Oct. 27, 2014
|Junior LB Joshua Perry recorded a career-high 18 tackles at Penn State. He leads the Buckeyes with 63 tackles and has 5.0 TFL.|
| Ohio State Notes | Illinois Notes | Big Ten Notes | Press Conference Transcript
Coach Meyer Press Conference | Coach Coombs Press Conference
Facebook.com/Buckeyes | @OhioStAthletics | @Brutus_Buckeye
FIRST AND 10
The Ohio State Buckeyes, 6-1 overall and 3-0 in the Big Ten East Division, host the Illinois Fighting Illini (4-4 overall and 1-3 in the Big Ten West) in an 8 p.m. game Saturday, Nov. 2, that will be televised to a regional audience on ABC. The Buckeyes are coming off a 31-24 double overtime win at Penn State while the Illini snapped a three-game losing skid with a 28-24 win over No. 24 Minnesota in Champaign, Ill.
ILLIBUCK: 2ND OLDEST B1G TROPHY
The winner of the Ohio State/Illinois game is awarded with the Illibuck, a wooden replica of a turtle. 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 trophy played for by Minnesota and Michigan. This is Ohio State’s only “trophy” game during the regular season.
41-23 UNDER THE LIGHTS
This primetime game will be Ohio State’s fourth of five “night” games this season and third at Ohio Stadium. The overall and home night game totals are each all-time highs for the Buckeyes. Ohio State is officially 41-23 in night games (those starting after 5 p.m. local time). The Buckeyes are 11-4 all-time in night games at Ohio Stadium and 30-19 in road (21-10) or neutral field (9-9) night games.
Ohio Stadium Night Games:
|9-14-85||Ohio State 10, Pittsburgh 7|
|9-11-93||Ohio State 21, Washington 12|
|8-28-97||Ohio State 24, Wyoming 10|
|9-11-99||Ohio State 42, UCLA 20|
|10-6-01||Ohio State 38, Northwestern 20|
|8-30-03||Ohio State 28, Washington 9|
|9-10-05||Texas 25, Ohio State 22|
|10-25-08||Penn State 13, Ohio State 10|
|9-12-09||USC 18, Ohio State 15|
|9-2-10||*Ohio State 45, Marshall 7|
|10-29-11||Ohio State 33, Wisconsin 29|
|10-6-12||Ohio State 63, Nebraska 38|
|9-28-13||Ohio State 31, Wisconsin 24|
|9-6-14||Virginia Tech 35, Ohio State 21|
|9-27-14||Ohio State 50, Cincinnati 28|
OHIO STATE SEEKS RECORD-TYING WIN
Ohio State can tie the Big Ten Conference record for regular season conference wins with a win on Saturday. The Buckeyes have won 19 consecutive Big Ten games, a streak that dates to the start of the 2012 conference season. Ohio State now has five of the top six longest winning streaks for conference games only (regular season games only), including the Big Ten record of 20 consecutive conference wins, set by the 2005-07 Ohio State teams.
Conference Games Win Streaks
|20||—||Ohio State, 2005-07|
|19||—||Ohio State, 2012-current|
|17||—||Ohio State, 1974-76|
|Ohio State, 1967-69|
|Ohio State, 1954-56|
THE PLAN IS TO WIN
Ohio State has better than a 90-percent winning rate under Urban Meyer. Only one school – Florida State – has a better winning percentage than Ohio State since the start of the 2012 season.
Best Records – 2012-2014
A LOOK AT THE ILLINI
Illinois is 4-4 and 1-3 in the B1G after handing Minnesota its first Big Ten loss of the season Saturday, 28-24, in Champaign. The Illini have registered wins over Youngstown State, Western Kentucky, Texas State and the Gophers and have lost at Washington, Nebraska and Wisconsin and home to Purdue.
