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Oct. 24, 2005

Transcript of Press Luncheon
Player Quotes
Depth Chart
Top 25 Polls

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THE MINNESOTA GAME
Ohio State plays its second-consecutive road game this week, traveling to Minneapolis to take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The kickoff in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome (cap. 64,172) Saturday is scheduled for 12:10 p.m. ET (11:10 a.m. Minneapolis time). The game will be televised regionally by ABC and broadcast by WBNS Radio, the flagship station for the Ohio State radio network.

Ohio State is 5-2 on the year and 3-1 in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes are coming off a 41-10 win at Indiana in which they rolled up 478 yards in total offense and recorded their highest point total of the year. The Buckeye defense limited the normally offensive-minded Hoosiers to 137 total yards, including just 42 on the ground, and no touchdowns (Indiana’s lone TD came on a fumble runback).

Minnesota is 5-2 for all games and 2-2 in league play. The Gophers, coached by former OSU player and assistant coach Glen Mason, were idle last week following a 38-34 last-second loss to visiting Wisconsin the week before.

The Buckeyes, who are 1-1 on the road this year, have won 10 of 18 league road games under Jim Tressel. OSU TRAVEL PLANS
The Ohio State team and official travel party will depart Rickenbacker Airport via private charter at about 4 p.m. Friday for Minneapolis. The team is scheduled to arrive in Minneapolis at 4:55 p.m. local time and will bus to the Metrodome for a brief walkthrough before checking in at the downtown Hilton. The team is scheduled to arrive back in Columbus at 7 p.m. ET Saturday.

THE BIG TEN CHASE
Ohio State heads into the halfway point of the eight-game Big Ten season tied with Northwestern for third place in the conference standings. Penn State and Wisconsin currently are tied for first with 4-1 records. Penn State hosts Purdue this week, while Wisconsin is at Illinois and Northwestern hosts Michigan.

SOMETHING HAS TO GIVE
Ohio State leads the Big Ten in all four major defensive categories, including rushing defense with an average of 62.7 yards per game. Minnesota has had its way on the ground and is averaging a league-best 299.1 yards per game running the ball. Gopher running back Laurence Maroney is the Big Ten rushing leader with an average of 162.9 yards per game and Columbus-product Gary Russell, who prepped at Walnut Ridge High School, is averaging 92 yards per outing. The top individual rushing effort against the Buckeyes this year is 76 yards by Texas quarterback Vince Young. Penn State had 117 yards as a team against OSU.

Led by linebackers A.J. Hawk, Bobby Carpenter and Anthony Schlegel, the Buckeyes also lead the Big Ten in passing defense (192.1 yards per game), scoring defense (14.6 points per game) and total defense (254.9 yards per game). Minnesota is third in total offense with an average of 490 yards per game.

A LOOK AT OHIO STATE
Ohio State moved to the No. 12 spot in the weekly Associated Press media poll and to No. 13 in the USA Today/Coaches’ poll. The Buckeyes have won two in a row and have outscored their opponents 76-34 in those two games. In the win over Indiana, the OSU attack was almost perfectly balanced, rushing for 240 yards and passing for 238. The 478 yards in total offense against Indiana followed a 386-yard effort against Iowa two weeks ago.

Through seven games, Ohio State is averaging 376.6 yards and 28.6 points per game on offense. The Buckeyes are passing for 200 yards a game and rushing for 176.

Sophomore tailback Antonio Pittman is the rushing leader with 696 yards on 136 carries. Pittman, who totaled 133 yards in the win over Indiana, is averaging 5.1 yards per carry and 99 yards per game. Saturday was the fourth time this year he has topped the century mark.

Junior quarterback Troy Smith (now 8-2 as a starter) has completed 58 percent of his passes for 1,032 yards and seven touchdowns. Smith also has rushed for eight of the Buckeyes’ rushing touchdowns, the most by an OSU signal caller since Art Schlichter rushed for nine scores in 1979. Schlichter had 13 rushing TDs in 1978.

