Oct. 8, 2002
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Football Luncheon Quotes
Top 25 Polls
Buckeyes Take Break From Big Ten
Fifth-ranked Ohio State takes a brief respite from Big Ten play this week by hosting San Jose State in sold-out Ohio Stadium (101,568). The game will be televised by ESPN Plus (WBNS TV, Channel 10 in Columbus) and broadcast by WBNS Radio (1460 AM and 97.1 FM in Columbus), the flagship station for the statewide Ohio State radio network. Kickoff is set for 12:10 p.m. (EDT).
Ohio State enters the game with a perfect 6-0 mark. San Jose State counters with a 4-2 slate and victories in it last three outings.
This is Homecoming Weekend at Ohio State. As part of Saturday’s halftime ceremonies, the Buckeyes’ 1957 National Championship team (9-1) will be introduced to the Ohio Stadium crowd. Additionally, the 68th annual Captains’ Breakfast will be held at 7:30 a.m. Saturday at the Blackwell Inn on the Ohio State campus. Among those former Ohio State captains returning to meet and honor this year’s captains are Gordon Appleby (1944) and Chuck Csuri (1943).
Following San Jose State, the Buckeyes return to Big Ten action by visiting Wisconsin, the first of seven-consecutive league games for Coach Jim Tressel’s team.
Records and Results
The Buckeyes are coming off a hard-fought 27-16 win at Northwestern Saturday. As a result of that win, Ohio State is 2-0 in Big Ten play. The Buckeyes and Iowa share the early Big Ten lead, a game ahead of Michigan and Michigan State, both of which were idle last week.
Ohio State, the Big Ten’s only remaining unbeaten team, is off to its best start since an 8-0 beginning in 1998. The Buckeyes finished with an 11-1 record that year.
Ohio State has won seven-consecutive regular-season games dating back to last year’s Michigan game.
San Jose State is traveling to Big Ten Country for the second time this year. The Spartans knocked off Illinois, 38-35, in Champaign Sept. 21. Victories over UTEP (58-24) and SMU (34-23) have followed. The latter, played in Dallas, improved the Spartans’ road record to 3-2.
A Quick Look At The Coaches
Jim Tressel is in his second year at Ohio State, where his record is 13-5 (7-3 in the Big Ten and 6-2 versus non-conference opponents). Tressel, now in his 17th season as a head coach, has a career record of 148-62-2. Prior to Ohio State, Tressel spent 15 highly-successful years as head coach at Youngstown State, where he was a four-time pick as the Division 1-AA National Coach of the Year.
Fitz Hill is in his second year at San Jose State. His record with the Spartans currently stands at 7-11. This is Hill’s first head coaching position.
Buckeyes Again Fifth In Both Polls
Ohio State currently is holding steady at the No. 5 spot in both national polls. That lofty perch represents the highest ranking for a Buckeye team under Jim Tressel and the highest ranking for the Buckeyes since they held down the No. 5 slot going into week six of the 2000 campaign. Ohio State finished the 1998 season at No. 3. The Buckeyes began this season ranked 12th by ESPN/USA Today and 13th by the Associated Press. This is their second-consecutive week at No. 5.
This is the first meeting between the two teams. The Buckeyes have an all-time record of 11-1-1 against teams from the Western Athletic Conference. That record includes a 7-1-1 mark against SMU, now a member of the WAC but formerly a member of the Southwest Conference. The Buckeyes’ most recent meeting with a WAC team was a 43-10 victory over Fresno State in Columbus in the 2000 season opener.
A Look At Ohio State
The Buckeyes are averaging 36 points and 410 yards per game on offense. OSU has been most effective on the ground, rushing for 240.8 yards per game. Eighteen of OSU’s 24 offensive TDs have come via the rush. The Buckeyes are throwing for 169.2 yards per game. The OSU offense, which is averaging 6.3 yards per play, has scored 24 of the 25 times it has been in the red zone.
On defense, the Buckeyes are giving up 16.2 points and 360 yards per game. Teams have thrown for an average of 280.9 yards per game against OSU, but are rushing for just 79.8. OSU opponents have not fared well in the red zone, converting just 10 of 19 chances. The Buckeyes have given up just 11 touchdowns in their first six games, only two of those rushing.
