Ohio State looks to keep its Big Ten title hopes alive when it hits the road this Saturday for a Noon ET kickoff at Illinois
First And 10
Ohio State is 8-2 and 5-1 in the Big Ten
Illinois is 5-5 and 3-3 in the Big Ten
This is the 95th meeting between the schools in football; Ohio State leads the series 60-30-4
Saturday is coach Jim Tressel’s 100th game at Ohio State. He is 81-18 in eight seasons in Columbus; 216-75-2 in his 23rd overall
Tressel tied former coach Earle Bruce for third place on Ohio State’s all-time wins list with 81
The win at Northwestern was Tressel’s 50th Big Ten victory; Bruce won his 50th game in 61 games and Tressel did so in 62
The Buckeyes have a 14-game Big Ten road win streak, an OSU record
Chris “Beanie” Wells, the reigning Big Ten offensive player of the week with 140 yards and 2 TDs at Northwestern, will become the sixth Buckeye to eclipse 3,000 career rushing yards with one more yard (2,999 entering Saturday)
The 105,711 attending the Penn State game was the largest crowd ever at Ohio Stadium
The Buckeyes lead the Big Ten in pass defense and punt return average
No. 10 Ohio State (8-2/5-1) visits Illinois (5-5/3-3) for a Big Ten game Saturday, November 15, 2008, at Memorial Stadium (65,000) in Champaign. This noon Eastern game will be televised by ESPN.
Ohio State and Illinois will be meeting for the 95th time since the series was inaugurated in 1902. Until the series was interrupted in 2003, the two teams had played every year from 1914 to 2002.
Ohio State leads the series 60-30-4 and has a 32-12 advantage in Champaign. Between 1968 and 1982, the Buckeyes put together a 15-game winning streak against the Illini, the longest streak in the series by either team. Illinois won five in a row between 1988 and 1992. Ohio State has won three of the last four meetings, but Illinois was a 28-21 winner last year in Columbus.
Illibuck is a wooden replica of a turtle presented to the winner of the Ohio State-Illinois football game. The tradition began with a live turtle in 1925. Illibuck is the second oldest trophy exchanged in the Big Ten, behind the Little Brown Jug between Minnesota and Michigan.
In The Polls
The Buckeyes are ranked 10th this week in the USA Today/AFCA coaches’ poll, 10th in the Associated Press media poll and 10th in the Harris Poll. Illinois is unranked. In the latest installment of the BCS standings released Sunday, Ohio State is 11th.
Ohio State is one of only 20 teams in the nation to have eight wins for the 2008 season. The Buckeyes are among 51 teams nationally that are bowl eligible, having reached Win No. 6 Oct. 11 against Purdue.
In Road Finales
Ohio State is 65-47-6 all-time in final road games of the regular season. Under Coach Jim Tressel, the Buckeyes are 5-2 in those games.
Big Ten Road Trips
The Buckeyes currently hold a 14-game win streak in Big Ten road games. That’s the longest such string ever by an Ohio State football team. The conference record is 17 games, set by Michigan between 1988-92.
Since joining the Big Ten Conference in 1913, Ohio State is 60-32-5 in conference road openers. Ohio State is 194-77-10 (.708) all-time in Big Ten road games.
By decades on the road in the Big Ten: 7-4 (1913-19); 12-6-1 (1920-29); 17-6-1 (1930-39); 8-9-2 (1940-49); 17-8-1 (1950-59); 24-6 (1960-69); 30-5-1 (1970-79); 26-14-1 (1980-89); 26-11-3 (1990-99); 27-8 (2000-07).
Under Coach Jim Tressel, the Buckeyes are 5-3 in Big Ten road openers and 24-7 (.774) in Big Ten road games overall.
Illinois Report Card (5-5)
|W, 47-21||Eastern Illinois|
|L, 24-38||at Penn State|
|W, 45-20||at Michigan|
|L, 17-27||at Wisconsin|
|L, 17-23||Western Michigan|
Wells Named Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week
Wells broke loose for 140 yards and a pair of touchdowns to lead Ohio State to a road triumph over Northwestern. The junior running back averaged 5.0 yards on 28 attempts and recorded 140 or more yards on the ground for the third time this season. Wells opened the scoring with a two-yard run to give the visitors a 7-0 lead. After the Wildcats tied the score, he put the visitors ahead for good by breaking multiple tackles on his way to a 55-yard scoring sprint. The Ohio native ranks third in Big Ten play with 117.2 yards per outing and needs one more yard to break the 3,000-yard mark for his career. Wells picked up his third career weekly laurel after being honored on Oct. 22 and Nov. 19 of 2007.