Ohio State Single Season QB Rushing TDs

Total Name Year
14 Les Horvath 1944
13 Art Schlichter 1978
12 Cornelius Greene 1973
9 Art Schlichter 1979
  Cornelius Greene 1974
  Rex Kern 1969
8 Troy Smith 2005
  Cornelius Greene 1975
  Donald Lamka 1971
  Rex Kern 1968

Split end Santonio Holmes is the Buckeyes’ leading receiver with 32 catches for 579 yards and five touchdowns. Holmes had five receptions for 104 yards and a TD at Indiana. At 18.1 yards per catch, Holmes has the second best per-catch average in the Big Ten.

Defensively, A.J. Hawk leads the Buckeyes in tackles with 75, including a team-leading 38 solos. The Buckeye All-American also has 9.0 tackles-for-loss and 4.5 sacks to his credit. He has led the team in tackles every game. Carpenter leads the Big Ten in sacks with 8.0 and has 10.5 tackles-for-loss to rank second in that category.

The Buckeyes lead the Big Ten in sacks with 31, seven more than they had all of last year. They also lead in opponent third-down conversions, permitting their opponents to convert 25 of 99 chances (25 pct.), and net punting (40.9).

MINN TEAM COMPARISONS OSU
5-2, 2-2 Records 5-2, 3-1
36.6 Points Per Game 28.6
25.4 Opp. Pts. Per Game 14.6
299.1 Avg. Rushing Yards 176.0
191.1 Avg. Passing Yards 200.6
490.3 Avg. Total Offense 376.6
150.7 Opp. Avg. Rush/Yds. 62.7
220.7 Opp. Avg. Pass/Yds. 192.1
371.4 Opp. Avg. Tot. Off. 254.9
54/106 3rd Down 43/96
40/389 Pen./Yards 38/366
31:13 Avg. Time of Poss. 31:43
12 Sacks By 31
3 Sacks Allowed 14
6-4, 292 Avg. Ht./Wt. OL 6-5, 305
6-4, 275 Avg. Ht./Wt. DL 6-3, 284

OSU LAST WEEK
The Buckeyes jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead on a 23-yard pass from Troy Smith to Santonio Holmes and never looked back. OSU led 17-3 at the half on a 1-yard Smith run and a 23-yard field goal by Josh Huston. Indiana cut that lead to 17-10 on a fumble runback, but the Buckeyes answered immediately with a five-play, 79-yard drive that required just 56 seconds and was capped off by a 23-yard scamper by Smith. Nickel back Brandon Mitchell’s 57-yard interception return for a touchdown put the game out of reach at 31-10. The Buckeyes added a Huston field goal and a dazzling 62-yard punt return by Teddy Ginn in the fourth quarter to close out the scoring and head home with a 41-10 win.

The Ohio State defense simply smothered the Indiana offense, allowing the Hoosiers 137 total yards on 57 plays. IU, which entered the game averaging 410 yards a game, was held to 42 yards rushing and 137 passing. Besides the fumble return, Indiana’s only other score came following an interception.

Sophomore Antonio Pittman rushed 26 times for 133 yards to pace the OSU rushing attack. Smith accounted for 281 yards in total offense and found favorite receiver Santonio Holmes five times for 104 of those yards.

For the second week in a row, the Buckeyes blanked their opponent in the fourth period.

GINN TIES BIG TEN RECORD
Sophomore speedster Teddy Ginn Jr. has tied the Big Ten career record for punt returns for touchdowns. The explosive Ginn had a 62-yard runback for a score at Indiana on Saturday, giving him five career touchdowns on punt returns. That ties the mark set by former Iowa standout Tim Dwight (1994-97). Ginn had 220 yards in returns at Indiana – 110 on five punt returns and 110 on three kick returns. His 98-yard kick return for a touchdown was nullified by a penalty and wound up being a 73-yard return, which still represents his career long. For his effort, Ginn was named Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week. He is the fourth Ohio State player to be so honored, joining A.J. Hawk (Defensive Player of the Week following the Texas game) and Bobby Carpenter (DPOW following Michigan State) and Ashton Youboty (Co-Special Teams POW vs. MSU).

HAWK SEMIFINALIST
Ohio State linebacker A.J. Hawk is a semifinalist for both the Rotary Lombardi Award and the Butkus Award. The list of semifinalists for both awards was announced last week. Finalists for both honors will be announced in November.

