COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Brian Rolle intercepted a potential two-point conversion in the closing minutes and returned it for two points the other way, helping No. 6 Ohio State hold off pesky Navy 31-27 on Saturday.
A crowd of 105,092 - the largest ever to see the Buckeyes open a season - sat in stunned silence after the Midshipmen scored twice in just over 4 minutes to cut a 29-14 deficit to two points with 2:23 left in the game.
Navy went for the tie, but Rolle stepped in front of Ricky Dobbs ' pass and rumbled up the sideline to preserve the win in the Midshipmen's first trip to Ohio Stadium since 1931 - and keep the luster on next week's showdown between the Buckeyes and No. 4 Southern Cal.
Terrelle Pryor was 14 of 21 for 174 yards, and ran for a touchdown and passed for another to help Ohio State build its lead early in the fourth quarter.
The Midshipmen came in as three-touchdown underdogs. The Buckeyes came in considered contenders to play for a national championship.
As it was, they barely got by Navy.
Dobbs, who completed 9 of 13 passes for 156 yards and two scores, rolled left and hit Marcus Curry on a 16-yard scoring pass with 1:24 left in the third quarter to cut Ohio State's lead to 20-14.
The Buckeyes countered with two quick scores.
Aaron Pettrey , who kicked three field goals, made a 52-yarder early in the fourth quarter.
Two plays later, Dobbs completed a pass in the right flat to Mario Washington that Ohio State safety Kurt Coleman ripped out of his arms. Linebacker Ross Homan fell on the ball at the Navy 30, and Pryor pitched the ball three plays later to Dan Herron on the option and he bounced in off left tackle on a 6-yard scoring run to put the Buckeyes up 29-14.
It stayed that way when Pettrey's extra-point try clanged off upright.
Navy turned it over again on its next possession, but then turned the game around with a defensive stand. The Buckeyes disdained the field goal and went for it on fourth and 2 at their own 15 with 6:30 left, but linebacker Tyler Simmons surged forward to stop Herron for no gain.
On the next snap, Dobbs lofted a perfect spiral over the middle to Curry, who had a step on safety Anderson Russell . Curry then outran Russell and Andre Amos to the end zone, completing the third-longest pass play in Navy history. The 85-yard score narrowed the lead to 29-21.
Pryor then overthrew a receiver and Navy safety Emmett Merchant intercepted and returned it 28 yards to the Ohio State 33 with just under 4 minutes left.
Dobbs ran for 4 yards, then passed for 5. On third and 1 at the 24, he faked a handoff and sprinted straight up the middle for the touchdown.
The gasp from the partisan crowd was audible.
Navy called timeout to set up for the possible tying two-point try. Dobbs then took the snap and dropped back, passing over the middle. Rolle was the only player close and the junior thundered up the Navy sideline 99 yards for the two points.
After getting the onside kick, the Buckeyes finally ran out the clock.