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Ohio State and Navy are meeting for the first time since the 1981 Liberty Bowl; Tressel looking for 14th-consecutive season-opening victory
First And 10
• The game kicks off the 120th season of football for Ohio State
• This is the fourth meeting between the schools in football. The last meeting was in the 1981 Liberty Bowl
• Ohio State has won at least 10 games in each of the last four years, played in the national championship game twice and two other BCS bowls
• Coach Jim Tressel is 83-19 after eight years at Ohio State; 218-76-2 after 23 years overall
• Jim Tressel is 17-5-1 all-time in season openers and 8-0 at Ohio State
• Ohio State is the Big Ten preseason favorite, followed by Penn State and Michigan State
• This is the first visit to Ohio Stadium by a service academy since 1931
• Navy has led the nation in rushing the past four seasons
• Ohio State has won four Big Ten titles in a row
• Crowds of more than 100,000 have seen the last 48 games at Ohio Stadium
Did You Know?
Ohio State has not lost a home opener in 31 years — Sept. 16, 1978 to be exact. No. 6 Ohio State suffered a 19-0 loss to No. 5 Penn State in Woody Hayes’ final season as head coach.
Navy At a Glance
Navy returns 25 letterwinners and 13 starters from a team that went 8-5 last season, led the nation in rushing for a NCAA-record fourth-consecutive season (292.4 rushing yards per game) and qualified for the 2008 EagleBank Bowl, losing to Wake Forest, 29-19.
Junior quarterback Ricky Dobbs is Navy’s leading returning rusher, netting 495 yards and eight touchdowns in 2008. On defense, the Midshipmen return senior inside linebacker Ross Pospisil who recorded 106 tackles in 2008.
The Midshipmen are led by second-year coach Ken Niumatalolo who is 8-6 overall at Navy. Niumatalolo is the first coach to lead Navy to a bowl game in his inaugural season as head coach.
Ohio State and Navy have met three times previously in football. The Buckeyes were 27-0 winners at Navy in 1930, and Ohio State won 20-0 in Columbus the following season. The teams last met in 1981, with Ohio State posting a 31-28 win in the Liberty Bowl.
The last regular-season matchup between the teams was in the 1931 Homecoming game at Ohio Stadium, Ohio State winning 20-0.
Playing in a downpour of rain and sleet, the Buckeyes scored on three unconventional plays: a 35-yard Sid Gillman reception of a tipped pass, a 32-yard blocked punt return by Junius Ferrall and a 20-yard Ferrall interception return. Interceptions by Ohio State’s Stu Holcomb and Mickey Vuchinich killed the final two Navy drives inside the OSU 15.
The return game in the series will be August 30, 2014, and will be played at a site in the Annapolis region.
Buckeyes Vs. The Academies
The Ohio State-Navy game will mark the fifth time a Buckeye football team has matched up with one of the nation’s service academies. Ohio State is 3-0 against Navy and 0-1 against Air Force (a 23-11 loss in the 1990 Liberty Bowl). Ohio State and Army have never met on the gridiron.
| Tressel in Season Openers
8-0 at Ohio State
1986: Nicholls State 34, Youngstown State 19
Jim Tressel has won 13 straight season openers and 17 of his last 19. His teams have outscored the opposition 669-306 in 23 career openers. His Buckeye teams have outscored opponents 278-82 in eight openers, an average margin of victory of 24.5 points.
Opening Day Numbers
The Buckeyes have an all-time opening day record of 103-12-4 and have won their last 30 home openers. OSU’s last opening day loss at home was to Penn State in 1978. The Buckeyes’ last opening day loss away from Columbus was to Miami in the 1999 Kickoff Classic.
All-time, the Buckeyes are 107-8-4 in home openers since 1890. The largest opening day crowd at Ohio Stadium was 105,078 in the 2003 opener vs. Washington.
Ohio State Names Captains
Seniors Kurt Coleman, Austin Spitler and Doug Worthington were elected as 2009 captains of the Ohio State football team. An offensive game captain will be selected each week.
The last time Ohio State had only defensive players as permanent captains was in 2002, when Mike Doss and Donnie Nickey were captains of the national championship squad.
Bucks Win 77 Percent of Ohio Stadium Games
The Buckeyes boast an all-time record of 385-106-20 (.774) in Ohio Stadium since that facility opened in 1922.