Recapping Last Week
Ohio State fell behind 6-0 at the end of the first quarter, but led 14-9 at intermission. The Buckeyes then scored on their first two possessions of the second half to take a 24-9 lead. But it wasn’t until OSU safety Donnie Nickey recovered a Northwestern fumble in the final minute of play that the Buckeyes could begin their victory celebration.
Ohio State finished the game with 455 yards in total offense, including 285 on the ground, but turned the ball over three times – all on fumbles. The OSU defense gave up 396 yards, including 283 through the air, but came up with a pair of crucial fourth-quarter takeaways.
Freshman tailback Maurice Clarett again paced the Ohio State ground attack, this time gaining 140 yards and scoring two touchdowns on 29 carries. Lydell Ross added 83 yards and scored the first OSU TD on a 3-yard run.
Quarterback Craig Krenzel threw for 170 yards and also rushed for a career-high 62. Krenzel hit 11 of his 22 passes, four of which were caught by split end Michael Jenkins.
Linebacker Matt Wilhelm recorded a season-high 15 tackles and All-America safety Michael Doss chipped in with 13.
Kicker Mike Nugent completed the OSU scoring with a pair of field goals, extending his streak of consecutive makes to 12, the second longest in school history.
Coach Jim Tressel On The Buckeyes
“We told the team coming into this game that the key to wining on the road is not turning the ball over and good special teams play. We had three turnovers and didn’t play very well from a special teams standpoint at Northwestern and that concerns me. If we want to keep winning on the road, that has to change. Still, I am happy that we found a way to win the game, and I certainly cannot fault our effort. I didn’t see anyone out there who wasn’t trying his hardest. It will be nice to be back home this week, but there is still a lot to work on before we become the team I think we can be.”
More Yards For Maurice
Tailback Maurice Clarett recorded his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the year at Northwestern and is now within one of the OSU freshman record of five, set by Robert Smith in 1990.
On the season, the 6-0, 230-pound Clarett has rushed for 715 yards on 113 carries, an average of 143 yards per game and 6.3 yards per attempt. He needs 412 yards to break Smith’s OSU freshman rushing record of 1,126 yards.
Clarett also scored a pair of touchdowns against the Wildcats, giving him 12 on the year (11 rushing and one receiving). Fullback Joel Payton (1977) and quarterback Art Schlichter (1978) each scored 13 touchdowns as true freshmen. Payton also holds the OSU frosh record for points with 80 (13 TDs and an extra point). Clarett, who has scored at least one touchdown in each of the five games he has played in, leads the Big Ten in scoring with 72 points and an average of 14.4 points per game.
Buckeyes Prominent on “Watch Lists”
Two-time All-America strong safety Michael Doss is on the Walter Camp Player of the Year “Watch List” that was released at the start of the season. Doss, who was picked as the Big Ten’s preseason defensive player of the year, also is on the Thorpe Award watch list. The latter, of course, goes to the top defensive back in college football.
Additionally, senior punter Andy Groom is on the Ray Guy Award watch list, while junior split end Michael Jenkins is on the Biletnikoff Award watch list and senior linebacker Matt Wilhelm on the Butkus Award watch list.
Based upon their play to date, junior defensive end Will Smith, junior offensive tackle Shane Olivea, sophomore kicker Mike Nugent and freshman tailback Maurice Clarett will all be in the running for postseason honors.
Doss Hopes to Join Elite Circle
Senior safety Michael Doss is already a two-time All-American. Should he garner All-America honors again this year, he would become just the seventh three-time All-American in Ohio State history, joining Chic Harley (1916, ’17, ’19), Wes Fesler (1928-30), Lou Hinchman (1930-32), Merle Wendt (1934-36), Archie Griffin (1973-75) and Tom Skladany (1974-76) in a very select group of athletes.
