No. 1 or No. 2? Ohio State tried to answer the question Saturday.
In its first outing since the Bowl Championship Series standings were released with top-ranked Ohio State second behind No. 2 UCLA, it was business as usual for the Buckeyes in a 38-7 victory over Indiana on Saturday.
"I'm not going to tell you it had anything to do with it," Ohio State coach John Cooper said of the standings. "I'd be lying to you if I said we didn't mention it to them."
"There were a lot of people on our team offended," said wide receiver Dee Miller, who had career highs of 11 catches for 159 yards. "We can't control that. All we can control is that we keep winning."
Ohio State (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten) accumulated 551 yards on offense, and allowed the game to end without going for a meaningless touchdown from the Hoosiers 1 in the closing seconds.
David Boston returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown and padded his school record for TD receptions with two for Ohio State.
Boston's punt return put the Buckeyes ahead to stay with 8:33 left in the opening quarter. His 29th TD catch on a 3-yard pass from Joe Germaine gave the Buckeyes a 28-7 lead following a 69-yard, eight-play drive to start the second half. He caught No. 30 on a 2-yard toss from Germaine midway in the fourth quarter, giving the Buckeyes a 38-7 lead.
Germaine, who was 32-of-45, threw for three TDs and 351 yards, his school-record fourth consecutive 300-yard game, fifth of the season and sixth of his career. His career yardage total increased to 5,254, 2,293 shy of Art Schlichter's school record.
have not seen a college quarterback that is playing better than Joe Germaine," Cooper said. "He's running our offense, and throwing the ball. He's doing a great job."
Ohio State wide receiver Dee Miller had career highs in receptions (11) and receiving yards (159) in the Buckeyes' 38-7 victory over Indiana. (AP)
Indiana (3-5, 1-4) has lost eight straight to Ohio State since 1988.
The Hoosiers fell behind 21-0 as redshirt freshman Antwaan Randle El found himself under constant pressure from the aggressive Ohio State defense. He was sacked three times in the first half for 19 yards and lost a fumble at the Ohio State 32.
Randle El, who came into the game leading Indiana in rushing with about 80 yards per game, netted only 27 on 18 carries. The longest run was only eight yards.
Linebacker Andy Katzenmoyer was especially effective against Indiana's ground game with six tackles, including his first sack of the season and three for losses.
"Andy made open-field plays today. I haven't been around a linebacker that can make plays like he did," Cooper said. "Randle El is out in the open field and Andy gets him. ... When you face a quick quarterback like Randle El, you better have some athletes on defense that can run."
"We did pretty good," said Ohio State linebacker Na'il Diggs of the defense against Randle El. "We had to play a lot of trick plays, stay home a lot. We couldn't be as aggressive as we wanted, but we got it done. ... He's pretty tough. It is not as easy as it looks (to contain him.)."
Miller had a 33-yard reception to set up Marcus Wiley's 2-yard run that gave Ohio State a 14-0 lead. The Buckeyes pushed it to 21-0, moving 75 yards in 11 plays for Germaine's 6-yard pass to John Lumpkin.
"We take that as an honor," Miller said of Germaine's passing numbers. "We're starting to peak and our best football is coming. ... We have a lot of weapons and it is hard to key on one person."
Indiana cut it to 21-7 by moving 76 yards in seven plays, scoring on a 37-yard pass from Randle El to Levron Williams with eight seconds left in the half.
"Ohio State had to do a really good job, but I don't know what went wrong in that game," Randle El said.
© 1998 SportsLine USA, Inc. All rights reserved