BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — When everything else fizzled Saturday for Ohio State, coach Urban Meyer put the ball in Ezekiel Elliott's hands.
He saved the game — and perhaps the Buckeyes' title hopes, too.
The junior running back got a sluggish offense going with second-half touchdown runs of 55, 65 and 75 yards, and cornerback Eli Apple batted away a desperation pass in the end zone as time expired to preserve No. 1 Ohio State's 34-27 victory over Indiana.
The Buckeyes have won 18 straight, and 15 in a row on the road, both the longest active streaks in Division I-A, but the lack of style points could cost them in the next poll.
"Look across the country and every day you better play," coach Urban Meyer said. "You better play."
The defending national champs fumbled four times, losing two of them. Cardale Jones threw away a scoring chance when he was picked off inside the Hoosiers 15. The Buckeyes had eight major penalties, the offense couldn't score touchdowns in the red zone and their normally stout defense couldn't put it away.
Elliott's first two scoring runs erased IU leads and his third appeared to give the Buckeyes a seemingly safe 34-20 lead early in the fourth.
The Buckeyes extended their Big Ten regular-season winning streak to 25, barely, and will now wait to see if they can match Oklahoma's record for most weeks (101) at No. 1 in the Associated Press poll.
"Coach Meyer made an emphasis that big plays are going to spark the team, and I knew we needed big plays," Elliott said after his 10th straight 100-yard game. "The O-line did a great job blocking, and they made it easy for me."
Indiana gambled twice on fourth down in the first half — including a fake punt from its 16-yard line that failed. Elliott turned the game open with the 65-yard run on fourth and 1 in the third quarter.
The teams combined for four scoring runs — three from Elliott — that went for more than 50 yards during a 13-minute stretch in the second half.
Ohio State also lost receiver Corey Smith, who was carted off the field with what appeared to be a lower right leg injury.
The Hoosiers, who have not beaten the Buckeyes since 1988, made life miserable despite losing the nation's top rusher, Jordan Howard, in the first half, and their starting quarterback, Nate Sudfeld, in the third quarter. Both had left ankle injuries.
IU backup quarterback Zander Diamont beat the Buckeyes on a 79-yard run to make it 34-27 with 10:03 left. He then drove the Hoosiers to the Ohio State 6 in the final minute and scrambled on third and goal from the 10, throwing a pass to the back corner of the end zone. But Apple batted it away.
NO. 15 OKLA. 44, NO. 23 W. VA. 24: Baker Mayfield passed for 320 yards and three touchdowns to lead the host Sooners in the Big 12 opener for both teams. Dede Westbrook caught five passes for a 107 yards and Durron Neal had 87 yards receiving for OU.
NO. 2 MICHIGAN ST. 24, PURDUE 21: LJ Scott ran for 146 yards and two touchdowns and host Spartans held on through a lackluster second half. MSU led 21-0 at halftime, but the Boilermakers had the ball near midfield with a chance to tie or take the lead before David Blough threw incomplete on fourth down with about a minute left in the game.
NO. 4 TCU 50, TEXAS 7: Trevone Boykin passed for five touchdowns, including four to freshman KaVontae Turpin, and the host Horned Frogs rode a 30-point first quarter to a second straight rout of the Longhorns. Josh Doctson broke the TCU record for receiving TDs with a pair of scores. The Longhorns, plagued by special teams mistakes for a third straight game, scored a late TD to avoid matching the second-worst shutout loss in school history — 50-0 to Oklahoma 107 years ago. They're off to their worst start since 1-9 in 1956.
NO. 5 BAYLOR 63, TEXAS TECH 35: Seth Russell passed for 286 yards and four touchdowns and ran for two more scores, Shock Linwood ran for a career-high 221 yards and two touchdowns as the Bears began their pursuit of a third consecutive Big 12 championship in Arlington. Baylor entered with Division I-A's top offense in scoring (64.0 points per game), total offense (767.0 yards per game) and rushing yards (379.7 per game).
Arizona St. 38, No. 7 UCLA 23: Mike Bercovici passed for 273 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score to spark the upset for the visiting Sun Devils.
NO. 16 N'WESTERN 27, MINN. 0: Clayton Thorson scored two touchdowns, Justin Jackson ran for 120 yards and the host Wildcats defense turned in another dominant performance. Thorson, a freshman quarterback, scored on runs of 5 and 1 yards. The Wildcats defense has allowed only three touchdowns in five games.
IOWA 10, NO. 19 WISCONSIN 6: Jordan Canzeri ran for 125 yards and the visiting Hawkeyes took advantage of four turnovers by Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave. George Kittle caught a 1-yard touchdown pass from C.J. Beathard in the second quarter for the only touchdown as Iowa beat a ranked opponent for the first time in its past 10 attempts.
NO. 20 OKLA. ST. 36, KANSAS ST. 34: Ben Grogan made a 37-yard field goal with 32 seconds remaining for the host Cowboys. Grogan rebounded to make the winner after having an extra point blocked. Last week, he made field goals from 41 and 40 yards in the final 1:33 to give OSU a 30-27 victory at Texas.
NO. 22 MICH., MARYLAND 0: The visiting Wolverines picked off three passes and limited the Terrapins to 105 yards. It was the second straight shutout for Michigan, which has allowed a total of 14 points in its past four games. Desmond Morgan, a senior inside linebacker, picked off a pass in the first quarter and was a major reason why the Terps finished with 29 yards rushing after averaging 196 in their first four games.
NO. 24 CAL 34, WASH. ST. 28: Jared Goff got off to a shaky start and still passed for 390 yards and four touchdowns for the host Golden Bears, playing their first game as a ranked team in six years.
Illinois 14, Nebraska 13: Quarterback Wes Lunt hit Geronimo Allison with a 1-yard touchdown pass with 10 seconds left to propel the host Illini, which trailed by 10 at halftime and never led until Allison's late touchdown catch.
Penn St. 20, Army 14: Christian Hackenberg passed for 156 yards and a touchdown to lift the host Nittany Lions.