Head Coach Jim Tressel
Ohio State is under the second-year direction of JimTressel. The 49-year-old mentor led the Buckeyes to a 7-5 recordlast year, including a 5-3 mark in the Big Ten and an appearance inthe Outback Bowl Jan. 1. Now in his 17th year as a head coach,Tressel’s impressive resume includes an all-time record of148-62-2, including a 13-5 mark with the Buckeyes. Prior to comingto Ohio State, Tressel spent 15 years at Youngstown State, where heguided the Penguins to four Division 1-AA national championships(1991, ’93, ’94 and ’97) and 10 appearances in the playoffs. He wasa four-time pick as the national coach of the year, winning thathonor in each of his championship seasons. Prior to taking over atYSU in 1986, Tressel spent three years as an assistant to EarleBruce at Ohio State. In that role, he coached the quarterbacks,receivers and running backs and went to three bowl games, includingthe Rose Bowl. His list of star pupils during that time includesMike Tomczak, Cris Carter and Keith Byars. Prior to Ohio State,Tressel also served apprenticeships at Akron, Miami (Ohio) andSyracuse. Tressel, the 22nd head coach in Ohio State annals, wasnamed to his present position Jan. 18, 2001. Jim’s father, the lateLee Tressel, enjoyed a very successful coaching career at BaldwinWallace College, where he won the 1978 Division III NationalChampionship. His brother, Dick Tressel, is a former head footballcoach at Hamline University in Minnesota and currently serves asassistant director of football operations at Ohio State. As afamily, the Tressels have won 427 games.
Wilhelm, Doss OSU Defensive Leaders
On the strength of a season-high 15-tackles last week at Northwestern, senior linebacker Matt Wilhelm leads the OSU defense with 50 total tackles, including a team-best 10 tackles-for-loss. Wilhelm, in the midst of his best year, appears well on his way to bettering his personal high of 66 tackles in 2000. He finished the 2001 campaign with 63. Strong safety Mike Doss is a strong second with 44 tackles and has a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown to his credit. Ends Will Smith and Darrion Scott have combined for 13 tackles-for-loss (8 by Smith ) and seven sacks (4 by Scott).
A Good Gamble For OSU’s Defense
Chris Gamble is Ohio State’s starting flanker and second leading receiver. The 6-0, 180-pound sophomore also returns punts and kickoffs for the Buckeyes. And, just for good measure, he also plays cornerback. Gamble got his first taste of defensive action at Cincinnati and responded with an interception on his first play. Later, on the Bearcats’ final drive in a four-point Ohio State win, he broke up a pass in the corner of the end zone. In Saturday’s win at Northwestern, Gamble was again inserted at corner when the Wildcats were in the red zone.
“We don’t want to do anything that takes away from his offensive effectiveness,” said OSU defensive coordinator Mark Dantonio. “But if the timing is right and the situation warrants it, we want to use him. He is still learning, but he has shown us in practice against some pretty good receivers that he can cover one-on-one.”
Jenkins Leads Receiving Corps
Junior split end Michael Jenkins has caught at least one pass in 18-consecutive games dating back to the 2001 season opener against Akron. Jenkins, who has 25 receptions so far this year and is averaging 16.0 yards per catch, had four catches at Northwestern and now has 16 in the Buckeyes’ last three games. His two TD grabs are tops on the team.
Nugent At A Dozen
Sophomore kicker Mike Nugent has made all 11 of his fieldgoal attempts this year and has a string of 12 in a row going backto last year’s Michigan game. That is the second longest streak inschool annals, surpassed only by Vlade Janakievski’s 15 during the1979 and 1980 seasons.
Nugent was two-for-two at Northwestern, hitting from 41 and 30 yards out. He now has eight kicks of 40 or more yards this season, including a career-best of 51 yards against Indiana. He has long since eclipsed the school single-season mark of five that had belonged to Rich Spangler (1985) and Dan Stultz (1999).
Nugent has made eight in a row in Ohio Stadium. The record is 10, accomplished twice by Janakievski (1978-79 and 1980).
Nugent is also a perfect 25-for-25 in the PAT department this year and has now made 47 in a row.