Ohio State has hosted 48 consecutive crowds of 100,000 or larger at Ohio Stadium; three of last year’s crowds ranked among the top 10 all-time. Ohio State’s all-time record in Columbus is 528-153-35 in 716 games.
Preseason Big Ten Awards
The Buckeyes were picked as the 2009 preseason favorite among media covering the Big Ten. Sophomore quarterback Terrelle Pryor was tabbed as the preseason player of the year on offense.
Pair of Buckeyes Win Big Ten Title on the Track
Junior defensive back Chimdi Chekwa and sophomore wide receiver Lamaar Thomas were a part of Ohio State’s Big Ten champion 4x100m relay team at the 2009 Big Ten Track and Field Championships in May. Thomas ran the third leg and Chekwa the fourth to take first place in 40.63 seconds. The win helped the Buckeyes to a second-place team finish overall, their highest since 2001.
When the Ohio State-Navy game kicks off, the Buckeyes will have a total of 23 players with at least one game of starting experience.
Tops among those are: Anderson Russell (30); Jim Cordle (25); Kurt Coleman (24); Doug Worthington (22); Cameron Heyward (20); Bryant Browning, Chimdi Chekwa (13); Jake Ballard (11); Mike Brewster, Thaddeus Gibson, Terrelle Pryor (10); Lawrence Wilson (8); Todd Denlinger (7); Jermale Hines, Ross Homan (6); Rob Rose, Ray Small (4); Dexter Larimore (3); Dan Herron, Tyler Moeller, Dane Sanzenbacher (2); Aaron Gant, Brandon Saine (1).
Ohio State W/L Records
All-Time Record: 808-307-53
Big Ten: 450-189-28
Ohio Stadium: 385-106-20
Bowl Games: 18-22
Ohio State Represented at Junior World Championships
Buckeye freshmen Storm Klein (LB, Newark, Ohio) and Jack Mewhort (OL, Toledo, Ohio) spent three weeks this summer as part of Team USA in the inaugural IFAF Junior World Championships held in Canton, Ohio. Team USA won the gold medal with wins over France (78-0), Mexico (55-0) and Canada (41-3) in the championship game. Klein (who was also a team captain) and Mewhort were both named to the all-tournament team.
Six members of the 2009 Buckeye squad have already earned their bachelor’s degrees: Andrew Moses (political science), Aaron Pettrey (social and behavioral sciences), Anderson Russell (communication), Austin Spitler (communication), Marcus Williams (health sciences), Lawrence Wilson (communication). Nine more members of the team are expected to graduate following the autumn quarter.
In 2008, 27 Ohio State football players were named to the Big Ten’s all-academic team; the Buckeyes have led the conference over the past seven years. Additionally, 46 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.
AFCA Respect Weekend
The American Football Coaches Association and the NCAA have designated September 3-6 as NCAA/AFCA Respect Weekend, calling attention to mutual respect and sportsmanship between the game’s coaches, players and administrators. This initiative will be recognized during the pregame warmups at the Navy game.
Big Ten Well Represented in Preseason Top 25 Coaches Poll
The Big Ten conference was well represented in the preseason USA Today Coaches’ Poll with nine of the 11 programs receiving at least one vote and two schools ranked among the Top 10. The Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC are the only conferences to feature multiple Top 10 teams.
Ohio State will enter the 2009 ranked sixth, with Penn State close behind at No. 8. Iowa is the Big Ten’s third Top 25 team, ranking 21st overall.
Six other Big Ten schools also received at least one vote in the preseason USA Today Coaches’ Poll, including Michigan State, Illinois, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Michigan and Minnesota.
Chris Spielman to Enter Hall
Two-time Ohio State All-American linebacker Chris Spielman will be the 28th Buckeye inducted into the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame and will be recognized at halftime of the Navy game. The four-year letterwinner (1984-87) and the winner of the1987 Lombardi Award will be inducted at a ceremony in South Bend, Ind. in the summer of 2010.
Spielman, hailing from Massillon Washington High School, ranks third all-time in tackles (546) at Ohio State and first in solo stops (283). Perhaps the most notable performance by Spielman was his 29-tackle day against Michigan in 1986.