Senior QB Reilly O’Toole will be under center for the Illini, with leading passer Wes Hunt sidelined with an injury. O’Toole helped UI to its first Big Ten win of the season Saturday, completing 14 of 21 passes for 118 yards and a TD while also rushing for 59 yards. He is 59 of 97 with four TDs and four INTs on the year. Junior RB Josh Ferguson leads the Illini on the ground with 518 yards on 102 carries with six TDs while freshman WR Mike Dudek is the leading receiver with 42 catches for 639 yards and three TDs.
Defensively, junior Mason Monheim and senior Zane Petty lead the Illini with 72 and 70 tackles, respectively.
Tim Beckman, a former Urban Meyer assistant coach at Bowling Green, is 10-22 in his third year in Champaign and 31-38 overall as a head coach.
OHIO STATE vs. ILLINOIS
Ohio State and Illinois are meeting for the 101st time in a series that started in 1902. Only Ohio State’s series against Michigan, which started in 1897 and which has seen 110 games, is older and lengthier than the Illinois series. Ohio State and Illinois played every year for 89 consecutive years, between 1914 and 2002, until the series was interrupted in 2003. The game Saturday will be the 10th consecutive year the teams have played. The two will play in 2015 at Illinois (Nov. 14) but won’t play in 2016 before meeting once again in 2017 (Nov. 18 at Ohio Stadium).
OHIO STATE LEADS SERIES, 65-30-4
Ohio State leads the all-time series, 65-30-4. The Buckeyes are 34-12 vs. Illinois in Champaign and 39-18-4 in Columbus. 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, officially, won eight of the last nine meetings.
MEYER & BECKMAN & OHIO TIES
Urban Meyer and Illinois coach Tim Beckman coached two seasons together at Bowling Green; Meyer as head coach retaining Beckman as Falcons’ defensive coordinator for the 2001 and 2002 seasons. Meyer is from Ashtabula, Ohio; Beckman is from Berea, Ohio.
BECKMAN’S OHIO STATE TIES
When Urban Meyer left Bowling Green for Utah prior to the 2003 season, Beckman stayed at BGSU for two more seasons as defensive coordinator. He was then hired by Jim Tressel at Ohio State in 2005 and served as the Buckeyes’ cornerbacks coach for two seasons.
GAME No. 6 vs. A FORMER ASSISTANT
Urban Meyer has had 11 of his assistant coaches move on to head coaching positions with 10 of them still a head coach. Eight of these coaches’ teams were victorious in games on Saturday, Oct. 25, giving the group a fine 50-27 record this season for a .649 winning percentage. The Ohio State/Illinois game will mark the sixth time Meyer has coached opposite one of them. Meyer’s teams are 4-1 in the previous games. The previous meetings were:
Meyer Assistants Currently Head Coaches
Steve Addazio: Boston College, 2nd year
Gary Andersen: Wisconsin, 2nd year
Tim Beckman: Illinois, 4th year
Gregg Brandon: Bowling Green (2003-08)
John “Doc” Holliday: Marshall, 5th year
Dan McCarney: North Texas, 4th year
Dan Mullen: Mississippi State, 6th year
Mike Sanford: UNLV (2005-09); Indiana St, 2nd year
Charlie Strong: Louisville (2010-13); Texas, 1st year Kyle Whittingham: Utah, 10th year
Everett Withers: James Madison, 1st year
OHIO AND ILLINOIS PLAYERS
Ohio State’s roster includes seven players – four scholarship and three walk-ons – from the state of Illinois: OT Jamarco Jones (Chicago), DT Tommy Schutt (Glen Ellyn), WR Evan Spencer (Vernon Hills), DL Dylan Thompson (Lombard), OL Logan Gaskey (Long Grove) and DB Mike Maduko and OL R.J. Morris from Naperville.