Ohio State is the fifth major college football program to reach 800 all-time wins; that event occurred in the 26-14 win over Ohio University. The Buckeyes have an all-time record of 806-306-53 in their 119 seasons. The top 10 schools in terms of total program victories:
872 – Michigan
829 – Notre Dame
829 – Texas
823 – Nebraska
806 – Ohio State
798 – Penn State
797 – Alabama
785 – Oklahoma
774 – Tennessee
761 – Southern Cal
The Silver Bullets
The Ohio State defense again is among the nation’s most dominant. The Buckeyes rank in the Top 20 this week in six defensive categories: 6th in scoring defense and turnover margin, 7th in total defense, 8th in pass defense, 10th in pass efficiency defense and 17th in run defense.
In the 43-0 win over Youngstown State, Ohio State’s defense recorded the third shutout of the Jim Tressel era; others were in 2003 vs. Northwestern and 2006 vs. Minnesota. It was the first shutout by the Buckeyes in a season opener since OSU beat Miami (Fla.) 10-0 in 1977. The defense has held the opposition to single-digit scoring 31 times during the Tressel era.
Against Youngstown State, Ohio State’s defense allowed only 74 yards of offense. The Penguins registered -11 rushing yards on 21 attempts, the first time the Buckeye defense held an opponent to negative rushing yards since Cincinnati had -4 yards on 22 attempts Sept. 16, 2006.
Ohio State forced four Youngstown State punts and a YSU fumble on its five defensive possessions of the first half. Three of those five YSU drives resulted in three-and-outs. Overall, Ohio State forced YSU to punt on nine of its 12 possessions.
At Michigan State, the Buckeyes held the nation’s leading rusher, Javon Ringer, to just 67 yards, forcing five turnovers, including two fumbles returned for touchdowns (69 yards by Thaddeus Gibson and 48 yards by Jermale Hines). Michigan State scored only once against the Buckeyes.
Penn State, which came into the game averaging 45.4 points per contest, was held to just a touchdown and two field goals by the OSU stoppers.
In the win over Ohio University, the Buckeye defense allowed just one offensive touchdown. At Southern Cal, led by 10 tackles from Malcolm Jenkins, the OSU defense gave up only four scores to the nation’s top team, and the Buckeyes held Troy (which entered the game averaging 48 points per outing) to just a touchdown and a field goal.
Ohio State, behind 12 tackles from James Laurinaitis, 10 stops from Ross Homan and seven tackles and a pair of forced fumbles by Anderson Russell, held previously unbeaten Minnesota to just 81 yards rushing. Homan and Laurinaitis, with 10 tackles each, were the leaders in the Wisconsin win.
Laurinaitis with 10 tackles, Freeman with nine and Thaddeus Gibson, with six tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble, were the leaders of the defensive effort that held Purdue to just a field goal.
Three And Out
The Buckeye defense recorded seven three-and-outs versus Youngstown State, six at Michigan State, five in the wins over Ohio University, Troy and Minnesota, four at Northwestern, three against Southern Cal and Purdue, and two at Wisconsin, an average of 4.0 per game (40 total) during the 2008 season.
In 2007, the Buckeye defense held the opponent to three-and-out on 48.5% of all possessions (66-136). Turnovers ended 18 of those other opponent drives.
Ohio State Spouts Third-Best Conference Mark
Over the last 20 conference games, Ohio State has the third best record at 18-2 behind Boise State (WAC) and BYU (Mountain West).
Conference Records Last 20 Games:
|Boise State||Western Athletic||19-1|
|Ohio State||Big Ten||18-2|
|Virginia Tech||Atlantic Coast||17-3|
Laurinaitis For 345
Now showing 346 career tackles to date, Laurinaitis ranks seventh among Ohio State career tackles. With his 10-tackle performance at Wisconsin, senior linebacker James Laurinaitis passed the 300 career tackle mark, just the 14th Ohio State player ever to reach that standard.