Strong safety Michael Doss and free safety Donnie Nickey, both seniors, have been selected by their teammates as captains for the 2002 campaign. Doss, a two-time All-American, is in his third year as a starter, while Nickey is in his fourth. Offensive captains are chosen on a game-by-game basis. Junior split end Michael Jenkins will serve in that capacity against San Jose State. Offensive captains to date have been: Craig Krenzel (Texas Tech), Mike Stafford (Kent State), Ben Hartsock (Washington State), Ivan Douglas (Cincinnati), Chris Vance (Indiana) and Alex Stepanovich (Northwestern).
Big Ten Leaders
Freshman tailback Maurice Clarett continues to lead the Big Ten in scoring at 14.4 points a game. He also is second in rushing at 143.0 yards per game and third in all-purpose running with a 155.6 figure.
Place-kicker Mike Nugent is tied for the league lead in field goals made with 11 in as many attempts. He is second in kick scoring at 9.7 points a game and fourth in overall scoring.
Punter Andy Groom is second in punting with an average of 43.0 on 20 kicks.
Chris Gamble is second in kickoff return average at 26.0 and 10th in punt return average at 7.2 yards per runback.
Junior Michael Jenkins remains 10th in receiving yards per game with an average of 66.7.
Defensively, linebacker Matt Wilhelm and end Will Smith rank second and third in tackles-for-loss with totals of 10 and 8.0, respectively. End Darrion Scott is fifth in sacks with four.
As a team, the Buckeyes lead the league in red-zone offense (24-25) and red-zone defense (10-19), and are second in rushing offense (240.8), rushing defense (79.8) and scoring defense (16.2).
Krenzel Ties Ohio State’s Consecutive Completion Record
Junior quarterback Craig Krenzel carved a niche for himself in the Ohio State records book against Kent State by completing his first 11 pass attempts. That string, coupled with a successful toss on his last attempt at the end of the Texas Tech game, gave Krenzel 12 completions in a row, tying the school record set by Bill Mrukowski in 1962 and later equaled by Mike Tomczak (1983) and Jim Karsatos (1985).
A Special Season For This Buckeye
Senior Mike Stafford experienced the thrill of his Ohio State career against Texas Tech. Stafford, a fifth-year senior and former walk-on who was converted to scholarship at the beginning of the 2001 season, started at left guard against the Red Raiders. It was his first start since his senior year in high school.
Stafford served as the offensive captain against Kent State and was named OSU Offensive Lineman of the Week after that game.
The 6-3, 280-pound lineman has not played the past two weeks due to an ankle sprain, but hopes to return to action this week.
Ohio State All-Time
With the win over Northwestern, Ohio State now has an all-time record of 738-292-53 in this, its 113th season of football. The Buckeyes’ first football team posted a 3-1 record in 1890. Ohio State also has an all-time Big Ten ledger of 402-155-24 since beginning league play in 1913. Since 1960, the Buckeyes have experienced just three losing seasons in Big Ten play (1966, 1988, 1999).
Freshman Class Has Early Impact
Ten members of Ohio State’s highly-touted freshman class have seengame action. Maurice Clarett, Tyler Everett, Mike D’Andrea, NateSalley, Bobby Carpenter, A.J. Hawk, E.J. Underwood and Mike Kudlaall played against Texas Tech in the season opener. Offensivelinemen Robbie Sims and Nick Mangold debuted in the Kent Stategame. In the latter, Clarett scored a pair of touchdowns, one on a2-yard run and the other on a 7-yard pass reception, while Hawktallied his first collegiate six-pointer on a 34-yard interceptionreturn. Other notable showings include a special teams tackle byBobby Carpenter on the opening kickoff against Texas Tech and arally-killing interception by Everett against Washington State. Inthe win over Cincinnati, Underwood played most of the game atcornerback and was credited with five tackles and two passes brokenup. Against Indiana, Rob Sims started at left tackle in place ofinjured Ivan Douglas. Mangold has seen extensive action in each ofthe Buckeyes’ first two Big Ten games.
