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Sept. 6, 2004

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Windows A/V Press Luncheon
Transcript of Press Luncheon Player Quotes
Depth Chart
Top 25 Polls

THE GAME
On the heels of a solid 27-6 opening-day win over visiting Cincinnati, ninth-ranked Ohio State now turns its attention to Marshall, the renowned “Giant Killer” from the Mid-American Conference. The 1-0 Buckeyes and the 0-1 Thundering Herd meet Saturday at 3:36 p.m. EDT in Ohio Stadium, where a capacity crowd of more than 104,000 is expected to witness the first meeting between the two schools. ABC will televise the game to a regional audience and WBNS Radio, the flagship station for the Ohio State radio network, will broadcast the game around the state.

The Buckeyes have won 17 in a row in Ohio Stadium heading into Saturday. Marshall is coming off a surprising 17-15 loss at the hands of Troy State last week in Huntington, W.Va. But the Thundering Herd returns 13 starters from an 8-4 team, which upset Kansas State on the road and had Tennessee on the ropes in Knoxville before falling by 10.

“I know (coach) Bob Pruett will have his team ready to play,” Jim Tressel, Ohio State head coach, said. “Over the years Marshall has played well in big games and I don’t expect that to change this year.”

This is Hall of Fame weekend at Ohio State and halftime festivities include the introduction of this year’s inductees into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame. Included in the class this year are former football coach Earle Bruce and football standouts Steve Myers (OL) and Vlade Janakievksi (PK).

A LOOK AT OHIO STATE
The Buckeyes rolled up 462 yards in total offense in their season opener, throwing for 242 yards and rushing for 220 against the Bearcats. Defensively, the Buckeyes held the Bearcats to 238 total yards – 168 passing and 76 rushing.

“For the first game, I thought we did some things right,” head coach Jim Tressel said. “There are a lot of areas we can get better in, but I can’t fault our effort or our enthusiasm. I am glad this game is over. Playing against MarkDantonio is like playing against family.” Dantonio was making his debut as Cincinnati’s head coach after three years as Ohio State’s defensive coordinator.

Tressel was not pleased with the Buckeyes three turnovers (two interceptions and one lost fumble). “We lost the turnover battle 3-0 and when you do that you aren’t going to win many games,” he said. “That is an area where we need to get a lot better. Not only do we need to eliminate our turnovers, we also have to force some by the other team.”

On the flip side of the coin, Ohio State had just two penalties, was four-of-four in the red zone and converted six-of-13 third down opportunities. “Those are all positives,” noted Tressel, whose team had 17 new starters in the lineup against Cincinnati.

Quarterback Justin Zwick completed 14 of 26 passes in his first collegiate start, including a 17-yard scoring pass to tight end Ryan Hamby that gave OSU a 10-3 lead. For the day, Zwick threw for 213 yards. Backup signal caller Troy Smith, like Zwick a sophomore, completed two-of-three passes for 29 yards, one of which was a 23-yard TD pass to Santonio Holmes that capped the OSU scoring. The TD pass was Smith’s first collegiate completion.

Holmes totaled 91 yards on his four receptions, including one of 53 yards. Hamby also had four catches, good for 75 yards and senior Bam Childress turned in the best day of his career with four grabs for 67 yards. In all, six different player had receptions.

Senior Lydell Ross led all rushers with 141 yards on 17 carries, one of which was a 1-yard scoring run. It was the sixth 100-yard effort of Ross’ career. True freshman Antonio Pittman chipped in with 66 yards on seven attempts, an average of 9.4 yards per carry. The 220 yards was the Buckeyes’ highest rushing total since OSU rolled up 285 yards at Northwestern in 2002 (a span of 22 games).

Linebackers Bobby Carpenter and A.J. Hawk (both of whom are on the Butkus Award Watch List) each had nine tackles, while safety Nate Salley and defensive tackle Quinn Pitcock (making his first start) had seven stops. Carpenter’s five solos led the team. The Buckeyes broke up eight passes and had five tackles-for-loss, and kept the UC offense and quarterback Gino Guidugli from ever settling into a rhythm.

