban Meyer to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark in a season, picking up the 53 yards needed in the first half against the Hoosiers.
“It means a lot,” Hyde said of surpassing the 1,000 yard mark. “Definitely for those guys up front and the tight ends and the receivers, you know, to have a 1,000-yard back and to be able to block for a 1,000-yard back, that’s pretty big for them.”
Hyde got the scoring going on the first drive of the game, plunging into the end zone from 16 yards out to give the Buckeyes (11-0, 7-0) a 7-0 lead just more than two minutes into play.
Following a Hoosier punt, the Buckeyes scored quickly again, as junior quarterback Braxton Miller ran 37 yards for a touchdown, flipping over the pylon as he dove into the end zone.
“(I was) just having a little bit of fun,” Miller said about the flip. “All year, (I) actually with my knee brace and injury going on…but today, if you notice, I didn’t have my knee brace on. I wanted to have a little bit of fun with it.”
The Buckeye quarterback found the end zone again on the ground in the second quarter, leaping over defenders and barely breaking the plane of the goal line from five yards out to make the score 21-0. Miller was lined up at receiver to start the play, and took a reverse handoff from redshirt-senior quarterback Kenny Guiton before scoring. Meyer said that formation is known as “Jazzy Kenny G,” a name that he did not come up with, but instead offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tom Herman did.
“‘Jazzy’ is a play we run, I was hoping (Miller) would throw it. He is a great athlete,” Meyer said after the game. “I’d rather him not do that, but do what he’s gotta do. He played really well today.”
Just before halftime, Hyde widened the lead again as he scored his second touchdown of the game, this one from five yards out.
Freshman running back Dontre Wilson got in on the scoring action in the third quarter, taking a shovel pass from Miller and running 24 yards around the edge.
The Buckeye defense held strong all game, notably stopping the Hoosiers (4-7, 2-5) on fourth and goal early in the fourth quarter. OSU’s then traveled 98 yards on its ensuing drive, capped off by a 39-yard touchdown strike from Miller to junior wide receiver Devin Smith.
“(Indiana) pose(s) a lot of problems, they do a great job,” defensive coordinator Luke Fickell said following the win. “But I gotta give our kids credit. They really went out there, they didn’t let the tempo affect them and they played hard.”
The Hoosiers got on the board late, as sophomore quarterback Nate Sudfield found junior wide receiver Shane Wynn in the back of the end zone on fourth down with just under six minutes to go to cut the lead to 42-7.
Following a fumble by redshirt-senior quarterback Kenny Guiton, Indiana found the end zone again when Sudfield found junior running back D’Angelo Roberts on a screen pass to make the score 42-14.
OSU ran out the clock on its next possession, finishing the win for the Buckeyes.
Miller finished the day 11/17 passing for 160 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He also ran for 144 yards and two scores.
In his last game at Ohio Stadium, Hyde rushed for 117 yards on 18 carries to go along with his two touchdowns.
Even though the Buckeyes clinched their spot in the B1G Title game, Meyer said celebrating this win will not last long as a date with Michigan next week looms large.
“I have great respect for this rivalry, humbled to be a part of it,” Meyer said. “We take it very serious. We’re working the game as we speak. We’re all going to go home, see our families, (and) we’re coming back tomorrow and ready to go.”
Kickoff between the Buckeyes and Wolverines is scheduled for 12 p.m. Saturday in Ann Arbor, Mich.