Laurinaitis is averaging 11 tackles per game this season in Big Ten play, leading the conference, with a team-high 11 tackles and an interception at Northwestern, a team-best 10 tackles with a TFL and two pass breakups against Purdue, followed by a team-best 11 stops with 1.5 sacks at Michigan State and 12 tackles against Penn State.
The two-time consensus All-American, who leads the Buckeyes in tackles for the third consecutive season, shows 101 total tackles this year, with 2.5 sacks, two interceptions and three pass breakups.
For his career, the 2006 Nagurski Award and 2007 Butkus Award winner has 20.5 TFL, 11.5 sacks and nine interceptions. In 15 career games against ranked opponents, Laurinaitis has 155 tackles, an average of 10.3 per contest.
Laurinaitis is one of 12 semifinalists for the 2008 Rotary Lombardi Award; he was one of four finalists for that honor last season and is the only Big Ten player still in consideration for that award. He and teammate Malcolm Jenkins are among 15 semifinalists for the Chuck Bednarik Award, presented to a top defender by the Maxwell Club of Philadelphia. He is also one of 10 finalists from all positions for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award.
Jenkins Thorpe Award Semifinalist
Senior corner Malcolm Jenkins is one of 13 semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, presented to the nation’s best collegiate defensive back. He is one of only three Big Ten defenders on the list; three finalists will be announced Nov. 24.
Jenkins, who forced a Northwestern fumble and had seven tackles against the Wildcats, continues to make big play after big play. He recorded his 11th career interception to start the second quarter of the 16-3 win over Purdue. Jenkins also blocked a Boilermaker punt in the first quarter that teammate Etienne Sabino returned 20 yards for the game’s only touchdown.
His 10th career interception, in the 20-17 win at Wisconsin, couldn’t have come at a more opportune time; Jenkins intercepted Badger QB Allan Evridge on the Wisconsin 34 with 53 second remaining in the game, the first play after OSU’s go-ahead touchdown. Jenkins also had an interception in the win over Ohio University.
The senior standout came up with nine tackles, and a sack that forced the MSU fumble recovered by Thaddeus Gibson for a score at Michigan State.
The All-American ranks fifth on the OSU defense this season with 47 total tackles, five pass breakups and 3.5 tackles for loss. He and teammate James Laurinaitis are among 15 semifinalists for the Chuck Bednarik Award, presented to a top defender by the Maxwell Club of Philadelphia.
The Buckeyes rank an impressive sixth in the nation this week in turnover margin, averaging +1.30 per game. Ohio State has forced 13 interceptions and recovered 11 opponent fumbles this season.
Ohio State came up with five turnovers against Ohio, the biggest being a Shaun Lane recovery of a fumbled Ohio punt return attempt with less than a minute remaining in the third quarter, setting up the Buckeyes’ go-ahead score. Lawrence Wilson, Anderson Russell, Malcolm Jenkins and James Laurinaitis had interceptions for OSU against the Bobcats.
That marked the most turnovers forced by Ohio State since the 2006 Northwestern game, when OSU had two interceptions and three fumble recoveries.
The Buckeyes also took advantage of five turnovers in the win at Michigan State. Thaddeus Gibson (69 yards) and Jermale Hines (48 yards) each returned Spartan fumbles for fourth-quarter touchdowns; Donald Washington returned a first-quarter fumble 44 yards for the Buckeyes. Kurt Coleman and Brian Rolle had interceptions against MSU.
Kurt Coleman nabbed two interceptions (the first picks of his career) in the win over Troy; the last Buckeye to record two interceptions in a single game was James Laurinaitis at Washington in 2007.
A Donald Washington interception and fumble recoveries by Anderson Russell (who forced two fumbles) and Ricky Crawford gave OSU the turnover advantage against Minnesota. At Wisconsin, a Ross Homan fumble recovery and a Malcolm Jenkins fourth-quarter interception were both key plays in that come-from-behind victory.
In the Purdue win, Malcolm Jenkins had an interception and also blocked a punt that was returned by Etienne Sabino for the game’s only touchdown. Lawrence Wilson recovered a Boilermaker fumble that was forced by Thaddeus Gibson.