The Buckeyes also benefited from solid special teams play, getting a 57-yard punt from Kyle Turano in his only opportunity and two long kickoff returns by Maurice Hall, one of 43 yards and the other of 41. All-America kicker Mike Nugent, kicked a pair of field goals and narrowly missed on a 53-yard attempt that was wide to the right. He also converted all three of his extra point chances and has now made 53 in a row.

OHIO STATE IN THE POLLS
Ohio State continues to hold down the No. 9 spot in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA TODAY polls. The Buckeyes were ninth in both preseason polls and remain there after the first week.

COACH JIM TRESSEL
Now in his fourth year at the helm of the Buckeyes, Jim Tressel has compiled a glittering 33-7 record in his short stay in Columbus. Included in that figure is a 19-5 mark in Big Ten play and a 14-2 record in non-conference action. His teams have been especially successful at home, winning 21 of 23 starts, including the last 17-consecutive outings. After a 7-5 record in 2001, Tressel led the Buckeyes to a perfect 13-0 record, a share of the Big Ten title and a consensus national championship in 2002. He was the Football Writers choice as national coach of the year in 2002. In 2003, the Buckeyes posted an 11-2 record and played in a BCS game for the second-consecutive year. Now in his 19th season as a head coach, the 51-year-old Tressel has compiled a lifetime record of 168-64-2. During his stay with the Buckeyes, he has posted a 14-4 record against teams in the Top 25 and a 5-1 slate against teams in the Top 10. Masterful in close games, he is 15-5 in games decided by a touchdown or less. Each of his last two teams have finished the season ranked in the Top 5 (1st in 2002 and 4th last year). Prior to coming to Ohio State, Tressel spent 15 years as the head coach at Division I-AA Youngstown State, where he won four national championships and appeared in the playoffs 10 times. He is 2-3 against Marshall, with all five of those games contested while he was at YSU.

SERIES INFORMATION
This will be the first meeting between Ohio State and Marshall. Sept. 11 was originally an open date on the schedule this year, but when San Jose State asked to be released from its game with the Buckeyes Sept. 25, Marshall was added. This will be the 20th time Ohio State has played a school from the Mid-American Conference. The Buckeyes are 18-1 to date against MAC teams, including a 24-17 win over Bowling Green last year in Columbus. Akron’s 14-6 win in 1895 represents Ohio State’s only loss to a school that now belongs to the MAC.

BUCKEYES STANDOUTS
Several Ohio State players are candidates for major awards in 2004. They include, center Nick Mangold (Rimington Award and Outland Trophy), All-America kicker Mike Nugent (Lou Groza Award), tailback Lydell Ross (Doak Walker Award), linebacker Bobby Carpenter (Butkus Award), linebacker A.J. Hawk (Butkus and Lombardi and Walter Camp Awards), defensive end Simon Fraser (Ted Hendricks Award), cornerback Dustin Fox (Thorpe Award) and flanker Santonio Holmes (Biletnikoff Award).

ROSS GOES DEEP
With Cincinnati leading 3-0 early in the second quarter, senior tailback Lydell Ross squirted through a hole on the right side, broke a tackle and rambled 68 yards to the Cincinnati 10-yard line, setting up a 27-yard field goal by Mike Nugent. The run was the longest of Ross’ career, surpassing a 51-yard scoring jaunt against San Diego State in 2001. “I should have scored,” said Ross. “But at least Mike got us on the board.” Ross finished the day with 141 yards on 17 carries, a healthy 8.3 yards per try.

NUGENT ZEROING IN
All-America place-kicker Mike Nugent has 263 career points, leaving him 85 points shy of the school points record (348) that currently belongs to fullback Pete Johnson (1973-76). Nugent scored 48 points as a freshman, 120 as a sophomore in 2002, and 86 last year. He currently is seventh among OSU career scoring leaders. The sixth spot on that list belongs to Eddie George with 272 points. Nugent now has 50 career field goals in 64 attempts, for a conversion percentage of .781.