Illinois has 17 Ohioans on its roster, including seven players listed as starters on the Illini two-deep chart for the Minnesota game: LT Simon Cvijanovic (Cleveland/Benedictine), C Joe Spencer (Mason/Mason), RT Christian DiLauro (Uniontown/Green), WR Justin Hardee (Cleveland/Glenville), DE Dawuane Smoot (Groveport/Madison), LB Mason Monheim (Orrville/Orrville) and CB V’Angelo Bentley (Cleveland/Glenville).
TWO MORE TIES
Third-year Illinois special teams coordinator Tim Salem coached at Ohio State under John Cooper from 1997-2000. He was quarterbacks coach all four years and added receivers’ responsibilities in 2000. And Illinois inside linebackers coach Mike Ward coached the defensive line for Urban Meyer at Bowling Green between 2001-02.
BUCKEYES WIN FIFTH CONSECUTIVE
Ohio State jumped out to a 17-0 lead on Penn State, persevered through a 17-point comeback in outrageous sight and sound “whiteout” conditions to get into overtime, and then defeated Penn State in two overtimes, 31-24, to stay unbeaten in Big Ten play with a fifth consecutive win on the season. Ohio State rushed for 119 first-half yards against the nation’s No. 1 unit against the run entering the game with Ezekiel Elliott netting 76 and one score. Quarterback J.T. Barrett was 7-of-9 passing for 52 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Heuerman late in the second quarter to make it a 17-0 game. But the Nittany Lions, backed by its loud crowd of 107,895, rallied in the second half behind a “pick-six” return and enough passing yards – 122 – from Christian Hackenberg to tie the score and force overtime. J.T. Barrett scored both Ohio State touchdowns in overtime and defensive end Joey Bosa had the play of the day to end things.
BOSA’S “WALK-OFF” SACK ENDS GAME
Not sure who to credit for the term “walk-off” sack, but it sure fit as Joey Bosa overpowered a Penn State blocking back on a fourth-and-5 play in the second overtime, knocking him backwards and into quarterback Christian Hackenberg for a game-ending sack to clinch Ohio State’s 31-24 double overtime victory. Bosa had 2.5 sacks on the day to increase his Big Ten Conference league leading totals to 8.0 quarterback sacks and 11.5 tackles-for-loss. He finished with six total tackles.
BOSA: 13 CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH TFL
Joey Bosa now ranks fifth nationally in tackles-for-loss with 11.5 and 1.6 per game, sixth in sacks with 8.0 and 1.14 per game and he is third in TFL yardage with 75 lost yards. Bosa has had a TFL in 13 consecutive games, during which time he has 21 TFLs for a negative 120 yards.
TWO PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS
A walk-off sack, plus 1.5 additional sacks and six total tackles has netted Joey Bosa the B1G defensive player of the week honor as well as Athlon’s national defensive player of the week award.
SEASON-HIGH TFLs FOR “D”
Ohio State’s defense played a fine overall game against Penn State, allowing just 240 total yards, including only 16 rushing yards. The Buckeyes had four pass break-ups in addition to interceptions by Vonn Bell and Tyvis Powell, and the defensive line and linebackers accounted for a season’s-best 11 tackles-for-loss for a negative 52 yards, also a season high total. Darron Lee joined Bosa with 2.5 TFLs (-13 yards) and Adolphus Washington had a sack and 1.5 TFLs. Ohio State leads the Big Ten and ranks 20th nationally with 52 TFLs and 7.4 per game.
18 TACKLES FOR PERRY
Joshua Perry was outstanding on defense for the Buckeyes, registering a personal-best and a team-season high 18 tackles vs. the Nittany Lions. Included in his total were 12 solo tackles and two TFLs for a minus-7 yards. Perry leads the Buckeyes with 63 tackles and 9.0 per game, a total that ranks fifth in the Big Ten.
ELLIOTT POWERS FOR 109
Ezekiel Elliott had a solid, powerful rushing game against the nation’s No. 1 run defense Saturday in State College with 109 yards rushing, a 4.2 per carry average and the first score of the game from 10-yards out. Penn State was allowing just over 60 yards rushing per game entering the contest. Elliott now has three 100-yard rushing games this season and four for his 18-game career.