Clarett Eighth OSU Frosh To Top The Century Mark
Freshman Maurice Clarett, last year’s USA Today high school offensive player of the year, rushed for 230 yards in OSU’s win over Washington State. That is the sixth best single-game showing in Ohio State annals. Other notable rushing performances by freshman running backs at Ohio State include:
1943 Dean Sensenbaugher 33 att./170 yds. vs. Illinois 1972 Archie Griffin 27 att./239 yds. vs. UNC 1972 Archie Griffin 27 att./192 yds. vs. Illinois 1985 Vince Workman 15 att./100 yds. at Illinois 1986 Jaymes Bryant 19 att./145 yds. vs. Utah 1989 Dante Lee 24 att./157 yds. at Northwestern 1990 Robert Smith 23 att./171 yds. at Wisconsin 2001 Lydell Ross 25 att./124 yds. at Indiana
On This Day in Buckeye Lore
Ohio State is 11-4-1 on Oct. 12 down through the years. The Buckeyes are 6-3-1 against Big Ten teams and 5-1 versus teams from outside the conference. Easily the most memorable of those games came in 1968, when Ohio State knocked off top-ranked Purdue 13-0 in Ohio Stadium, catapulting the Buckeyes to a perfect 10-0 record and the Big Ten’s last undisputed national championship.
Charting OSU’s Assistant Coaches
Mark Dantonio (defensive coordinator), Mel Tucker (defensive secondary), Joe Daniels (quarterbacks and receivers) and Bill Conley (tight ends) are in the press box for the Buckeyes. Jim Bollman (offensive coordinator), Tim Spencer (running backs), Jim Heacock (defensive line), Mark Snyder (linebackers) and Luke Fickell (special teams) are on the sidelines.
Scouting the Spartans
San Jose State improved to 4-2 on the season with a 34-23 victory on the road at Southern Methodist last week. In fact, the Spartans have played five of their first six games away from home and will play their next two games on the road, at Ohio State and at Nevada. In those road games so far, San Jose State is 3-2, highlighted by a shocking 38-35 upset at Illinois, the defending Big Ten champion.
With four victories this year, the Spartans have already topped the win total from last year, when they went 3-9 in Dr. Fitz Hill’s first season in San Jose, Calif. Despite the record, SJSU ranked 18th nationally in passing offense and 23rd nationally in total offense.
This year, San Jose State is averaging 33.2 points and 358.7 yards per game. Of that yardage, the Spartans have thrown for 265.0 yards. Quarterback Scott Rislov has completed 109-of-190 passes (57.4 percent) for 1,500 yards and nine touchdowns. His favorite target is Charles Pauley, who has 27 grabs for 486 yards, an average of 81.0 yards per game. He has caught a pair of TD passes. Kendrick Starling is averaging 61.2 yards, while Jamall Broussard is averaging 50.7 yards. Each has two TD catches. On the ground, SJSU is averaging 93.7 yards per game.
Defensively, The Spartans are allowing opponents 32.2 points and 458.5 yards per game. On the ground, San Jose State opponents are getting 186.3 yards per game, while the number increases to 272.2 yards per game through the air. Luke La Herran has 58 tackles to lead the team. He has six tackles-for-loss, an interception and four pass break ups. Three other defenders have tackle totals topping 40, including Phillip Perry, who has 42 tackles, seven of which have been for a loss. The defense has intercepted 15 passes and recovered nine fumbles.
San Jose State’s Last Game
Scott Rislov threw three second-half touchdowns as San Jose State beat Southern Methodist in a 34-23 come-from-behind victory to improve to 4-2 on the year and 2-0 in the Western Athletic Conference. The Spartans overcame a 20-7 halftime deficit for their third-consecutive win. Rislov, the junior quarterback, finished the game completing 17-of-25 passes for 277 yards, the three touchdowns and one interception. Senior receiver Charles Pauley had five catches for 130 yards. Sophomore tailback Lance Martin carried the ball 10 times for 53 yards, accounting for all but 4 yards of the Spartans’ ground game. San Jose State allowed 337 yards of offense, including 267 yards rushing, but held the Mustangs to only 89 rushing yards and one field goal in the second half after surrendering 189 rushing yards before halftime.