BUCKEYE NOTES

Ohio State now has an all-time record of 770-300-53. Ohio Statehas won 25 of its last 27 home games – the losses coming toWisconsin in 2004 and Texas earlier this year. Under Tressel, theBuckeyes are 33-3 when leading at the half and 35-3 when aheadafter three quarters. Freshman linebacker James Laurinaitis is theonly player on the Ohio State roster from the state of Minnesota.He is from Hamel and prepped at Wayzata High School. The Buckeyeshave scored at least one touchdown in 108-consecutive games. Juniordefensive tackle Joel Penton made his first career start at Indianaand recorded two tackles. Troy Smith has a rushing TD in each ofthe past five games and has thrown for 200 or more yards in each ofthe past two games. Running back Brandon Schnittker has beennominated for the Academic All-America team. The Buckeye senior hasa 3.78 GPA in marketing. The Buckeyes have outscored their last twoopponents 24-0 in the fourth quarter.

SERIES INFORMATION
Ohio State and Minnesota will be playing for the first time since the 2002 season when the Buckeyes recorded a 34-3 victory in Columbus. Ohio State leads the overall series 37-7, including an 18-4 advantage in Minneapolis, where the Buckeyes have won eight in a row. The Gophers’ last win in Minneapolis was a 35-31 decision in 1981. Minnesota’s last win in the series was a 29-17 verdict in Columbus in 2000. That win snapped a 16-game OSU winning streak over the Gophers. Ohio State has won the last two games in the series and has a 30-2 record against Minnesota in the 32 games played since 1969.

TRESSEL AVAILABILTIY
Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel meets with the media each Tuesday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Lunch is served at 11:30 a.m., followed by Coach Tressel’s comments and a question-and-answer session at about 12:15 p.m. Selected players are available at the luncheon and again after practice on Tuesday. Tressel also meets with the media following practice each Wednesday during the season.

THE EXPERTS THIS WEEK
Two Ohio State assistant coaches (one from each side of the ball) are available in the atrium of the Woody Hayes Athletics Center after practice each Thursday during the season to preview the upcoming game. The experts this week are safeties coach Paul Haynes and running backs coach Dick Tressel.

BIG TEN SUCCESS
Since beginning league play in 1913, Ohio State has compiled an all-time Big Ten record of 421-162-24 and captured 29 conference championships. Ohio State’s 29 championships include 15 outright and 14 shared crowns. Between 1972 and 1977, the Buckeyes shared the title six-consecutive times and went to a still unprecedented four straight Rose Bowls.

COACH JIM TRESSEL
Jim Tressel is now in his fifth season as head coach at Ohio State. His record with the Buckeyes is 45-13 and his career record is 180-70-2 (.718). He is in his 20th year as a head coach.

Tressel took over the Buckeyes in 2001, directing them to a 7-5 record that year. In 2002, he led Ohio State to a 14-0 record and the school’s first consensus national championship since 1968 and was nearly everyone’s choice as National Coach of the Year. In 2003, the Buckeyes won their first five games to extend their winning streak to 19 and finished with an 11-2 record. The squad last year, which had to replace 14 NFL drafted players, won five of its last six games en route to an 8-4 finish.

Tressel’s teams have appeared in four Bowl games and are 3-1 in those contests, including back-to-back BCS wins in the Fiesta Bowl. They also are 3-1 against Michigan in one of the most intense and storied rivalries in all of sport.

Eight of Tressel’s players have won first-team All-America honors and three have won major awards, including kicker Mike Nugent, the recipient of the Lou Groza Award last year as the best place-kicker in college football.

Tressel is a master in close games. Since coming to Ohio State, he is 16-9 in games decided by a touchdown or less and 4-1 in overtime games.

He is at his best against the best with an 18-7 record against teams ranked in the Top 25 and a 5-2 mark against teams ranked in the Top 10.

The 52-year-old Tressel is a 1975 graduate of Baldwin-Wallace College. He is 2-0 against Minnesota.

BUCKEYES SET SACK RECORD
In the win over Michigan State, the Ohio State defense recorded a school record 12 sacks, breaking the old mark of 11 set against Iowa in 1998. Heading into this week’s game at Minnesota, the Buckeyes have a Big Ten-best 31 sacks. The Ohio State single-season standard for sacks is 47, set first in 1998 and later matched in 2000.