At Northwestern, fumble recoveries by Anderson Russell (forced by Malcolm Jenkins) and Doug Worthington (forced by Cameron Heyward) both led to Buckeye scores. James Laurinaitis had an interception against the Wildcats as well.
The Buckeyes had a fumble recovery against Youngstown State, and Chimdi Chekwa recorded an interception in the endzone against Southern Cal.
Beanie For 3,000?
Junior Chris “Beanie” Wells continues to power his way up the Ohio State career rushing ladder. Now sixth among Ohio State career rushers, he shows 2,999 yards rushing on 530 carries since 2006, averaging 5.7 yards for every carry of his career.
With 122 more rushing yards, Wells will be in fifth place among Buckeye career leaders, ahead of Pepe Pearson (3,121, yards from 1994-97). Already this season, Wells has passed Carlos Snow, Michael Wiley, Antonio Pittman, Raymont Harris and Calvin Murray.
Beanie rushed for 140 yards and a pair of scores at Northwestern, his 14th career 100-yard game and his fifth 100-yard performance in seven outings this season; he had the same rushing totals at Michigan State.
He had a four-game streak where he was averaging 50.8 yards on his last four scoring plays: 62 at Michigan in 2007, 65 vs. LSU in the BCS title game, 43 against Youngstown State in this season’s opener and 33 against Wisconsin. His touchdowns at Michigan State covered 1 and 12 yards.
Beanie’s average gain on his 28 career rushing touchdowns is 19.4 yards.
Terrelle’s First Start…
Terrelle Pryor made his first career start at quarterback against Troy, marking the first time a true freshman started at quarterback for the Buckeyes since Art Schlichter in 1978. Pryor finished the game 10-for-16 passing for 139 yards and four touchdowns. He broke Schlichter’s freshman record of three touchdowns in a single game (vs. Purdue, Oct. 14, 1978).
His four TDs also tied Schlichter’s Buckeye freshman mark for passing touchdowns in a season.
It was the first four-touchdown game for a Buckeye quarterback since Todd Boeckman vs. Northwestern Sept. 22, 2007.
Pryor’s four TDs tie for the fourth-best single-game performance for a Buckeye, matching a mark set 13 times prior.
He also ran for 66 yards on 14 carries.
The Jeannette, Pa., product also rushed for 66 yards on 14 carries, and threw his first career touchdown pass, a 13-yarder to tight Rory Nicol on the game’s opening drive. He later threw his second on a 39-yard strike down the middle to receiver Brian Hartline. He completed a 38-yard TD pass to Brian Robiskie early in the fourth quarter and set the record for a Buckeye freshman QB with his 16-yard TD pass to Hartline later in the fourth. The 39-yard TD pass from Pryor to Hartline was the second-longest pass play of the season for Ohio State.
In the 34-21 win over Minnesota at Ohio Stadium, Terrelle Pryor made his second consecutive start at quarterback for the Buckeyes. He scored Ohio State’s first touchdown of the game on a 32-yard run at the 12:47 mark of the first quarter Ohio State’s quickest score to open a game this season. Pryor later added a 38-yard run in the second quarter, his longest of the season. His 38-yard run was the team’s second-longest rush of the year.
Pryor had two rushing touchdowns against Minnesota, becoming the first Buckeye quarterback to run for two scores since Troy Smith vs. Iowa Sept. 24, 2005. In addition to his 32-yard run in the first quarter, Pryor ran for a 1-yard score in the third quarter.
Pryor finished the game with 97 yards rushing (12.1 yards a carry), setting a Buckeye record for rushing yards for a true freshman QB. Art Schlichter set the previous mark vs. SMU in 1978 with 77. He also completed 8-of-13 passes for 70 yards and a touchdown.
…And More Terrelle
At Wisconsin, Pryor led the Buckeyes to a come-from-behind 20-17 win, the first home loss for the Badgers in a night game since 1995 and the first home loss for Wisconsin in 17 games. Despite an interception and four sacks, Pryor kept his composure to maneuver Ohio State on a 12-play, 80-yard drive during the last six minutes of the contest, completing passes of 19, 27 and 13 yards. Pryor himself rushed for the game-winning touchdown from 11 yards out with 1:03 to play. Pryor was 13-19 passing for 144 yards and rushed for 20 more against Wisconsin.