Ezekiel Elliott 100-Yard Games
2014 – 109 off 26 carries vs. Penn State
2014 – 139 off 24 car. vs. Maryland
2014 – 182 off 28 car. vs. Cincinnati
2013 – 162 off 14 car. vs. Florida A&M
NO. 1 IN BIG TEN IN INTERCEPTIONS
The second interceptions of the season, respectively, for Vonn Bell and Tyvis Powell moved the Buckeyes into the Big Ten lead with 12 interceptions on the season. Eli Apple and Doran Grant also have multiple picks for the Buckeyes this year.
EIGHT WITH INTERCEPTIONS
Eight different players have recorded interceptions for the Buckeyes – the second-highest total in the nation – including five by four freshmen (Eli Apple has two and Erick Smith, Darron Lee and Raekwon McMillan have one apiece).
No. of Players with an INT
FROM THE LAND DOWN UNDER
In a game when every possession proved ultimately critical, Australian punter Cameron Johnston kept Penn State backed up near its goal line with a 45-yard average off six punts with four of them dropped inside the 20 and two of those inside the 10. Penn State was forced to punt on all four of its possessions that started I20 from a Johnston punt. Johnston’s punts have helped Ohio State to a No. 2 ranking in the Big Ten in net punting (40.4) and he is fourth in the Big Ten at 44.4 yards per punt.
LONGEST ROAD WIN STREAK
Ohio State has won 11 consecutive games on the road, the longest such streak in the nation. Florida State has won 10 consecutive road games with Missouri and Arizona State next with eight and seven consecutive road wins, respectively.
Ohio State is now 8-2 in overtime games (4-0 at home; 3-2 away and 1-0 at neutral sites) and has won three consecutive games. Urban Meyer’s teams are 7-0 in overtime games: 1-0 at BGSU; 1-0 at Utah; 2-0 at Florida; and 3-0 at Ohio State).
OSU OT’s Under Meyer
10-26-14: 31-24 (2OT) at Penn State; 2 J.T. Barrett TD runs and a “walk-off” sack by Joey Bosa;
11-17-12: 21-14 at Wisconsin; Carlos Hyde TD; Christian Bryant PBU on 4-G-21; and
10-20-12: 29-22 vs. Purdue; Hyde TD run in “legend of Kenny G” game.
MORE ON J.T. Barrett
J.T. Barrett had his string of four consecutive games of 300-or-more yards of total offense and at least four touchdowns responsible for snapped vs. Penn State, but 32 yards rushing and two touchdowns in an overtime win on a sprained knee in a hostile environment was huge. Barrett has had an incredibly news and noteworthy start to his career with his fine play. Here’s a look at some of J.T.’s accomplishments so far:
5 WEEKS OF HONORS FOR J.T.
J.T. Barrett has been honored by the Big Ten Conference or a regional or national organization after five of his starts this season. He has been the Big Ten’s freshman of the week four times and its offensive player of the week twice.
23 POINTS OFF BOSA TURNOVERS
Three forced fumbles by Joey Bosa have led to 23 Ohio State points so far this season.
Darron Lee and returned 61 yards for a third-quarter touchdown.
7 points – His sack and forced fumble of Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Brewer was recovered by Rashad Frazier at the VT 15. Two plays later Ezekiel Elliott scored to tie the game at 21-all.
9 points – In the win over Cincinnati, Bosa delivered a devastating strip-sack to UC QB Gunner Kiel. The ball was batted out of the end zone for a safety and Ohio State scored on its possession after the free kick.
THREE 20-GAME WIN STREAKS FOR MEYER
Last season Urban Meyer became the first head coach at the highest level of the collegiate coaching ranks (major college, Division I, FBS, etc.) to have three winning streaks of at least 20 games. A total of 41 head coaches at this level have lead a team to a winning streak of at least 20 games. Nine of those coaches have had two winning streaks of at least 20 wins. Meyer is the first to add a third such winning streak to his name.