Meet Coach Fitz Hill
Dr. Fitz Hill, a 1987 graduate of Ouachita Baptist University, is in his second season at San Jose State, his first collegiate head coaching position. He is off to a 4-2 start in 2002 after going 3-9 in his first season. Hill is one of just three Division I-A head coaches that hold doctorate degrees, joining Mike Leach (Texas Tech) and Rick Neuheisel (Washington). Hill earned two degrees at Ouachita Baptist before going on to Northwestern State in Louisiana, where he earned his master’s degree in 1991. He earned his doctorate in higher education in 1997 at Arkansas, where he coached wide receivers from 1992-2000. He also was an assistant at Northwestern State and Utah State. As a player at Ouachita Baptist, Hill earned all-conference, all-district and All-America honors as a junior and senior.
Opening Day Streak Extended
The victory over Texas Tech extended Ohio State’s streak in home openers to 24-consecutive wins, dating back to a 19-0 loss in 1978 at the hands of then-independent Penn State. The Buckeyes have an all-time opening day record of 97-12-4.
Attendance Record Falls
An Ohio Stadium record crowd of 104,553 saw the Buckeyes defeat Washington State. The previous single-game record of 104,407 was set last year against Illinois.
Earle Bruce Honored
Former Ohio State head coach Earle Bruce has been elected to the College Football Hall of Fame. Bruce, who coached the Buckeyes from 1979 to 1987 and posted a career record of 81-26-1, will be inducted in December in ceremonies in New York City. He will be recognized in an on-campus salute at the Michigan-Ohio State game Nov. 23.
Zwick Honored By NFFCHF
Ohio State freshman quarterback Justin Zwick has been selected as the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame’s Midwest Region High School Scholar-Athlete of the Year for 2002. He is one of four regional representatives that will be recognized Dec. 10 at the NFFCHF’s annual banquet at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. The award “seeks to honor the nation’s top high school scholar-athletes (from the previous year) who have demonstrated outstanding academic application and performance, superior football performance, and exemplary school leadership and citizenship.” Ohio State’s Maurice Hall was recognized with the same award a year ago.
Coach Jim Tressel’s weekly media lunches are held Tuesdays at the Buckeye Hall of Fame Caf©, located at 1421 Olentangy River Rd. Lunch will be served at 11:45 a.m. Coach Tressel will begin his portion of the interview session at 12:15 p.m. Selected Ohio State players will be available for interviews following Coach Tressel’s question-and-answer session.
Weekly Interview Schedule
Ohio State players will be available for interviews following the conclusion of practice and meetings on Tuesdays throughout the season. Tuesday practices are open to the media and photographers are permitted to shoot the first 20 minutes, or specific periods as designated by the coaching staff. Photographers covering an open practice should check with a member of the Athletics Communications staff to see which periods are open. Coach Tressel and two designated assistant coaches are available for interviews after Thursday practices.
Tressel Radio Show Every Thursday
The weekly Jim Tressel call-in show airs from noon-1 p.m. Thursdays on WBNS AM (1460) Radio. The show is replayed on Thursday nights around the state.
Unbeaten Badgers Next Up for OSU
Ohio State jumps back into the Big Ten fray next week by taking on Wisconsin Badgers in Madison. The game will be televised by ABC and will kickoff at 2:37 p.m. local time and 3:37 p.m. (EDT). The Buckeyes’ next four opponents have a combined record of 18-5 heading into this week’s action.
Game 1 Recap – Texas Tech
Ohio State opened the 2002 campaign Aug. 24 with a convincing 45-21 victory over Texas Tech in the Pigskin Classic. It was the earliest season debut for the Buckeyes.
Freshman tailback Maurice Clarett started the game and rushed for 175 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries. Clarett, who scored on runs of 59, 45 and 1 yards, was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week.
Clarett had plenty of help from sophomore sidekicks Maurice Hall and Lydell Ross. Hall finished with 74 yards on 13 carries and Ross had 40 yards and two touchdowns to show for his 16 carries.
As a team, the Buckeyes rolled up 317 yards on the ground and finished with 477 yards in total offense. OSU averaged 6.4 yards per carry, did not have a turnover and had just two offensive penalties.