AWARDS CANDIDATES
Eight Ohio State players are listed on the various postseason awards watch lists: linebacker A.J. Hawk (Butkus, Lombardi, Lott, Bednarik, Walter Camp), center Nick Mangold (Rimington, Lombardi), split end Santonio Holmes (Biletnikoff, Walter Camp), linebacker Bobby Carpenter (Butkus), safety Nate Salley (Thorpe), cornerback Ashton Youboty (Thorpe), tight end Ryan Hamby (Mackey) and flanker Ted Ginn Jr. (Walter Camp, Biletnikoff).

CARPENTER TIES SACK RECORD
Senior linebacker Bobby Carpenter tied the Ohio State single-game sack record against Michigan State, recording four sacks for losses of 27 yards. The 6-3, 255-pound Carpenter, who finished the game with a season-best 11 tackles, tied the school mark set in 1991 by Jason Simmons. Carpenter leads the Big Ten in sacks with 8.0 in seven games and is second in tackles-for-loss with 10.5.

HAWK SIXTH IN CAREER TACKLES
Senior linebacker A.J. Hawk now has 348 career stops to rank sixth in Ohio State annals. He trails only Marcus Marek (572 tackles), Tom Cousineau (569), Chris Spielman (546), Steve Tovar (408) and Pepper Johnson (379) in the OSU records book. Hawk leads the Buckeyes in tackles with 75, including 9.0 tackles-for-loss and 4.5 sacks. He has led the team in tackles in each of the first seven games and is averaging 10.7 stops per game. His high game this year is 19 stops in the win over Michigan State

HOLMES TURNS IN BACK-TO-BACK CENTURY EFFORTS
Split end Santonio Holmes hauled in five receptions at Indiana Saturday, giving him a team-leading 32 catches for 579 yards and five touchdowns on the year. Holmes had 104 yards against the Hoosiers, topping the 100-yard mark for the second-consecutive week (150 against Michigan State) – the first back-to-back 100-yard games of his career. He has five total for his career. His 18.1 yards per catch average is second in the Big Ten.

Holmes ranks seventh in career receptions at OSU with 119. His is also seventh in career receiving yardage with 1,897.

He has caught two or more passes in 25 consecutive games.

SMITH SURPASSES 200 MARK AGAIN
Buckeye quarterback Troy Smith has topped the 200-yard mark in passing each of the past two weeks, the first time he has done so during his 10 games as a starter. Smith completed 14 of 23 passes for 226 yards and one touchdown against the Hoosiers. In the win over Michigan State two weeks ago, he hit 10 of 15 passes for 249 yards and three TDs, both career highs. The 6-1 junior is averaging 230 yards per game in total offense and has accounted for 15 touchdowns.

HUSTON BIG TEN FG LEADER
Senior kicker Josh Huston leads the Big Ten in kick scoring (8.9 points per game), field goals made per game (1.86) and field goal percentage (81.2 pct.)

HUSTON IN THE RECORDS BOOK
Senior place-kicker Josh Huston tied school records for most field goals in a game and most field goals in a game at Ohio Stadium by booting five treys against Texas. Huston converted from 45, 36, 25, 44, and 26 yards out against the Longhorns, staking OSU to a 22-16 lead. He also narrowly missed from 50 yards away. The five field goals in Ohio Stadium equals the record set by Bob Atha against Indiana in 1981 and matched last year by Mike Nugent, the school’s all-time leading scorer. Atha kicked his five in Ohio Stadium. Nugent’s five came at North Carolina State. Huston’s six field goal attempts against Texas is a school record.

INJURY UPDATE
Offensive tackle Steve Rehring is out indefinitely after contracting pneumonia and being hospitalized for nearly a week. The 6-8, 330-pound true freshman had played in three games before becoming ill. Linebacker Marcus Freeman and tight end Rory Nicol remain sidelined with injuries. Neither has played this season. Offensive tackle Kirk Barton, sidelined early in the Penn State game with a leg injury, has missed the past two games and safety Tyler Everett sat out last week because of an injury.

D’ANDREA RETURNS TO ACTION
Linebacker Mike D’Andrea made his first appearance in a game in more than a year against Michigan State, seeing time with the special teams in the win over the Spartans. D’Andrea has been out since the Northwestern game (10/2) last year while recovering from a knee injury. He was a starter last year until being hurt.

