No. 11 Ohio State 31, Indiana 0
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ No. 11 Ohio State had little difficulty in handling Indiana 31-0 Saturday, yet an Ohio Stadium crowd of 92,368 still went home disappointed.
The Buckeyes built a 21-0 halftime lead and didn’t allow Indiana to penetrate the Ohio State 30. So the biggest cheers came whenever the scoreboard flashed potential upsets of top-ranked Penn State or No. 5 Michigan.
Even Ohio State coach John Cooper joined in. He was caught by a camera asking if Penn State’s 15-3 deficit at home to Minnesota was in the fourth quarter.
``I could see what was happening,″ Cooper said. ``I could hear the crowd.″
But Penn State ended up pulling out a 16-15 win at home and Michigan overcame a 21-7 deficit to beat Iowa 28-24 at home.
No one was more disappointed than Cooper.
``Obviously I would have been glad to have one or both of those teams lose today,″ he said. ``But that wasn’t the case.″
Instead he had to be satisfied with a methodical win that helped take some of the sting out of last week’s 31-27 loss at Penn State.
Michael Wiley ran for one touchdown and threw for one and Clinton Wayne returned an interception 38 yards for a score.
Ohio State (6-1, 2-1 Big Ten), which piled up 432 yards, held Indiana (1-6, 0-4) to 179 yards, including 35 yards on 32 rushes.
``It’s a heck of a race,″ Indiana coach Cam Cameron said of the Big Ten, which has four teams among the top 12 in the rankings and six in the top 25. ``I told John after the game that they’re still in it in a big way.″
Cooper is 82-30-4 in his 10th season and is second in career victories at the school. He passed Earle Bruce (81-26-1 in nine seasons), but is well behind Woody Hayes (205-61-10 from 1951-78).
``Woody’s record is safe,″ Cooper said with a laugh. ``All that means is that I’ve coached here a long time.″
The Buckeyes started slowly. On the game’s opening drive, they moved to the Indiana 22 but Damian Gregory blocked Dan Stultz’s 29-yard field goal attempt.
Indiana, which came into the game allowing 30 points a game, stopped Ohio State on the next drive, too, when Pepe Pearson was dropped by Aaron Warnecke and Jabar Robinson for a 1-yard loss on fourth-and-1 at the Indiana 24.
After the Hoosiers were forced to punt again, Ohio State needed just five plays to cover 46 yards. Stanley Jackson hit Dee Miller on a 19-yard gain to set up Wiley’s 18-yard touchdown run between big blocks by Matt Keller and Steve Wisniewski.
Jackson, who finished 13-of-15 for 189 yards with no interceptions, once again teamed with Joe Germaine to lead the Buckeyes.
Jackson’s 86.7 percent completion percentage was the second-highest ever at Ohio State.
``I hope some of the critics will see that Stanley Jackson can throw the ball,″ said Cooper, who has been roasted on call-in shows and in letters to newspapers for not starting Germaine. ``People who don’t think he can throw don’t know much about college football.″
Germaine, who passed for 378 yards against Penn State, took over midway through the second quarter and wasted no time, hitting John Lumpkin for a 10-yard touchdown to cap a four-play, 38-yard drive.
Gary Berry set up the drive when he intercepted a pass off Jay Rodgers and returned it 39 yards.
Two plays later, Wayne, a defensive lineman, batted Rodgers’ pass to himself and rumbled 38 yards untouched to make it 21-0 at the half.
``To be honest with you, it was a surprise,″ Wayne said. ``The only thing I thought was, `Don’t let that little wide receiver come and catch you from behind.‴
In the second half, Wiley took a handoff left then pulled up and lobbed an 8-yard scoring pass to backup tight end Steve Wisniewski.
Stultz set an Ohio Stadium record with a 55-yard field goal, tying Gary Cairns for the second-longest ever by a Buckeyes kicker. Rich Spangler’s 52-yarder against Southern Cal in 1985 had been the stadium record.
``I really didn’t get all of it,″ Stultz said. ``But my coach always told me to keep my head down and the crowd would tell me if it was good and I heard the crowd go crazy. It was an unforgettable feeling.″
Germaine was 4-for-10 for 36 yards with two interceptions. Pearson had 71 yards on 13 carries and Wiley had 57 on five.