Quarterback Craig Krenzel completed 11 of 14 passes for 118 yards before giving way to backup Scott McMullen, who scored OSU’s sixth rushing touchdown of the day.
The OSU defense, meanwhile, threw up a curtain around Texas Tech quarterback Kliff Kingsbury. Kingsbury finished with 341 yards and three touchdown passes, but much of the yardage and two of the scoring tosses came in the fourth quarter, long after the outcome had been decided.
Led by defensive end Will Smith, the Buckeyes recorded seven sacks and generally harassed Kingsbury all afternoon. Smith had four tackles-for-loss and two of the sacks.
Linebacker Cie Grant was credited with five tackles, including two sacks of his own, and was selected by the OSU coaching staff as the Buckeyes’ defensive player of the game.
The Buckeyes also fared well in the kicking department. Ray Guy Award candidate Andy Groom averaged 48 yards per punt on four kicks and place-kicker Mike Nugent converted all six PATs and hit a career-best 45-yard field goal.
Ohio State had just five penalties on the day, converted 10-of-15 third-down attempts and had the ball for 36 minutes. The Buckeyes were four-of-four in the red zone, while Texas Tech was 0-for-2.
Game 2 Recap – Kent State
The Buckeyes jumped out to a 21-0 lead at the end of the first quarter and were ahead 38-0 with 7:31 to play in the first half on the way to a 51-17 thrashing of Kent State.
Two of OSU’s first four touchdowns came courtesy of the defense, strong safety Michael Doss and freshman linebacker A.J. Hawk each returning interceptions for scores. Doss made it 14-0 with his 45-yard return and Hawk upped the ante to 38-0 with his 34-yard scamper. Freshman tailback Maurice Clarett tallied the other two OSU scores, the first on a 2-yard run and the latter on a 7-yard pass from Craig Krenzel. It was OSU’s first TD pass of the year.
The Buckeyes rolled up 412 yards in total offense and averaged 8.8 yards per play on the way to topping the 50-point mark for the first time in 73 games. Krenzel completed 12 of 14 passes for 190 yards and backup Scott McMullen hit 7 of 11 for 78 yards and a TD. Sophomore flanker Chris Gamble was on the receiving end of six of those passes and finished with 87 yards receiving. Split end Michael Jenkins had four catches for 89 yards. Eight different receivers had receptions for the Buckeyes, thanks in large part to another stellar effort by the offensive line, which did not allow a sack.
Clarett led the Buckeye ground game with 66 yards on 11 carries. Maurice Hall added 36 yards on just three totes, the first of which was a 28-yard TD, and Lydell Ross had 28 yards on four tries as Ohio State’s posse of running backs again proved to be too much for the opposing defense.
Defensively, tackle Tim Anderson was credited with seven tackles, while ends Will Smith and Darrion Scott and linebacker Robert Reynolds each had five. Scott had two tackles-for-loss and a sack.
Kicker Mike Nugent was again perfect, hitting all three of his field goal attempts and all six of his PAT efforts.
Game 3 Recap – Washington State
The Buckeyes trailed 7-6 at the half, but responded with 19-unanswered points after intermission to down visiting Washington State, 25-7. The victory over the 10th-ranked Cougars was the Buckeyes first win over a Top-10 team since the 1999 Sugar Bowl
Freshman running back Maurice Clarett led the OSU offense by rushing for 230 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Clarett, who carried the ball 31 times, had 194 of his yards in the second half. It was the sixth best rushing effort in OSU history and came despite a first-quarter knee injury that required arthroscopic surgery three days later. The Buckeyes powered through the WSU defense for 292 yards on the ground and finished with 363 yards in total offense.
The OSU defense, meanwhile, pressured Jason Gesser, the Cougars’ talented senior quarterback, into two second-half interceptions and any number of hurried throws. Washington State, which had come into the game averaging more than 440 yards per game (and 40 points), settled for just 280 against Ohio State – 263 passing and 17 on the ground. The Cougars managed just 74 total yards after intermission.
