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(Saturday, September 8th)
Final Score: (14) Ohio State 31, UCF 16
Columbus, OH (Sports Network) - Braxton Miller ran for three touchdowns and threw for another score, leading 14th-ranked Ohio State to a 31-16 victory over UCF at the Horseshoe.
Miller finished with 141 yards on 27 carries, a week after setting a school record for quarterbacks with 161 yards rushing against Miami-Ohio. On Saturday, he also completed 18-of-24 passes for 155 yards.
The rushing load for Miller was necessitated by a knee injury to running back Carlos Hyde, who could be sidelined for a week or two, said Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer.
"That's too much, 27 hits," said Meyer about Miller's workload. "He's blown out right now. We have to be smart. Someone's gotta run the ball. And right now he's our best answer."
The Buckeyes (2-0) again shook off a sluggish start. Last week, Ohio State trailed 3-0 after the first quarter before rolling the rest of the way in 56-10 rout. UCF had this game tied at 10-10 in the second quarter before Ohio State reeled off 21 straight points to take control.
UCF quarterback Blake Bortles threw for 249 yards with a pair of touchdowns, but was also intercepted three times. Storm Johnson added 75 yards on the ground for the Knights (1-1), who were coming off a 56-14 victory over Akron in their opener.
"We played decent, but there is room for improvement," Bortles said. "We could have played a better game and I take responsibility for it. I did not play my best game today."
The Knights had just tied the game at 10-10 and appeared to gain even more momentum after recovering a Zach Boren fumble, but Bortles gave it back just two plays later when he was picked off by Travis Howard.
Ohio State took full advantage and regained the lead with just 15 seconds left in the half on Miller's 6-yard touchdown run. Miller had kept the drive alive one play earlier with a 24-yard run on 3rd-and-16.
The Buckeyes quickly tacked on 14 points on their first two possessions of the third quarter.
Miller capped a 12-play, 76-yard march with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Jake Stoneburner after the second-half kickoff. The quarterback then converted an Etienne Sabino interception into an 8-yard TD scamper for a 31-10 cushion with just over eight minutes left in the period.
UCF answered the second score with an 84-yard touchdown drive. Bortles ended the 14-play set with a 2-yard TD pass to fullback Billy Giovanetti on fourth down, but the point-after attempt was blocked.
Miller was picked off on Ohio State's next possession and UCF threatened with a first down soon after at the Buckeyes' 14 as the third quarter ended. Orhian Johnson then intercepted Bortles inside the five early in the fourth to end UCF's potential rally.
The Knights never seriously threatened again.
Ohio State scored on its first offensive series, as Miller took a quarterback draw up the middle and raced 37 yards untouched for a touchdown to finish a 71-yard march. Miller was stopped on fourth down near midfield on the next Buckeyes possession and UCF took advantage of the short field to pick up a 28- yard field goal from Shawn Moffitt.
Drew Basil kicked a 24-yard field goal to give Ohio State a 10-3 edge just over five minutes into the second quarter, but UCF tied it soon after. Johnson's 48-yard run down the right sideline set up a first down at the Ohio State 10 and Bortles found Justin Tukes with a touchdown pass from a yard away on third down.
Miller now has five career 100-yard rushing games to set a school record for quarterbacks -- a mark he shared with Cornelius Greene. Miller also became the first OSU quarterback to rush for three scores in a game since Art Schlichter in 1978 ... UCF fell to 0-7 against Big Ten opponents ... The Buckeyes host California next Saturday, while the Knights play their home opener against FIU.
09/08 19:45:47 ET