Multiple 20-Game Win Streak Coaches
24 – Florida (2010) & Ohio State (2012-13)
22 – Florida (2008-09)
20 – Utah (2003-04) & Florida (2005)
28 – Yale (1888-89)
27 – Yale (1890-92)
22 – Tennessee (1937-39)
20 – Tennessee (1950-51)
26 -Nebraska (1994-96)
22 -Nebraska (1982-83)
23 – Penn State (1968-69)
20 – Penn State (1993-95)
28 – Oklahoma (1973-75)
20 – Oklahoma (1986-87)
47 – Oklahoma (1953-57)
31 – Oklahoma (1948-50)
34 – Pennsylvania (1894-96)
31 – Pennsylvania (1896-98)
29 – Michigan (1901-03)
26 – Michigan (1903-05)
AND ONLY ONE THREE-GAME LOSING STREAK
The win over Navy snapped a two-game losing streak for coach Urban Meyer’s team. Meyer has had just one losing streak reach three games in his 155-game head coaching career: in 2010 at Florida. He has had only four multi-game losing streaks in all, with all of them two-game streaks except for the 2010 trio while at Florida. The others: in 2002 at Bowling Green; 2007 at Florida; and 2013 at OSU.
MEYER 80-15 IN FIRST MEETINGS
Penn State’s James Franklin was the 95th different coach that Urban Meyer has game-planned against. Meyer is now 80-15 in first-time coaching matchups.
50-POINT GAME RECORD
Ohio State set a school record this year with four consecutive 50-point games. The stretch was also a personal best for an Urban Meyer-coached team. Three times previously he had a team score 50-or-more points in three consecutive games but this is the first time his team has done so in four consecutive times.
TOTAL OFFENSE TIES SCHOOL MARK
Ohio State also tied the school record this season with four consecutive games of 500-or-more yards of total offense (628 vs. Kent State; 710 vs. Cincinnati; 533 vs. Maryland; and 585 vs. Rutgers). The 1998 Ohio State team was the first to accomplish this 500 feat.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE OFFENSE
Ohio State’s offense is averaging 499.4 yards per game to rank 18th nationally and third in the Big Ten Conference. The offense is also second nationally – to Oregon – in passing efficiency, seventh in scoring at 44.3 points per game and 17th in rushing at 254.0 yards per game. Ohio State has outscored its last five opponents, 158-38, in the first half.
WHERE THE DEFENSE STANDS
Ohio State has moved up to 11th nationally in total defense with 308.1 yards allowed per game. The Buckeyes are 17th in passing yards (187.7), 21st in pass efficiency and 25th in scoring defense (20.7). Ohio State also jumped 16 places against the rush this week to a No. 25 national ranking with just 120.4 yards per game allowed. In the last six games the Buckeyes have given up just 473 yards rushing or 78.8 yards per game.
Total Defense – National Rankings
No. 4 – Wisconsin / 270.1 ypg
No. 6 – Michigan State / 279.4 ypg
No. 7 – Penn State / 284.7 ypg
No. 11 – Ohio State / 308.1 ypg
No. 14 – Michigan / 319.1 ypg
No. 25 – Nebraska / 339.8 ypg
THREE DEFENSIVE TOUCHDOWNS
Ohio State has three defensive touchdowns this season and all are by freshmen. Darron Lee has a 61-yard fumble return vs. Navy; Raekwon McMillan has a 19-yard interception return vs. Maryland; and Eli Apple has a four-yard fumble return vs. Rutgers.
FIRST 4-INT GAME IN FOUR YEARS
Ohio State’s four interceptions against Maryland represented its first four-or-more interception game in four years (four vs. Miami, Fla., in 2010).
HEUERMAN ON MACKEY MIDSEASON LIST
Senior tight end Jeff Heuerman, who has four receptions for 66 yards the last two games, is one of 33 tight ends nationally to be on the John Mackey Award’s midseason watch list.