Tenacious and hard-hitting on the field, the linebacker is just as strong away from the field, as is his wife, Stefanie. In 1998, the couple learned that Stefanie had breast cancer. Despite the physical and emotional strain of dealing with such a disease, and the unthinkable worries, the couple has been tireless advocates for cancer research and they have helped to raise millions to fight the disease.
After his playing days in Columbus, Spielman was drafted in the second round by Detroit in 1988 and went on to play for the Lions and Buffalo Bills before finishing up his career with the Cleveland Browns. The 12-year NFL veteran and four-time Pro Bowler then made the move to the broadcast booth where he is a college football analyst for ESPN and co-hosts The Big Show on WBNS radio in Columbus. He and Stefanie are the parents of four children.
Ohio State Recognized For Services For Veterans
The Ohio State University is one of the nation’s top institutions for veterans, according to G.I. Jobs magazine. The publication ranks Ohio State’s Columbus campus as a “Military Friendly School” for 2010. The honor places Ohio State in the top 15% of all colleges. The ranking recognizes Ohio State’s military-friendly policies, efforts and results to recruit and retain military and veteran students. More than 1,200 veterans are expected to attend Ohio State this year.
Not Since 1922-24
Ohio State ranks second among all NCAA Div. I programs with 84 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 97 consecutive seasons.
Tressel Announces Staff Changes
A number of veteran staff members have new responsibilities for the 2009 season.
Nick Siciliano has been promoted to assistant coach, working with the Ohio State quarterbacks. A 1999 Youngstown State graduate who has been on the football staffs at YSU, Oklahoma, Urbana and North Carolina A&T, Siciliano has been a part of the OSU program since 2005, serving in the offensive quality control role.
Joe Daniels has moved into the role of associate director for personnel development after a 39-year career as an on-field coach. His new responsibilities will be assisting the Buckeyes in the areas of community outreach, as liaison to groups such as NFL scouts, high school coaches and OSU campus organizations, and other administrative duties.
Stan Jefferson will continue to serve as director of player development while assuming additional responsibilities in the areas of academics, outreach and administration. Amy Burgess has been promoted to associate director of internal operations, with additional responsibility dealing with purchasing, ticketing and budgetary procedures.
Greg Gillum, who joined the Ohio State staff in 2005 as assistant recruiting coordinator, has been promoted to director of football operations for player personnel. He will continue to work with recruiting coordinator John Peterson on the Buckeyes’ recruiting efforts, as well as taking on additional responsibilities regarding team travel, camps and clinics.
Todd Alles will now serve as associate director-football operations, handling many of the day-to-day administrative and logistic details for the Ohio State program. A veteran high school educator, Alles, a former OSU player, has been a part of the Buckeye football staff since 2003, working in the strength program and later as a program assistant in recruiting. He served as director of football operations at Alabama in 2007-08.
Shannon Smith comes over from the athletics compliance staff as an administrative assistant.
Keith Uecker will serve in the offensive quality control position this season.
Horseshoe Receives Scoreboard, Signage Upgrades
“The Horseshoe” will present fans with new signage displays and scoreboards in the north endzone and on the east and west fascias of the stadium’s C-Deck.
For the first time in the stadium’s history, the scoreboard in the north endzone will offer fans a video screen. At 17-feet-by-44-feet, the LED board will offer fans replays and other game-day features typically only seen on the video board in the south endzone.
The ribbon boards on the east and west side have been replaced and expanded to reach endzone-to-endzone and feature an improved LED display.
In addition to the new boards, tribute signage for Ohio State’s seven national championship teams (1942, ‘54, ‘57, ‘61, ‘68, ‘70, 2002) will be on display near the new scoreboard in the north endzone, accenting the seven currently retired Ohio State jersey numbers of Chic Harley (17), Les Horvath (22), Eddie George (27), Vic Janowicz (31), Howard “Hopalong” Cassady (40), Bill Willis (99) and Archie Griffin (45) also displayed on the north end.
As a result of the expanded ribbon boards, the Woody Hayes tribute signage has been moved to the southeast corner of the C-Deck face. All three signage areas will be backlit for more prominent display during primetime telecasts.
Where They Go Next
Ohio State hosts Southern Cal next Saturday in an 8 p.m. game at Ohio Stadium that will be an ESPN prime-time telecast; ESPN’s College GameDay television and radio programs will also originate from Columbus that day. Navy hosts Louisiana Tech that afternoon in Annapolis.