In the Big Ten win over Purdue, Pryor was 10-14 passing for 97 yards and rushed for 27 more.
At Michigan State, Pryor was 7-11 passing for 116 yards and rushed for 72 yards and a touchdown. His 56-yard strike to Brian Hartline was the Buckeyes’ longest play on offense all season. He was 16-25 for 225 yards passing against Penn State. Pryor passed for three touchdowns and 197 yards (9-14) on a blustery day at Northwestern, rushing for 33 yards more.
For the season, he shows 1,076 yards passing with nine touchdowns; the true freshman has rushed for 450 yards and five scores.
For the 2008 season, 13 different Buckeyes have recorded at least one reception, with four different receivers catching a touchdown pass.
Eleven different Buckeyes caught at least one pass in the 43-0 win over Youngstown State. The leader in yardage was Brian Hartline, who totaled 59 yards on just two receptions, the long being 47 yards. Hartline has at least one reception in the last 28 games and was the leading receiver at Wisconsin with three catches.
The leader in number of catches in the opener was freshman DeVier Posey, with four receptions for 47 yards, including a 25-yard score. Brian Robiskie, Ray Small and Chris “Beanie” Wells had three catches each. Robiskie, who had a 31-yard touchdown reception from Todd Boeckman against YSU, has caught at least one pass in his last 35 games and has the most TD catches for the Buckeyes (7) this season.
Against Ohio University, six different Buckeyes were on the receiving end of Boeckman strikes; Ray Small had five receptions to lead the team.
Seven Buckeyes had receptions against Southern Cal, again led by Small with six catches.
In the win over Troy, four Buckeyes Hartline, Robiskie, Brandon Smith and Rory Nicol each had two receptions from Terrelle Pryor. Both of Hartline’s catches 39 and 16 yards were for touchdowns. Robiskie (38) and Nicol (13) also had touchdown catches against Troy.
Robiskie, who recorded his 100th career catch as a Buckeye against Minnesota, had eight catches for 90 yards against the Gophers, both stats OSU team highs for the season. Dane Sanzenbacher, with six catches for 82 yards, was the top receiver among seven Buckeyes who caught a pass against Penn State. Robiskie was the leader with three catches for 58 yards and two scores at Northwestern, although Hartline hauled in catches of 46 and 44 yards against the Wildcats as well.
Bucks Win 77 Percent of Ohio Stadium Games
The Buckeyes boast an all-time record of 384-106-20 (.773) in Ohio Stadium since that facility opened in 1922.
The 105,711 fans who watched the Penn State game marked the largest crowd in Ohio Stadium history, topping the mark of 105,708 set against Michigan in 2006.
Ohio State has hosted 47 consecutive crowds of 100,000 or larger at Ohio Stadium; six of last year’s crowds ranked among the top 25 all-time. Ohio State’s all-time record in Columbus is 527-153-35 in 714 games.
Before the 2007 season, the old grass field in place at Ohio Stadium since 1990 was removed for a new synthetic surface called FieldTurf. The old field was rolled up and donated to the Columbus Parks and Recreation Service.
Score By Quarters
This season in the first quarter, the Buckeyes have outscored the opposition 78-17. The Buckeyes lead in the second quarter, 66-44, but the opponents hold an edge in the third quarter, 37-33. Ohio State has outscored its 2008 opponents 89-32 in fourth-quarter play.
The Buckeyes are outscoring opponents by more than 13 points per game (26.6-13.0).
Coaching Staff Assignments
Here’s a breakdown of the Ohio State coaching staff assignments for the 2008 season.
On the field:
Darrell Hazell: Wide Receivers, Assistant Head Coach
Jim Heacock: Defensive Coordinator, Defensive Front
Taver Johnson: Cornerbacks
John Peterson: Tight Ends, Recruiting Coordinator
Dick Tressel: Running Backs
In the booth:
Jim Bollman: Offensive Coordinator, Offensive Line
Joe Daniels: Quarterbacks, Passing Game
Luke Fickell: Co-Defensive Coordinator, Linebackers
Paul Haynes: Safeties
Ohio State W/L Records
All-Time Record: 806-306-53
Big Ten: 448-189-28
Ohio Stadium: 384-106-20
Bowl Games: 18-21
November Games: 282-132-19
November Road Games: 179-78-1
When the Ohio State-Illinois game kicks off, the Buckeyes will have a total of 39 players with at least one game of starting experience. Tops among those are: James Laurinaitis (36); Malcolm Jenkins (36); Marcus Freeman (34); Alex Boone (33); Steve Rehring (29) and Rory Nicol (28).