JOHNSTON KNOWS I20 AND I10
Punter Cameron Johnston is averaging 44.1 yards per punt for his career. He has punted long and he punted with precision as 63.2 percent of his 68 career punts have been downed inside the opponents 20 (43 of 68) with 30.8 percent of his punts (21 of 68) downed inside the opponents’ 10.
FOURTH 300 & 300 GAME
Ohio State had 380 rushing yards and 330 passing yards vs. Cincinnati. This marked the fourth time in school history the team has topped 300 yards in both categories in the same game.
300 Rushing & 300 Passing
2014 – 380 and 330 vs. Cincinnati
2010 – 342 and 303 vs. Eastern Michigan
1996 – 317 and 315 vs. Rice
1986 – 394 and 321 vs. Utah
Ohio State has 12 different players on offense who have scored a touchdown. Last year, 14 Buckeyes finished the season with a touchdown scored and in 2012 11 Buckeyes scored touchdowns.
RECORD CROWD MAKES OHIO STATE NO. 1
A record crowd of 108,362 fans were in Ohio Stadium for the Cincinnati game. The crowd positioned Ohio State to No. 1 in average home attendance through the first eight weeks of the season.
|2014 Home attendance – Average|
|1.||106,770 – Ohio State (Ohio Stadium)|
|2.||106,409 – Texas A&M (Kyle Field)|
|3.||105,907 – Michigan (Michigan Stadium)|
|4.||101,829 – Penn State (Beaver Stadium)|
|5.||101,624 – LSU (Tiger Stadium)|
|Top 5 Ohio Stadium crowds|
|1.||108,362 vs. Cincinnati; Sept. 27, 2014|
|2.||107,517 vs. Virginia Tech; Sept. 6, 2014|
|3.||106,795 vs. Rutgers; Oct. 18, 2014|
|4.||106,102 vs. Nebraska; Oct. 6, 2012|
|5.||106,033 vs. USC; Sept. 12, 2009|
BARRETT HITS 11 DIFFERENT RECEIVERS IN KENT STATE WIN
Redshirt freshman QB J.T. Barrett was spreading the ball all over the field in the 66-0 win over the Golden Flashes Sept. 13, hitting 11 different receivers and tying a school record with six TD passes in the win. It marked the first time in 25 years an Ohio State QB hit 11 different receivers in a game.
A TOP 5 BIG TEN WIN STREAK
Ohio State’s 24 consecutive wins in 2012 and 2013 rank among the Top 5 longest winning streaks in Big Ten Conference history. It was the longest winning streak in the Big Ten in 64 years, or since Michigan won 25 consecutive games between 1946-49.
Longest Big Ten Winning Streaks
29 – Michigan, 1901-03
26 – Michigan, 1903-05
25 – Michigan, 1946-49
24 – Ohio State, 2012-13
24 – Minnesota, 1903-05
22 – Ohio State, 1967-69
21 – Minnesota, 1933-36
20 – Iowa, 1920-23
Devin Smith: 23 CAREER TDs
Devin Smith has caught 23 career touchdown passes at an average distance of 40.1 yards per score. Smith, who has 101 career receptions for 1,935 yards, is fifth all-time at Ohio State with his 23 TD receptions. He recently passed Joey Galloway and Dane Sanzenbacher, who each have 19. His 19.2 yards per catch average currently ranks fourth all-time on Ohio State’s career list. The Ohio State record is 21.3 yards per catch by Cedric Anderson, who played for the Buckeyes from 1980-83.
