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Smith, Ohio State manhandle Indiana

Oct 21, 2006 - 7:14 PM COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) -- The Heisman Trophy appears to be Troy Smith's to lose.

Smith tossed four first-half touchdowns - each to a different receiver - as top-ranked Ohio State manhandled Indiana, 44-3, in a Big Ten Conference contest.

Tight end Rory Nicol had two touchdown receptions and Ted Ginn Jr. both caught and threw for a score for the Buckeyes (8-0, 4-0 Big Ten), who extended their national-best winning streak to 15 games.

"We didn't start out great the first two or three minutes of the game, but I thought after that we did everything we had to do to have a decisive victory and the guys made plays," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said.

Smith completed 15-of-23 passes for 220 yards for Ohio State, which has won the last 14 meetings against Indiana since a 41-7 road loss in 1988. The senior has 21 TD passes and just two interceptions this season.

The Buckeyes trailed, 3-0, before Smith threw a 23-yard touchdown to a wide-open Nicol across the middle with 2:55 remaining in the first quarter.

On the first play of the second period, Smith escaped pressure in the pocket and flung a 31-yard TD to Ginn, his high school teammate in Cleveland.

"Anytime you're in a situation where you have to step up and throw or step up and go, we're always taught to square our hips and square our shoulders to deliver the ball," Smith said. "In that case, it really took me to get squared and get my fundamentals right in every aspect of throwing that ball, because if I didn't, who knows where that ball would have went?

"The coaching staff really, really, really tries to ram that into our heads about square shoulders and square hips and the ball will go wherever you want it to."

Smith added TD tosses of five yards to Anthony Gonzalez and one yard to Jake Ballard to help the Buckeyes take a 28-3 advantage into the break.

Ginn iced the contest with a 38-yard TD pass to Nicol on a reverse just under six minutes into the second half.

Redshirt freshman Kellen Lewis went 15-of-28 for just 106 yards for Indiana (4-4, 2-2), which stunned then-No. 15 Iowa, 31-28, at home last weekend. Lewis was sacked four times.

"Iowa is similar but they did not move much," Lewis said. "(Ohio State) does a good job moving around before the snap of the ball."

"I am not going to be overly critical of any individual on our team," Indiana coach Terry Hoeppner said. "It is hard to find anyone who played or coached well today, including me. Ohio State took away a lot of the things we wanted to do."

Indiana took a 3-0 lead on a 34-yard field goal by Austin Starr with 7:59 left in the first quarter, but it was all the Hoosiers could muster against the nation's third-ranked scoring defense, which had been yielding just nine points per contest.

The Hoosiers were outgained on the ground, 270-7, and mustered just 165 total yards to the Buckeyes' 540.

"We stopped the run," Buckeyes defensive tackle Quinn Pitcock said. "We had some trouble with the quarterback scrambles at 3rd-and-long, but we kept up persistent (pressure) and we were able to get the job done."

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