El­liott, late goal-line stand res­cue No. 1 Buck­eyes


The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS - BY MICHAEL MAROT

bloom­ing­ton, ind. — When ev­ery­thing else fiz­zled Satur­day for Ohio State, Coach Ur­ban Meyer put the ball in Ezekiel El­liott’s trusted hands.

He saved the game — and per­haps the Buck eyes’ ti­tle hopes, too.

The ju­nior run­ning back got a slug­gish of­fense go­ing with sec­ond-half touch­down runs of 55, 65 and 75 yards, and Eli Ap­ple bat­ted away a des­per­a­tion pass in the end zone as time ex­pired to pre­serve No. 1 Ohio State’s 34-27 vic­tory over In­di­ana.

The Buck­eyes have won 18 straight games and 15 in a row on the road, both the long­est ac­tive streaks in the Football Bowl Sub­di­vi­sion, but the style points could cost them in the next poll.

“Look across the coun­try and ev­ery day you bet­ter play,” Meyer said. “You bet­ter play.”

Ohio State (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) learned the hard way.

The de­fend­ing na­tional champs fum­bled four times, los­ing two of them. Cardale Jones threw away a scor­ing chance when he was picked off in­side the In­di­ana 15-yard line. The Buck­eyes had eight ma­jor penal­ties, the of­fense couldn’t score touch­downs in the red zone and the team’s nor­mally stout de­fense couldn’t put it away.

But El­liott ral­lied ev­ery­one.

His first two scor­ing runs erased In­di­ana leads, and his third ap­peared to give the Buck­eyes a seem­ingly safe 34-20 lead early in the fourth quar­ter.

The Buck­eyes ex­tended their Big Ten reg­u­lar sea­son win­ning streak to 25, barely, and will now wait to see whether they can match Ok­la­homa’s record for most weeks (101) at No. 1 in the As­so­ci­ated Press poll.

“Coach Meyer made an em­pha­sis that big plays are go­ing to spark the team, and I knew we needed big plays,” El­liott said af­ter his 10th straight 100-yard game. “The O-line did a great job block­ing, and they made it easy for me.” It was a game full or sur­prises. In­di­ana (4-1,0-1) gam­bled twice on fourth down in the first half — in­clud­ing a fake punt from its 16-yard line that failed. El­liott turned the game open with the 65-yard run on fourth and one in the third quar­ter.

The teams com­bined for four scor­ing runs — three from El­liott — that went for more than 50 yards dur­ing a 13-minute stretch in the sec­ond half.

Ohio State also lost wide re­ceiver Corey Smith, who was carted off the field with what ap­peared to be a lower right leg in­jury.

The Hoosiers, who have not beaten the Buck­eyes since 1988, made life mis­er­able de­spite los­ing the na­tion’s top rusher, Jor­dan Howard, in the first half and start­ing quar­ter­back, Nate Sud­feld, in the third quar­ter. Both had left an­kle in­juries.


Ohio State de­fen­sive back Vonn Bell de­fends a pass in­tended for In­di­ana tight end Jor­dan Fuchs on the­Hoosiers’ failed fi­nal drive.

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