Devin Smith TD Receptions
2011 – 14 from B. Miller vs. Akron
2011 – 32 from B. Miller vs. Colorado
2011 – 17 from B. Miller vs. Colorado
2011 – 40 from B. Miller vs. Wisconsin
2012 – 23 from B. Miller vs. Miami
2012 – 25 from B. Miller vs. Cal
2012 – 72 from B. Miller vs. Cal
2012 – 63 from B. Miller vs. Michigan State
2012 – 60 from B. Miller vs. Indiana
2012 – 46 from B. Miller vs. Indiana
2013 – 47 from B. Miller vs. Buffalo
2013 – 90 from K. Guiton vs. Cal
2013 – 47 from K. Guiton vs. Cal
2013 – 5 from K. Guiton vs. FAMU
2013 – 26 from B. Miller vs. Wisconsin
2013 – 14 from B. Miller vs. Iowa
2013 – 39 from B. Miller vs. Indiana
2013 – 53 from B. Miller vs. Michigan
2014 – 80 from J.T. Barrett vs. Navy
2014 – 50 from J.T. Barrett vs. Kent State
2014 – 19 from J.T. Barrett vs. Cincinnati
2014 – 34 from J.T. Barrett vs. Cincinnati
2014 – 30 from J.T. Barrett vs. Maryland
Ohio State Career Touchdown Receptions
BUCKEYES IN THE POLLS
Ohio State is ranked No. 13 in both the Associated Press and Coaches Top 25 polls.
Since the start of the 2002 season, Ohio State has been ranked in the AP Top 10 more times than any other school (151). Oklahoma (129) and LSU (127) are second and third, respectively.
The Buckeyes, who have been ranked by the AP Top 25 more times (831) than any other school, appeared in the AP preseason poll for the 26th consecutive season this year, the longest streak in the nation. It also marked the 47th consecutive season Ohio State has appeared in the AP poll, tying Alabama for the longest active streak.
YARDS TO REPLACE
With the preseason injury to senior QB Braxton Miller, Ohio State entered the 2014 season without more than 3,100 yards of total offense from its 2013 squad, on top of losing top playmakers Carlos Hyde (1,521 yards rushing) and Corey “Philly” Brown (771 yards receiving). But as the Buckeyes have shown this season, they will replace those yards by committee with several talented players to spread the ball around to.
The Buckeyes returned just 11 percent of its total offense from a year ago heading into this season, the leading men being sophomore RB Ezekiel Elliott (262 yards rushing) and sophomore H-B Dontre Wilson (250 yards rushing; 210 yards receiving). The Buckeyes did, however, return two senior wide receivers in Devin Smith and Evan Spencer and senior tight end Jeff Heuerman.
NEW ON THE SIDELINES
Coach Urban Meyer’s staff features two new assistant coaches: Chris Ash is the team’s co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach and Larry Johnson is assistant head coach and defensive line coach. Ash spent the past year at Arkansas and the previous three years at Wisconsin. Johnson has coached collegiately for the past 18 years at Penn State.
FIVE SENIORS NAMED CAPTAINS FOR 2014
Five seniors were chosen by vote of their teammates, included injured and out-for-the-year quarterback Braxton Miller, cornerback Doran Grant, linebacker Curtis Grant, defensive tackle Michael Bennett and tight end Jeff Heuerman.
THE EARLY ARRIVALS
Seven prospects from the 2014 recruiting class (of 23) enrolled in January. Those seven were:
THE EARLY TREND
The seven early arriving Buckeyes continue a trend of high school seniors electing to graduate early/complete requirements to graduate and enroll at Ohio State for a winter or spring academic session. Ohio State has a total of 21 players who have left high school early. Those players, in addition to the class of 2014 enrollees, include:
Eli Apple, QB J.T. Barrett, CB Cam Burrows and DL Tyquan Lewis;
2012: OL Jacoby Boren, OL Taylor Decker, RB Bri’onte Dunn, QB Cardale Jones, LB Joshua Perry, DB Tyvis Powell and WR Michael Thomas; and
2011: OL Joel Hale, TE Jeff Heuerman, QB Braxton Miller.