BUCKEYES ENJOY ACADEMIC SUCCESS
A league-best 22 Ohio State football players were named to the Big Ten’s All-Academic team last fall, marking the third year in a row the Buckeyes have led the conference in that area. Additionally, a record 44 Ohio State football players qualified for last spring’s annual OSU Scholar-Athlete Dinner, which requires a grade-point average of 3.00 or better for the past academic year. As a team, the Buckeyes have an overall GPA of 2.82.

THREE PLAYERS RECEIVE SCHOLARSHIPS
Seniors Steve Winner, John Conroy and Rob “Chic” Harley have been put on scholarship by Coach Jim Tressel.

“They have worked hard and deserve it,” said the Ohio State coach. “It is nice to be able to reward players for their work ethic. All three have a passion to be here, so I know this is special for them.”

Winner is from Dublin, Ohio, Conroy from Bay Village, Ohio and Harley from Elmhurst, Ill.

HUSTON GETS DEGREE
Kicker Josh Huston was one of 23 Ohio State student-athletes to receive an undergraduate degree Aug. 28. With a degree in real estate and urban development already completed, Huston began work on another undergrad degree in psychology when fall classes started in late September.

THE BUCKEYES ALL-TIME
Ohio State enters this week with an all-time record of 770-300-53 since first fielding a football team in 1890. That includes a Big Ten record of 421-162-24 since 1913, an Ohio Stadium slate of 359-102-20 since 1922 and a bowl mark of 17-19.

BUCKEYE CAPTAINS
Linebacker A.J. Hawk, center Nick Mangold, safety Nate Salley and offensive guard Robbie Sims are the 2005 captains. The four seniors were elected by a vote of their teammates. Hawk and Mangold are both from Centerville, Ohio (as is Mike Nugent who was one of last year’s co-captains and Kirk Herbstreit, who captained the 1992 team). Salley is from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Sims from Macedonia, Ohio.

SEVEN ROOKIES SEE ACTION
Seven true freshmen – offensive tackle Alex Boone, cornerback Malcolm Jenkins, linebacker James Laurinaitis, safety Jamario O’Neal, flanker Brian Robiskie, tailback Maurice Wells and defensive end Lawrence Wilson – have seen action this year for the Buckeyes. Jenkins (San Diego State and Indiana) and Boone (Michigan State and Indiana) each have starts to their credit.

COACHING STAFF ADDITIONS
There are two new faces on the Ohio State coaching staff this year, both on the defensive side of the ball. Tim Beckman has taken over as the cornerbacks coach and Paul Haynes has assumed the role of safeties coach. Beckman comes to Ohio State from Bowling Green, where he spent the past seven seasons. Haynes, who grew up in Columbus and played at DeSales High School, was at Michigan State the past two years.

OTHER COACHING CHANGES
With the departures of defensive coordinator Mark Snyder for Marshall and Mel Tucker for the Cleveland Browns, veteran OSU assistant Jim Heacock has been elevated to defensive coordinator and Luke Fickell to co-defensive coordinator. Additionally, wide receivers coach Darrell Hazell will now serve as assistant head coach. This marks the second-consecutive year the Buckeyes have started the season with a new defensive coordinator, but Heacock is a former head coach who is in his 10th season at Ohio State and Fickell is in his fourth year on Tressel’s staff.

COACHING RESPONSIBILITIES
Offensive coordinator Jim Bollman and quarterbacks coach Joe Daniels will be in the press box for the Buckeyes during the game, as will cornerbacks coach Tim Beckman and co-defensive coordinator Luke Fickell.

GAME 1–MIAMI (OHIO)

Miami 0 0 0 14 – 14 Ohio State 10 10 14 0 – 34

The Buckeyes opened the season with a 34-14 win over the RedHawks before an Ohio Stadium crowd of 104,695. The Buckeyes led 20-0 at the half and 34-0 after three quarters before giving up two late touchdowns.

Quarterback Justin Zwick completed 17 of 23 passes for 155 yards and one touchdown and Antonio Pittman rushed for 100 yards on 14 carries to pace a balanced OSU attack. Four different receivers caught five passes from Zwick and backup Todd Boeckman, including Santonio Holmes and Ted Ginn Jr., both of whom were on the receiving end of touchdown tosses.

