Buckeyes Beat Down Hoosiers , 44-3 - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Buckeyes Beat Down Hoosiers , 44-3

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Troy Smith punched up his Heisman Trophy resume with four first-half touchdown passes and Ted Ginn Jr. threw one and caught another to lead No. 1 Ohio State to a 44-3 victory over Indiana on Saturday.

Smith wasn't all that sharp, but didn't have to be against an Indiana defense that came in ranked next to last in the Big Ten in points allowed. Mixing play-fakes and passes with an occasional scramble, he propelled the Buckeyes (8-0, 4-0) to their 15th win in a row, the longest streak in the nation.

Despite incompletions on his first four attempts, he was 15-of-23 for 230 yards without an interception. His scoring strikes covered 23 yards to Rory Nichol, 31 yards to Ginn, 5 yards to Anthony Gonzalez and 1 yard to Jacke Ballard - giving Smith 21 TD passes this season with just two interceptions.

Ginn had five catches for 72 yards and also completed a 38-yard toss-back pass to Nichol for a score. Antonio Pittman added 105 yards rushing on 16 attempts, including a 44-yard gain.

Indiana freshman quarterback Kellen Lewis displayed his quick feet by continually scrambling away from Ohio State's defensive pressure. Lewis completed 15 of 28 passes for 106 yards without an interception for the Hoosiers (4-4, 2-2).

It was 28-3 at the half, with Ohio State scoring on its final four possessions on Smith touchdown passes -- and on three of the four passes, the receiver was almost alone. The last time a Buckeyes quarterback had four TD passes in a half was Bobby Hoying, 12 years ago against Purdue.

The Buckeyes finished with 540 yards of offense, 270 passing and 270 rushing.

The Hoosiers, led by the slippery Lewis, took a 3-0 lead after Tracy Porter returned a punt 34 yards to the Ohio State 15 and Austin Starr converted a 34-yard field goal.

Smith didn't start out well, and the Buckeyes punted the ball away twice. He finally completed a 22-yarder to Pittman on his fifth pass, then kept a drive going by avoiding tacklers by rolling right and reversing his field on a scramble that netted 29 yards.

On third and 1 at the Indiana 23, Smith executed a near-perfect play-action fake and flipped a pass over the middle to tight end Nichol, who had a 5-yard head start on the entire defense. Nichol rumbled into the end zone with his fist upraised.

After a short punt, Ohio State took over again near midfield and needed four plays to score. This time, Smith spun away from lineman Keith Burrus and lobbed a pass into the end zone that hung in the air long enough for Ginn to run under it for the 31-yard score.

Smith completed passes of 23 yards to Gonzalez and 13 yards to Ginn before zipping a 5-yard touchdown pass to Gonzalez, who somehow got lost in the Indiana secondary and was standing with no defender closer than 20 feet in the left side of the end zone when Smith found him.

Taking over in the final minute of the half, again near midfield after a punt, the Buckeyes needed three plays to score again. Smith threw a short slant pass to Brian Robiskie, and Indiana's Leslie Majors was called for a face-mask penalty at the end of the 21-yard gain. Another Smith-to-Robiskie pass covered 13 yards before Smith tossed a 1-yard pass into traffic in the end zone that backup tight end Ballard pulled in for his first collegiate catch and score.

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