22-0 SINCE 2005 WITH PUNT BLOCK
Urban Meyer’s teams are 22-0 since the 2005 season when blocking a punt. Last season Ohio State blocked three punts: Bradley Roby (2) vs. Indiana and at Northwestern and Doran Grant vs. FAMU. This season, Ohio State has one (Jeff Greene vs. KSU).
60 BLOCKED KICKS
Urban Meyer-coached teams, from 2001 to the present, have blocked 61 kicks. Meyer’s Buckeyes have blocked 10 kicks over the past two-plus seasons. (Source for the first 51 blocks: University of Florida stats)
Buckeyes Building Blocks:
1. Adolphus Washington (PAT vs. UCF)
2. Orhian Johnson (PAT vs. UAB)
3. Bradley Roby (Punt vs. Michigan State)
4. Travis Howard (Punt vs. Indiana)
5. Garrett Goebel (PAT vs. Purdue)
6. Johnathan Hankins (FG vs. Purdue)
7. Doran Grant (Punt vs. FAMU)
8. Bradley Roby (Punt vs. Northwestern)
9. Bradley Roby (Punt vs. Indiana)
10. Jeff Greene (Punt vs. KSU)
THE BIG TEN CONFERENCE
Maryland and Rutgers are now members of the Big Ten Conference and a new East/West divisional format replaces the Legends and Leaders divisions. New division alignments will feature Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers in the East Division and Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin in the West Division. Each school will play the other six schools in its division plus two teams from the other division in 2014 and 2015 before moving to nine-game conference slates in 2016.
BENNETT A SENIOR CLASS CANDIDATE
Senior co-captain Michael Bennett has been named one of 30 candidates for the 2014 Senior CLASS Award in college football. 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 – community, classroom, character and competition.
Bennett, a Centerville, Ohio, native, is a force as an interior defensive lineman, a team-leader off the field and is the son of parents who each graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Off the field, Bennett goes above and beyond in the community, participating in a variety of community service projects. In the past year, Bennett and his teammates have volunteered their time at the Mid-Ohio Food Bank and paid a visit to campers at King Arts Complex in Columbus, reading, playing and interacting with local kids. Bennett also has attended the Columbus Special Olympics, taking part in the opening ceremonies and cheering kids on during competition and has been involved with the 2nd and 7 Foundation, which promotes reading by providing free books and positive role models to kids in need. Last summer, Bennett and his teammates helped rebuild the playgrounds at Graham Expeditionary Middle School in Columbus and also visited sick kids at Columbus Children’s Hospital.
A BIGGER, BETTER, BRIGHTER OHIO STADIUM
Capacity at Ohio Stadium has risen to 104,944 from 102,329, meaning attendance figures can expect to reach 107,000-plus this season after a record crowd of 108,362 vs. Cincinnati. An $8.9 million project at Ohio Stadium added 2,615 seats near the south stands’ stadium tunnels. The project included a new players’ tunnel and it also added rows of permanent MUSCO sports lighting atop the stadium’s east wall and above the press box. Upon completion, the south stands will hold just over 19,300 students (an additional 9,000 students will continue to have seats in the north end of the stadium).
92nd YEAR IN OHIO STADIUM
Ohio Stadium, grand and venerable and registered on the National Register of Historic Places, is hosting its 92nd football season in 2014. Ohio Stadium is endearingly nicknamed the “Horseshoe” or the “Shoe” because of its open south end. It is also referred to as the “House that Harley Built” after Chic Harley, Ohio State’s first three-time All-American who fans flocked to see at Ohio Field in 1916-17-19. Just one year after Harley’s career at Ohio State was over, things were in motion for a new stadium for the Buckeyes.
90 CONSECUTIVE CROWDS OF 100,000-PLUS
Ohio State has had 90 consecutive crowds in excess of 100,000. The last time Ohio State did not have at least 100,000 at a home game in Ohio Stadium: the 2002 season vs. Kent when 98,689 were on hand for the second game of what would become a national championship-winning season.