Linebackers Cie Grant (8 tackles, 3 tackles-for-loss) and Matt Wilhelm (5 tackles and a momentum shifting interception) led the OSU defense.
Sophomore kicker Mike Nugent continued his brilliant play by drilling field goals of 43, 43 and 45 yards. Those three kicks of more than 40 yards gave Nugent six on the year, an Ohio State single-season record just three games into the season. Additionally, he is just the second Ohio State kicker to kick three field goals of 40 or more yards in a game. The only other was Tom Klaban in 1974 against Michigan.
Game 4 Recap – Cincinnati
Ohio State ran its record to 4-0 with a 23-19 win over Cincinnati in a game that was even closer than the final score would indicate. Cincinnati led most of the day and was on top 19-17 late in the fourth quarter. The Buckeyes took the lead for good at 23-19 on a 6-yard scamper by quarterback Craig Krenzel at the 3:44 mark and then held off a final charge by the Bearcats that ended with Will Allen’s interception in the end zone with 26 seconds to play.
The Buckeyes played the game without starting tailback Maurice Clarett who had undergone knee surgery four days earlier. In OSU’s first three games, Clarett, a true freshman, had rushed for 471 yards and scored seven touchdowns.
With Clarett unavailable, sophomore Lydell Ross made his first collegiate start and responded with a career-high 130 yards on 23 carries.
Krenzel also threw for a pair of touchdowns, finding tight end Ben Hartsock from 20 yards out for the Buckeyes’ first score, and later flipping a 5-yard toss to flanker Chris Vance that gave OSU a short-lived 14-12 advantage.
With the Bearcats on top 19-14 – and driving – the game turned around when defensive end Darrion Scott’s jarring hit forced a fumble that was recovered by teammate David Thompson. Ten plays later, Krenzel scored on a roll out that was designed to go to split end Micheal Jenkins.
Senior linebacker Matt Wilhelm led the Buckeyes in tackles with nine, including four tackles-for-loss. The OSU defense stiffened in the late stages of the game, forcing three turnovers (two picks and a fumble recovery) on the Bearcats’ last three possessions. Wilhelm deflected the fourth-down pass that was then picked off by Allen. The Buckeyes had eight tackles-for-loss against the Bearcats.
The game marked the Buckeyes’ first road appearance against an Ohio team since 1934.
Game 5 Recap – Indiana
The Buckeye opened their Big Ten season with a 45-17 win over visiting Indiana. Ohio State took control early, jumping out to a 21-10 lead at the half, and then put the game away by scoring 24-unanswered points after intermission on the way to a 45-10 advantage that was just too much for the Hoosiers to overcome.
OSU freshman tailback Maurice Clarett, who sat out the previous week’s game at Cincinnati after undergoing knee surgery, was in top form against the Hoosiers, rushing for 104 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries. All three of his TDs came in the first half.
The Buckeyes rushed for 244 yards and passed for 217 more. Quarterback Craig Krenzel completed 11 of his 16 passes, including his final six, for 152 yards and a touchdown, before exiting midway through the third period. Backup signal caller Scott McMullen followed Krenzel’s lead by completing all seven of his tosses for 65 yards and a TD.
Michael Jenkins led the receiving corps with seven receptions for 93 yards and both touchdown catches. The Buckeyes also scored on a beautifully executed 43-yard reverse by Chris Gamble and a career-long 51-yard field goal by Mike Nugent. It was Nugent’s 10th-consecutive make.
The OSU defense limited the Hoosiers to 56 yards rushing and 339 yards in total offense. End Darrion Scott paced the defense with three solos and six assists and had one of the Buckeyes’ three sacks. All-America safety Mike Doss had four solos and two assists and also was credited with a tackle-for-loss. Linebacker Matt Wilhelm continued his stellar play with two tackles-for-loss.
The Buckeyes played the game with a makeshift offensive line necessitated by the loss of injured starters Ivan Douglas and Michael Stafford. With those two sidelined, true freshman Rob Sims started at left tackle for Douglas, while Adrien Clarke took over for Stafford a left guard.
Defensive tackle Tim Anderson also missed the game due to injury.