First-time starters (9) in 2008: C Mike Brewster, OT Bryant Browning, DE Thaddeus Gibson, TB Dan Herron, DB Jermale Hines, LB Ross Homan, QB Terrelle Pryor, FB Brandon Smith, and TB Maurice Wells.
Average Per Down
Here’s a breakdown of how the 2008 Ohio State offense is operating on first, second, third and fourth down.
On first down, the Buckeyes have run a total of 262 plays, gaining 1,395 yards for an average of 5.3 yards per play. On second down, OSU has tried 207 plays for 1,103 yards, a 5.3 average. On third down, the Buckeyes have run 133 plays, gaining 734 yards for a 5.5 average. Ohio State has tried only six fourth-down attempts, gaining 54 yards.
Ohio State’s touchdowns this season have come 13 times on first down (nine rushing and four passing TD), eight times on second down (five passing and three rushing), four times on third down (three passes and a rush) and once on fourth down (a rush).
Sixteen freshmen have gotten their first college experience for the Buckeyes in 2008: 11 true freshmen and five redshirt freshmen.
Eleven freshmen (four redshirt/seven true freshmen) saw their first collegiate action in the opener against Youngstown State. True freshman quarterback Terrelle Pryor connected with another true freshman, Lamaar Thomas, on a 9-yard pass in the first quarter, the first college completion for both. Pryor finished with 35 yards passing and 52 yards rushing in his debut, scoring on an 18-yard fourth-quarter run.
Redshirt freshman Joe Bauserman passed for 22 yards in his initial effort; his first collegiate completion went to true freshman DeVier Posey for four yards. Posey was the leading Buckeye receiver with four catches against YSU. Posey scored a touchdown on his first college catch, a 25-yard strike from Todd Boeckman.
Dan “Boom” Herron, a redshirt freshman, rushed for 17 yards on five carries in his first game. Other freshmen who saw action against Youngstown State: Mike Adams, Mike Brewster, Nate Oliver, Etienne Sabino, J.B. Shugarts and Solomon Thomas.
Good For Three
Ryan Pretorius’ four-for-four showing on field goals against Youngstown State marked the eighth time a Buckeye had four field goals in a game, and the first time since Josh Huston converted five attempts vs. Texas in 2005.
Pretorius connected on field goals of 28, 31, 26 and 50 yards, the last just two yards shy of his career best (52 vs. Cincinnati, 2006). He is currently 16th in the NCAA standings with an average of 1.56 made field goals per game.
Junior Aaron Pettrey made a career-long 54-yard field goal in the fourth quarter against Youngstown State, the fourth-longest field goal made by a Buckeye in Ohio Stadium history. Pettrey also connected on a 49-yard attempt in the Purdue win and hit a 40-yarder at Michigan State. He made field goals of 41 and 326 yards for the Buckeyes’ only scores against Penn State.
Pretorius was 27 and 38 yards and wide on a 53-yard attempt against Ohio University. He made a 29-yard field goal at Southern Cal but was wide on a 46-yard attempt. Pretorius was two-of-three on field goals against Minnesota and Purdue, and two-for-two at Wisconsin. Ohio State did not attempt a field goal against Troy.
Ohio State has held its opponent scoreless in 23 of 40 quarters of action (57.5%) during the 2008 campaign. The Buckeye defensive unit has given up only 13 touchdowns through 10 games.
Against Ranked Teams
Ohio State is 127-102-12 all-time when facing a ranked opponent, and 39-40-7 on the road against ranked teams. Under Coach Jim Tressel, the Buckeyes are 33-11 overall and 12-5 on the road against ranked teams.
In Non-Conference Games
Under Jim Tressel, the Buckeyes are 23-1 at Ohio Stadium versus non-conference teams, the only loss coming 25-22 to No. 2 Texas in 2005. The Buckeyes are 27-3 overall in regular season non-conference games since 2001.