The OSU defense, meanwhile, was its same aggressive and productive self, limiting Miami to just 159 yards through the first three periods, recording five sacks and scoring on a 26-yard interception return by Donte Whitner that put the Buckeyes ahead 20-0 with one minute, 21 seconds to play in the half and took most of the starch out of the visitors.

Linebacker A.J. Hawk led the defense with 10 tackles. The Buckeyes’ starting linebacker corps of Hawk, Bobby Carpenter and Anthony Schlegel all had sacks. So did Whitner and defensive end Mike Kudla, who forced a fumble that led to OSU’s final touchdown – a 42-yard Boeckman-to-Ginn pass. The Buckeyes ended the afternoon with 382 yards (220 passing, 160 rushing) on offense. Miami finished with 298.

GAME 2 — TEXAS

Texas 10 3 3 9 – 25 Ohio State 0 16 6 0 – 22

The first meeting between the two football giants was everything it was supposed to be and then some. With a national television audience looking in and a record Ohio Stadium crowd on hand, the teams battled back-and-forth in an epic struggle that will go down in history as one of the classic games ever played in the Horseshoe.

After falling behind 10-0 at the end of the first period, the Buckeyes led 16-13 at the half and 22-16 after three quarters. But the Longhorns took a 23-22 lead with 2:37 to play and then added a safety with 19 seconds remaining to close out the scoring.

Led by All-America linebacker A.J. Hawk, the Buckeye defense forced three turnovers, including a pair of interceptions. Hawk, who seemed to be everywhere, had one of those picks and also recovered a fumble. The Buckeyes’ starting linebacker trio of Hawk, Bobby Carpenter and Anthony Schlegel combined for 31 tackles.

Josh Huston tied the school record with five field goals and narrowly missed on a sixth. The Buckeyes’ only touchdown came on a 36-yard pass from Troy Smith to Santonio Holmes, tying the score at 10-all with 8:11 to play in the first half. In addition to catching four passes for 73 yards, Holmes also returned three kickoffs for 109 yards.

Sophomore Antonio Pittman led the Buckeyes in rushing for the second-consecutive week, finishing with 75 yards on 17 carries and repeatedly picking up additional yards with extra effort.

GAME 3 – SAN DIEGO STATE

San Diego St. 6 0 0 0 – 6 Ohio State 7 7 3 10 – 27

After San Diego State registered a 6.0 on the Ohio Stadium Richter scale by scoring on an 80-yard pass on its first play from scrimmage, it was all Ohio State defense the rest of the way. Led by the brilliant linebacking corps of All-American A.J. Hawk, Bobby Carpenter and Anthony Schlegel, the OSU defense completely shut down the Aztec offense for the next 59 minutes and 49 seconds. After their opening drive, the Aztecs could manage a meager 99 yards the rest of the day, including just 44 in the second half. Eleven of their 14 possessions ended with a punt – the other three were the lone score, the end of the half and a fumble. SDSU managed just 13 yards rushing.

Hawk again led the team in tackles with eight, including a tackle-for-loss. Carpenter had two sacks and Schlegel was credited with half a sack and also recovered a fumble. It was Schlegel’s pressure that forced the Aztec fumble, which he recovered on the SDSU 1-yard line on the final play of the third quarter. Brandon Schnittker scored on the next play to put OSU up 24-6.

Quarterback Troy Smith accounted for 235 yards in total offense and ran for a pair of touchdowns. Seven different receivers caught at least two passes, led by Santonio Holmes and Roy Hall with four catches each.

Kicker Josh Huston added a pair of field goals, connecting from 25 and 39 yards out to complete the scoring.

A number of young players saw their first extended playing time, including true freshmen Mo Wells, who carried the ball nine times for 32 yards, and Brian Robiskie, who gathered in his first career reception and then spun his way up field for 13 yards. Redshirt freshman Erik Haw made his debut and responded with one carry for 6 yards and two receptions for another 6.

The Buckeyes rolled up 375 yards in total offense on 82 plays.

GAME 4 — IOWA

Iowa 0 0 3 3 – 6 Ohio State 7 10 7 7 – 31

The Buckeyes were masterful on both sides of the ball against the Hawkeyes. With junior quarterback Troy Smith and sophomore tailback Antonio Pittman both enjoying their best outings of the year, the Buckeyes amassed a season-high 530 yards – 314 rushing and 216 through the air. Smith completed 13 of 19 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 127 yards and a pair of scores on 18 carries, rolling up 318 yards in total offense. Pittman sliced and diced his way through the Hawkeye defense for 171 yards on 28 carries, both of which were career highs.

