COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Braxton Miller's numbers may not have been eye-popping. Yet he took a big step in his first collegiate start.
Miller tossed two touchdown passes to Devin Smith as Ohio State rebounded for a 37-17 victory over error-prone Colorado on Saturday, extending the Buffaloes' school-record road losing skid to 19 in a row.
Miller, a true freshman, was declared the Buckeyes' starter on Thursday after Joe Bauserman's lackluster play failed to energized the offense while taking the first snaps in each of the first three Ohio State games.
Ohio State's Devin Smith, left, and Jordan Hall celebrate Smith’s touchdown during the second quarter against Colorado Saturday. The Buckeyes won, 37-17.
Jordan Hall rushed for 84 yards and a TD and also had a 90-yard kickoff return to set up another score for the Buckeyes (3-1), who lost 24-6 last week at Miami to drop out of The Associated Press Top 25 for the first time in almost seven years.
Miller still hit on only 5 of 13 passes for 83 yards, just one more completion than Ohio State had in the punchless loss. But he threw scoring strikes covering 32 and 17 yards to Smith and also ran for 83 yards on 17 carries.
Colorado (1-3) has not won a road game since Oct. 27, 2007, at Texas Tech.
OHIO ST. 37, COLORADO 17
OSU-J.Hall 1 run (Basil kick), 8:27.
OSU-FG Basil 28, 4:49.
OSU-D.Smith 32 pass from B.Miller (Basil kick), 7:53.
Col-Clemons 11 pass from Hansen (Oliver kick), 2:44.
OSU-FG Basil 18, :03.
OSU-D.Smith 17 pass from B.Miller (Basil kick), 9:04.
Col-FG Oliver 47, 4:47.
OSU-Hyde 5 run (Basil kick), 4:26.
OSU-FG Basil 47, 11:42.
Col-McCulloch 14 pass from Hansen (Oliver kick), 3:31.
Time of Possession26:4333:17
RUSHING-Colorado, Stewart 11-55, Jones 2-18, Hansen 3-3. Ohio St.,
J.Hall 18-84, B.Miller 17-83, Hyde 6-40, R.Smith 4-18, Berry 2-1.
PASSING-Colorado, Hansen 22-39-0-238. Ohio St., B.Miller 5-13-0-83,
RECEIVING-Colorado, Stewart 5-27, Richardson 4-38, Clemons 4-31,
Deehan 3-71, Jones 2-28, Cefalo 2-6, Gray 1-23, McCulloch 1-14.
Ohio St., D.Smith 3-64, Fragel 2-24, T.Williams 1-12, Fields 1-10.
The Buckeyes' Drew Basil added 13 points, including hitting all three of his field goal attempts, and Carlos Hyde also ran for a score.
Averaging 26 points and almost 394 yards per game, mistake-prone Colorado did amass 314 yards but still was never in the game.
Tyler Hansen, who threw for 474 yards and three touchdowns in an overtime loss at California, had TD passes of 11 yards to Toney Clemons and 14 yards to Tyler McCulloch. Hansen completed 22 of 39 passes for 238 yards with no interceptions.
The Buffaloes, with just one turnover in their first three games, lost two fumbles in the first half while falling behind by two touchdowns.
Ahead 20-7 at the half, the Buckeyes only had to drive 50 yards before Miller hit Smith with his second scoring pass. After Colorado countered with a field goal, Hall brought the kickoff back 90 yards before he was brought down from behind at the 5. Hyde then scored on a sweep on the next play to make it 34-10.
The Buffaloes contributed to their own problems in the first half.
After their first possession, Darragh O'Neill shanked a punt that covered just 20 yards and put the Buckeyes in control at the Buffaloes 43. Seven plays later, Hall vaulted up the middle for the touchdown.
Tailback Rodney Stewart and Hansen miscommunicated on a handoff with no defender around after the ensuing kickoff, the ball coming free with Ohio State's Adam Bellamy falling on it at the Colorado 22. Basil then converted a 28-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead.
The Buckeyes, who did not complete a pass to a wide receiver in the Miami loss, finally broke through early in the second quarter when Miller lobbed a 32-yard scoring pass to Smith, who was running a post pattern and had three steps on the defensive back.
The Buffaloes, held without a first down for the first 23 minutes, put together an 83-yard drive to draw to 17-7. On fourth and 1 at the Ohio State 11, coach Jon Embree elected to go for it. Hansen was flushed out of the pocket, rolling right, and flipped a high pass over the middle to Clemons - a transfer from Ohio State archrival Michigan - who outjumped Travis Howard for the TD.
But Colorado then kicked the ball out of bounds to give the Buckeyes the ball at the 40.
Still, the Buffs held the Buckeyes on downs. But Stewart was interfered with by a teammate on the ensuing punt and fumbled, with Zach Domicone recovering for the Buckeyes at the Colorado 11 with 15 seconds left. Miller kept for 9 yards, but the Buckeyes settled for another Basil field goal and a 20-7 halftime lead.