COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Braxton Miller threw four touchdown passes to lead Ohio State to a 31-24 win over Wisconsin on Saturday night in the Big Ten opener for the Buckeyes.
On the way to winning its 17th straight game, Ohio State answered each challenge from the Badgers, who have represented the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl the past three years.
Ohio State (5-0, 1-0) led 24-14 at the half and stretched that margin to 31-14 late in the third quarter as Miller connected with Corey Brown with a 1-yard touchdown pass. An interception by Bradley Roby had set the Buckeyes up at the Wisconsin 32.
The Badgers (3-2, 1-1) stayed in striking range as running back James White scored on a 17-yard run early in the fourth quarter to pull Wisconsin within 10.
Ohio State was able to burn a lot of the remaining time running the ball but could not put the Badgers away. Wisconsin pushed for a 42-yard field goal from Kyle French to cut the deficit to 31-24 with just over two minutes left.
The Badgers failed to recover an onside kick, but Ohio State went nowhere in three downs and had to punt with 1:40 left. Wisconsin was pinned inside its own 10 by the punt and Ohio State's defense then closed the door.
Wisconsin wide receiver Jared Abbrederis had 10 receptions for 207 yards.
The Buckeyes got three first-half touchdown passes from Miller, who had missed most of the three previous games with a knee sprain.
Miller threw 25 yards to Evan Spencer and then hit Devin Smith from 26 yards as Ohio State built a 14-7 first-quarter lead.
With the third-most potent rushing attack in the nation coming into the game, Wisconsin hit a wall of Ohio State defenders on its first couple of series and then went to the air.
Quarterback Joel Stave kept the Badgers moving with a 36-yard scoring pass to Abbrederis that tied the score at the time, but Wisconsin missed a 32-yard field goal try early in the second quarter.
Ohio State pushed its lead to 17-7 late in the second quarter with a 45-yard field goal from Drew Basil before Stave hit Sam Arneson from 11 yards to cut the lead to 17-14.
On the final offensive play of the first half, Miller hit Brown on fourth down with a 40-yard touchdown pass for a 24-14 advantage.
NOTES: Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen's previous visit to Columbus was in 1984 when he was being recruited out of junior college by the Buckeyes. Andersen ended up playing at Utah. ... Ohio State backup QB Kenny Guiton threw 12 touchdown passes in the Buckeyes' three previous games -- a streak never before accomplished at Ohio State. ... Wisconsin entered the game with two running backs averaging better than 100 yards per game. Sophomore RB Melvin Gordon was averaging 156 yards per game and White, a senior, was averaging 110.5 yards per game.