-- With Justin Zwick hindered by a slightly separated shoulder, Troy Smith will start at quarterback for Ohio State on Saturday against Indiana.

Quarterbacks coach Joe Daniels announced the decision after Thursday's practice. Daniels said he has talked to Smith to reassure him that he doesn't need to win the game single-handedly.

"We don't need him to come out with a red cape and an 'S' on his chest," Daniels said. "We just need him to do the things that Troy is capable of doing. That's enough."

Zwick, who has started every game for Ohio State (3-3, 0-3 Big Ten), suffered what Daniels termed a mild separation of his left (non-throwing) shoulder in the Buckeyes' 33-7 loss at Iowa last week -- their third straight defeat.

"Justin will be available in a semi-emergency," Daniels said. "But right now we'll go with Troy."

Smith, a 6-foot-1, 215-pound sophomore, will be making his first collegiate start. He battled Zwick throughout the spring and preseason, saw limited action in the first two games and then never left the sidelines the Buckeyes' next three games.

In the loss at Iowa, Smith ran or passed for all the yardage in the Buckeyes' only scoring drive late in the game.

Coach Jim Tressel said Smith made mistakes during that game that have to be avoided.

"To us, a quarterback's number one task is to be a great decision-maker. Number two [is to] make sure we eliminate turnovers, and number three [is to] make plays," Tressel said. "He didn't have turnovers, he made plays. A couple of decisions I think could have been made better. To be what we need at that position, you've got to make great decisions 100 percent of the time. It's a lot to ask, but that's what we shoot for."

Smith has taken most of the snaps in practice this week, with third-stringer Todd Boeckman in for about 20 percent of the plays.

Smith was unavailable to discuss his climb to No. 1 on the depth chart because of Ohio State's new seniors-only interview policy.

Ohio State's offense has been stuck in neutral for most of what has become a lost season. Of the 117 teams in Division I-A, the Buckeyes are ranked 104th in rushing offense, 82nd in passing offense and 111th in total offense.

Zwick has struggled almost all season. He failed to complete even half of his passes in his last four games and has six interceptions and lost four fumbles.

With Justin Zwick, right, recovering from a slightly separated shoulder, Coach Jim Tressel will start Troy Smith tomorrow against Indiana.