In Night Games
Ohio State is 6-2 at home (26-12 away from home) in night games (games starting 5 p.m. or later local time) since 1959 and 32-14 in night games all-time. Earlier this season, Ohio State lost 35-3 at Southern Cal in a prime time game, posted a 20-17 night win at Wisconsin and lost at home to Penn State 13-6.
Last season, Ohio State played back-to-back night games for the first time in school history with Big Ten games under the lights at Minnesota and at Purdue, winning both contests. The Buckeyes also recorded a 37-17 night win at Penn State and lost to LSU in the BCS championship game.
Under Coach Jim Tressel, the Buckeyes are 14-8 in night games and 7-3 in Big Ten night games away from Ohio Stadium. Tressel’s teams are 2-2 at home in night games.
A league-best 24 Ohio State football players were named to the Big Ten’s 2007 all-academic team, marking the sixth year in a row the Buckeyes led the conference. Additionally, 45 Ohio State football players qualified for the annual OSU Scholar-Athlete Dinner in May, which requires a grade-point average of 3.00 or better for the past academic year.
Ohio State has seven seniors on its roster who have already earned bachelor’s degrees from OSU.
Those are: Todd Boeckman, Marcus Freeman, Ryan Lukens, Ben Person, Steve Rehring, Jon Skinner and A.J. Trapasso.
According to a survey by Boston College, Ohio State ranks among the Top 10 nationally in the number of players with degrees on the 2008 roster:
13 – Miami (Fla.)
10 – Boston College, Virginia Tech
9 – Maryland
8 – Auburn, Clemson, Pitt
7 – Arizona St, Memphis, Ohio State, PSU
Formerly walk-ons, long snapper Jake McQuaide (aerospace engineering), wide receivers Ben Kacsandi (biology) and Kyle Ruhl (family resource management), offensive lineman D.R. Ebner (exercise science) and tight end J.D. Larson (family resource management) were put on scholarship aid for the autumn quarter beginning Sept. 24.
Robiskie Draddy Trophy Finalist
Selected as the best and brightest from the college gridiron, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) announced that Ohio State senior receiver Brian Robiskie is among 15 finalists for the 2008 Draddy Trophy, presented by HealthSouth, and the candidates for the 2008 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards.
Robiskie is a 3.54 honors student in marketing and was a 2007 first team Academic All-American.
The Draddy winner, who will receive a $25,000 postgraduate scholarship, will be announced at the NFF’s Annual Awards Dinner on December 9 at the prestigious Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. Each of the 15 finalists receives an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship.
Robiskie is the 20th Ohio State player to receive an NFF scholar-athlete award since the program began 50 years ago. Ohio State and Nebraska lead the nation with the most-ever honorees. Two Buckeyes, Bobby Hoying and Craig Krenzel, were previous Draddy Trophy winners.
More NFF Honorees
A number of past and present Buckeyes have been recently recognized by the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame. In July, quarterback Rex Kern (1968-70) took part in the College Football Hall of Fame enshrinement festival in South Bend, Ind.
In December, former head coach John Cooper (1988-2000) will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as part of its newest class, along with former OSU assistant coach Lou Holtz (1968). At that same gala at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria, Ohio State director of athletics Gene Smith will receive the John L. Toner Award for superior athletics administration, and Ohio senator John Glenn will receive the Foundation’s highest honor, its Gold Medal.
Academic All-America All-District
Ohio State wide receiver Brian Robiskie and linebacker Marcus Freeman have been selected to the ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA academic all-district team for District 4; both are now eligible for Academic All-America consideration.
Robiskie, a senior from Cleveland, Ohio, was a first team Academic All-American in 2007. Robiskie holds a 3.54 grade-point average in marketing and is a finalist for the National Football Foundation’s Draddy Trophy.
Freeman, a graduate student in education from Huber Heights, Ohio, with a 3.35 grade-point average, is the Buckeyes’ second-leading tackler and a nominee for the Bobby Bowden, ARA Sportsmanship and Wuerffel trophies.
Named to the all-district academic second team were receiver Brian Hartline and offensive linemen Bryant Browning, Andrew Moses and Andrew Miller. District 4 includes all colleges in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama.The Academic All-America teams will be announced Tuesday, Nov. 25.