The OSU defense, meanwhile, limited the Hawkeyes to 137 yards and an average of 2.4 yards per play on 57 plays. Iowa had 13 yards at halftime, compared to Ohio State’s 331. The Buckeyes also converted 13 of their 18 third down opportunities, including nine-of-10 in the first half. Iowa converted just one-of-12 third downs.

As he has all year, A.J. Hawk led the Buckeyes in tackles with 10. Safety Donte Whitner had seven stops and an interception, and end Mike Kudla, a disruptive force all afternoon, had a sack and a half. Bobby Carpenter and Tyler Everett added sacks for the Buckeyes, who had five on the day.

The Buckeyes led 17-0 at the half and put the game away by scoring on their first possession of the third quarter on a 4-yard run by Smith, who scored earlier on a 16-yard jaunt. Both of Smith’s touchdown passes went to Anthony Gonzalez, who enjoyed his best day as a Buckeye with six receptions for 90 yards. Santonio Holmes had five receptions for 95 yards in a balanced OSU attack.

The 300-yards rushing was the most by the Buckeyes since the 2002 season opener against Texas Tech and the 530 yards in total offense marked the first time OSU had topped the 500 mark since 2002.

The minus-yardage figure by Iowa was the first time since 2003 that an opponent (Indiana, -12 on 32 attempts) had finished on the negative side of the ledger.

GAME 5 — PENN STATE

Penn State 0 14 3 0 – 17 Ohio State 3 7 0 0 – 10

The Buckeyes dropped a hard-fought 17-10 decision to unbeaten Penn State in an old-fashioned defensive struggle. The Buckeyes held the Nittany Lions to 195 total yards, including just 74 in the second half and eight in the fourth quarter, but could not overcome an early 14-3 deficit and a pair of costly turnovers. A 30-yard Josh Huston field goal and a 10-yard run by Troy Smith accounted for all of the OSU scoring.

Santonio Holmes and Ted Ginn combined for seven receptions and 81 yards and Antonio Pittman had 58 yards on 15 carries for the Buckeyes who wound up with 230 total yards.

Linebackers A.J. Hawk and Anthony Schlegel led the team with nine tackles each and Hawk had three of the Buckeyes 11 tackles-for-loss. Hawk has led the Buckeyes in tackles in all five games this year.

GAME 6 – MICHIGAN STATE

Michigan St. 10 7 7 0 – 24 Ohio State 7 7 7 14 – 35

The Buckeye defense had its hands full with Michigan State’s high scoring offense, but still held the Spartans well below their season average of 45 points per game. Spartan quarterback Drew Stanton threw for a career-high 340 yards, but was sacked a school-recrod 12 times by the relentless Ohio State defense. Michigan State entered the game first in sacks allowed with five through its first five games. They left dead last.

Linebackers A.J. Hawk, Bobby Carpenter and Anthony Schlegel all recorded double figures in tackles for the Buckeyes, as did safety Donte Whitner. Hawk finished the game with 19 stops, while Carpenter had 11 and tied the school record for sacks in a game with four. Whitner matched his career high with 11 tackles, one more than Schlegel. Defensive tackle David Patterson had a career high three tackles-for-loss.

Cornerback Ashton Youboty finished with six tackles, a blocked field goal and a 72-yard return for a touchdown on another MSU field goal attempt. Ohio State trailed 17-7 until Youboty scooped up a blocked field goal and scored with no time left on the clock to make it 17-14 at the half.

Offensively, the Buckeyes hurt their own cause with four lost fumbles, but scored on pass plays of 51, 57 and 46 yards to dig themselves out of a 17-7 hole. Troy Smith threw for a career high 249 yards and enjoyed the first three-touchdown-passing-game of his career. Two of those tosses went to Santonio Holmes, who sandwiched catches of 51 and 46 yards around Ted Ginn’s 57-yard scoring reception. Ginn’s catch is the longest play of the year for the Buckeyes.

Antonio Pittman recorded his third 100-yard day of the year, finishing with 101 yards on 18 carries to lead all rushers.

The Buckeyes had the ball for just over 19 minutes against the Spartans, but made the most of their opportunities, averaging a whopping 9.4 yards per play on 41 plays.