SANTONIO STROLL
Buckeye flanker Santonio Holmes hauled in a career-long 53-yard reception in Saturday’s win over Cincinnati, bettering his previous best of 47 yards last year at Indiana. The speedy sophomore has receptions in seven-consecutive games and touchdown catches in his last three games.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Senior Bam Childress was named the Ohio State offensive player of the week by the Buckeyes’ coaching staff. Childress caught four passes for 67 yards in the win over Cincinnati. On the defensive side of the ball, junior linebacker Bobby Carpenter was the weekly honoree with nine tackles and a team-best five solo stops. The offensive lineman of the week was junior tightend Ryan Hamby. In addition to his blocking duties, the 6-5, 250-pounder caught four passes for 75 yards and a touchdown against the Bearcats. Senior kick returner Maurice Hall was recognized for his two returns of more than 40 yards (84 total KOR yds.). The big hit of the week went to senior receiver John Hollins and the attack force player of the week went to sophomore defensive tackle Quinn Pitcock. He led all down linemen with seven tackles in his first career start.

OHIO STATE ON OPENING DAY
Following this year’s 27-6 win over Cincinnati, the Buckeyes have an all-time opening day record of 99-12-4 and have won their last 26 home openers dating back to 1978. Ohio State’s last opening day loss at home was a 19-0 setback at the hands of No. 5 Penn State in 1978.

OHIO STATE ALL-TIME
The Buckeyes first fielded a football team in 1890, compiling a 1-3 record in their first season. From that modest pounder caught four passes for 75 yards and a touchdown against the Bearcats. Senior kick returner Maurice Hall was recognized for his two returns of more than 40 yards (84 total KOR yds.). The big hit of the week went to senior receiver John Hollins and the attack force player of the week went to sophomore defensive tackle Quinn Pitcock. He led all down linemen with seven tackles in his first career start.

OHIO STATE ON OPENING DAY
Following this year’s 27-6 win over Cincinnati, the Buckeyes have an all-time opening day record of 99-12-4 and have won their last 26 home openers dating back to 1978. Ohio State’s last opening day loss at home was a 19-0 setback at the hands of No. 5 Penn State in 1978.

OHIO STATE ALL-TIME
The Buckeyes first fielded a football team in 1890, compiling a 1-3 record in their first season. From that modest beginning, Ohio State has gone on to post an all-time record of 758-294-53 in 114 years and has experienced just 11 losing seasons.

TOUGH AT HOME
Ohio State sports an all-time record of 351-101-25 in Ohio Stadium (opened in 1922). The Buckeyes are 17-0 at home since the beginning of the 2002 season and are 21-2 in three years under head coach Jim Tressel. Ohio State’s last loss at home was against Illinois in the final game of the 2001 campaign.

BUCKEYE CAPTAINS
Seniors Mike Nugent, Lydell Ross, Simon Fraser and Dustin Fox have been selected by their teammates as the 2004 captains. Nugent is the first kicker to be chosen since Tom Skladany in 1976. Fox is the fourth member of his family to captain the Buckeyes, joining uncles Mark Stier (1968), Ken Kuhn (1975) and Tim Fox (1975).

CONVERTED
Fifth-year seniors Kyle Turano (punter, Worthington Kilbourne), Roshawn Parker (tailback, Columbus Eastmoor), Mike DeMaria (tailback, Oregon Cardinal Stritch) and John McLaughlin (offensive tackle, Fairview Park, Ohio, Cleveland St. Ignatius) have been awarded scholarships for the 2004 academic year.

THE OHIO STATE STAFF
There are two new faces on the Ohio State staff this year. Darrell Hazell has taken over as coach of the wide receivers and John Peterson is the new tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator. Hazell, a graduate of Muskingum College, comes to Ohio State from Rutgers. Peterson, a former OSU offensive lineman (1987-90), has spent the past five seasons at Miami of Ohio. Additionally, Dick Tressel has replaced Tim Spencer as running backs coach. Tressel has spent the past three seasons as associate director of football operations for the Buckeyes.