Two Buckeyes Lott Trophy Quarterfinalists
Ohio State’s Malcolm Jenkins and James Laurinaitis (a Lott finalist in 2007) are two of 20 collegiate defensive players to earn a spot on the Lott Trophy quarterfinalist list.
Named after Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott, The Lott Trophy is awarded to college football’s Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year. Now in its fifth year, The Lott Trophy is the first and only college football award to equally recognize athletic performance and the personal character attributes of the player.
Trapasso Semifinalist For Ray Guy Award
Senior punter A.J. Trapasso in among 10 semifinalists for the 2008 Ray Guy Award, given by the Greater Augusta Sports Council to the nation’s top collegiate punter.
Of 50 punters nominated, the contenders were evaluated on net average, percentage of punts inside the 20, average return yardage and percentage not returned.
The award, first presented in 2000, is named for football legend Ray Guy, the first punter ever inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Laurinaitis Finalist For Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award
The inaugural Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award has been pared down to an elite group of 10 NCAA Division I finalists in football, including Ohio State’s James Laurinaitis.
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I FBS senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: Classroom, Character, Community, and Competition. Buckeye seniors Marcus Freeman and Brian Robiskie were among 30 players selected as initial candidates.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages those leaders to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact on their circle of influence.
Tyson Gentry FWAA Courage Nominee
Ohio State’s Tyson Gentry is the Oct. 22 nominee for the 2008 FedEx Orange Bowl/FWAA Courage Award, to be announced at the end of the season. Gentry, a senior from Sandusky, Ohio, suffered partial paralysis after he was injured during a spring practice in April 2006, but has remained a valued member of the team.
The walk-on punter was asked to help out as a receiver on the scout team. During a scrimmage, he suffered a broken C-4 vertebrae in his neck after catching a pass. After several surgeries, Gentry has movement in his head and shoulders, and partial movement in his arms. He continues a rigorous therapy regimen – and has seen progress, regaining some feeling in different areas. Using a motorized wheelchair, Gentry continues as a member of the team, attending meetings, practices and games.
Gentry will be honored along with other Buckeyes seniors at the final home game vs. Michigan. He is on track to graduate with a degree in speech and hearing science next spring. His goal is to earn a master’s degree and become a speech therapist.
For the third straight year, the Football Writers Association of America and the FedEx Orange Bowl will announce a weekly nominee each Wednesday during the season. A blue-ribbon panel will determine the winner from all of the nominees. The winner of the FedEx Orange Bowl/FWAA Courage Award will be announced in December and be presented with the trophy.
The Courage Award was created by ESPN The Magazine’s senior writer Gene Wojciechowski, an FWAA member. A select group of writers from the FWAA vote on the winner each year. The requirements for nomination include displaying courage on or off the field, including overcoming an injury or physical handicap, preventing a disaster or living through hardship.
After An Open Date
During the Tressel era, Ohio State is now 2-4 in regular season games with an open date the week before (not counting season openers).
UCLA 13, Ohio State 6 (2001)
Ohio State 51, Ken State 17 (2002)
Wisconsin 17, Ohio State 10 (2003)
Northwestern 33, Ohio State 27 (2004)
Penn State 17, Ohio State 10 (2005)
Ohio State 45, Northwestern 10 (2008)
During the Jim Tressel era at Ohio State, in the games following the Buckeyes’ 18 losses, OSU has a 16-2 record. Eleven of those games were at Ohio Stadium, where the Buckeyes under Tressel are 10-1 in the game following a loss. Only once during the Tressel era has Ohio State recorded back-to-back losses, a three-game stretch with losses at Northwestern, to Wisconsin and at Iowa in October, 2004.
Not Since 1922-24
Ohio State ranks second among all NCAA Division I programs with 83 consecutive seasons since last posting back-to-back losing records. The Buckeyes have not been under .500 for two or more consecutive seasons since 1922-24, which trails only Tennessee; the Vols have not had back-to-back losing seasons since 1909-11, a span of 96 consecutive seasons.
Where They Go Next
The Buckeyes host Michigan Saturday, Nov. 22, for a noon game at Ohio Stadium. Illinois is at Northwestern that day.