2006 SCHEDULE COMPLETED
Ohio State has completed its 2006 football card with the addition of Bowling Green. The two teams will play Oct. 7 in Ohio Stadium, giving the Buckeyes seven home games next year. The Buckeyes and Falcons have met three times previously. Ohio State leads the series 3-0. All three games have been played in Columbus. The most recent game was in 2003.

SCOUTING THE GOLDEN GOPHERS
Minnesota was off last week following a 38-34 home setback to Wisconsin Oct. 15 that dropped the Golden Gophers’ record to 5-2. It was the second conference loss for Minnesota, who also lost at Penn State before an upset at Michigan. The Gophers are 2-2 in Big Ten play after opening with an overtime victory over Purdue. Minnesota began the year with victories over Tulsa, Colorado State and Florida Atlantic.

Minnesota averages 36.6 points and 490.3 total yards of offense per game with 299.1 yards coming on the ground and 191.1 via the pass. Laurence Maroney has 1,133 yards rushing, an average of 161.9 yards. Gary Russell leads Minnesota with 10 of the team’s 20 rushing touchdowns. He is averaging just shy of 100 yards a game, running for an average of 92 yards per outing. Quarterback Bryan Cupito has completed 82 of 149 passes for 1,208 yards (201.3 average) and 10 TDs. Logan Payne has 19 catches for 268 yards and one score, while Ernie Wheelwright has 18 catches for 297 yards and three of the team’s 11 touchdown receptions. Seven different receivers have TD catches for the Gophers.

Minnesota’s defense is holding opponents to 25.4 points and 371.4 total yards per game. The unit has five interceptions, six fumble recoveries and 12 sacks totaling 69 yards. John Pawielski leads the Gophers with 52 tackles, including 37 solo stops. He also has four tackles-for-loss and one interception. Steve Davis has seven tackles-for-loss and paces the Gophers with five sacks totaling 34 yards.

Jason Giannini has made 12 of 15 field goal attempts and is perfect inside 30 yards. He is five of eight from beyond 30 yards and connected for a season long from 49 yards in the loss to Wisconsin.

MINNESOTA’S LAST GAME
With only 38 seconds remaining in the game Wisconsin’s Jonathan Casillas blocked a Minnesota punt into the Gophers’ end zone where it was recovered by Badger Ben Strickland for the decisive touchdown in a 38-34 Wisconsin victory Oct. 15 at the Metrodome. Led by Laurence Maroney and Gary Russell, the Gophers gained more than 400 yards on the ground and scored three rushing touchdowns. Maroney carried 43 times for a career-high 258 yards, while Russell gained 139 yards on 19 carries. The two Gophers running backs each rushed for more than 100 yards for the second-consecutive week. Wisconsin was led by Brian Calhoun with 110 yards on the ground on 23 carries, John Stocco finished with 235 yards passing on 15-of-26. Brandon Williams caught seven passes for 121 yards.

GOPHER COACH GLEN MASON
Glen Mason (Ohio State, 1972) is 56-47 in his ninth season at Minnesota. He has guided the Golden Gophers to five bowls, including wins in each of the last three seasons. Mason’s 2002 team went 8-5 and beat Arkansas in the Music City Bowl. His 2003 team went 10-3 after beating Oregon in the Sun Bowl and the 2004 squad finished 7-5 after a win over Alabama in the Music City Bowl. The 10 wins in 2003 marked the second time in his career his teams won 10 games. In 1995, his eighth of nine seasons at Kansas, his team went 10-2 and beat UCLA in the Aloha Bowl. Mason is in his 20th season as a college coach and is 115-111-1. He spent two seasons at Kent State (1986-87) in his first head coaching job. Mason spent eight seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater, coaching outside linebackers and the offensive line in 1978-79 before serving as Earle Bruce’s offensive coordinator from 1980-85.

NEXT WEEK
The Buckeyes return home to host Illinois next week. Starting time is 3:30 p.m. EST on ESPN. About 1,800 tickets remain for the game and can be purchased at the Athletics Ticket Office in the Jerome Schottenstein Center. Tickets are $61 each. To order by phone call 1-800 GO BUCKS or (614) 292-2624. Tickets also are available online at www.hangonsloopy.com.