INJURY REPORT
Redshirt freshman Devin Jordan (Massillon, Ohio) suffered a leg injury in fall camp and is expected to miss most of the season. Senior fullback Branden Joe who did not play in the season opener against Cincinnati remains questionable this week.

MARSHALL CONNECTION
Ohio State assistant coach Mark Snyder is a 1988 graduate of Marshall, where he was a standout defensive back. Following graduation from Marshall, Snyder began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at his alma mater. Snyder is in his fourth year at Ohio State, but his first as the Buckeyes’ defensive coordinator. In Saturday’s 27-6 opening-game win over Cincinnati, Snyder’s defense did not allow a touchdown and yielded just 238 yards in total offense, including a scant 76 yards rushing.

FRESHMEN SEE ACTION
True freshmen Ted Ginn Jr. (WR), Rory Nicol (TE), Antonio Pittman (TB), Devon Lyons (WR), Curtis Terry (ST), Rory Nicol (TE), Vernon Gholston (DE) and Marcus Freeman (LB) all played in Saturday’s opener against Cincinnati for the Buckeyes. “Those guys had shown they were ready to play so we wanted to get them in the game and give them a taste of what it is like to play in Ohio Stadium,” said head coach Jim Tressel. “And there are a couple of others who could still play.”

FOLLOWING IN DAD’S FOOTSTEPS
Six current players have fathers who played for Ohio State: Offensive Guard Doug Datish (Mike Datish, offensive lineman), Fullback Dionte Johnson (Thomas “Pepper” Johnson, linebacker), Cornerback Shaun Lane (Garcia Lane, cornerback), Linebacker Ryan Lukens (Bill Lukens, offensive guard), Flanker Kyle Ruhl (Bruce Ruhl, defensive back), Fullback Stan White Jr. (StanWhite, linebacker).

SCOUTING MARSHALL
Marshall lost its home and season opener to Troy State 17-15 last week in Huntington, W.Va. It marked the first time Marshall had lost a home opener at Edwards Stadium, a facility that opened in 1991. The Thundering Herd had 25 yards rushing and added 152 yards passing for 177 total yards of offense. Earl Charles rushed 21 times for 56 yards and quarterback Stan Hill completed 14 of 28 passes for one touchdown and was picked off once. Josh Davis had six receptions for 79 yards. Defensively, Marshall allowed 65 yards on the ground and 196 yards through the air, yielding 261 yards of offense to the Trojans. Ian O’Connor was a perfect 3-for-3 on field goals, hitting a long of 32 yards.

MARHSALL’S LAST GAME
Troy State surprised Marshall, taking a 17-15 road victory over the Thundering Herd. Trojan defenders sacked Marshall quarterback Stan Hill eight times and limited Marshall to its lowest offensive output (177 total yards) since 1989.Marshall managed just 25 total rushing yards and 152 passing yards on the night. The loss marked the first time ever that Marshall has lost a home opener at Joan C. Edwards Stadium and dropped the Herd’s record in the facility that opened in 1991 to 98-7. Earl Charles managed a game-high 56 yards rushing on 21 carries.

MARSHALL COACH BOB PRUETT
Bob Pruett (Marshall, 1965) is in his ninth year as the head coach of the Marshall Thundering Herd and owns the highest winning percentage of any active coach in Division I-A. He entered the season with an 88-17 at his alma mater, a winning percentage of .838. His teams have won five Mid-American Conference championships, including four straight from 1997 to 2000. He has guided the Herd to six MAC East Division titles, five bowl games and a I-AA national title in 1996. Pruett began his coaching career in 1979 as the defensive backs coach at Marshall and then made stops as an assistant coach at Wake Forest (1983-89), Mississippi (1990-91), Tulane (1992-93) and Florida (1994-95) before returning to Huntington where he won the national championship in his first season.

OHIO STATE NEXT WEEK
The Buckeyes venture away from home for the first time in 2004, traveling to Raleigh, N.C., to take on the NC State Wolfpack. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. EDT in Carter-Finley Stadium (cap. 53,800). ABC will televise the game. It will be just the second meeting between the two teams, who last year played a triple overtime thriller, won 44-38 by the Buckeyes in Columbus.