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Oct. 30, 2004

Box Score |  Quotes |  Notes

By RUSTY MILLER
AP Sports Writer

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Ted Ginn returned a punt 67 yards for a touchdown and Tyler Everett ran back an interception for another score to lead Ohio State to a 21-10 win over Penn State on Saturday.

Two offenses ranked among the worst in the Big Ten struggled all day, combining for four turnovers.

Neither team could pass in the gusting winds, with Penn State going to the air for just 69 yards despite trailing all day and Ohio State settling for 59 yards with a keepaway attack for the final three quarters.

Ginn’s return and Everett’s TD in the first quarter gave the Buckeyes (5-3, 2-3) an almost insurmountable lead against an Penn State offense that was last in the conference in scoring and turnover margin.

Penn State (2-6, 0-5) lost its fifth game in a row. The Nittany Lions lost six consecutive games just last season.

Penn State ran 16 plays in Ohio State territory in the opening half (twice as many as the Buckeyes did on the Nittany Lions’ side of the field), had a 13-4 upper hand in first downs and a 157-63 advantage in total yards. Yet the Buckeyes led 21-7 thanks to two Penn State turnovers, a long kick return by Maurice Hall and Ginn’s big punt return.

The Lions took the opening kickoff and drove to a first down at the Ohio State 34, but a play later Michael Robinson’s pass in the right flat was intercepted by Ashton Youboty, who returned it 35 yards.

On their next possession, the Lions were forced to punt and Ginn burned them. The freshman accelerated up the middle and then cut to the Ohio State sideline for his second punt-return touchdown of the season. He became only the fifth Buckeye to return two punts for TDs in the same season and the first since Jeff Graham in 1990.

Three plays after the ensuing kickoff, Robinson’s wide receiver screen in the left flat was wide of the target and Everett ran between two Penn State players to pick it off and return it 24 yards untouched for the score.

Ohio State ran a total of six plays and netted just 12 yards in the first quarter but led 14-0.

The Buckeyes chipped in with a turnover of their own midway through the second quarter when quarterback Troy Smith was hit from behind by Matthew Rice and fumbled, with Derek Wake recovering at the Ohio State 41. It took just six plays for Penn State to find the end zone, Tony Hunt setting up his own 3-yard score by bursting through a hole for a 26-yard gain.

It was only Penn State’s third offensive touchdown in the Big Ten this season.

Hall returned the ensuing kickoff 62 yards to the Penn State 35 – at the same time setting Ohio State’s career record for kickoff-return yardage with 1,476 – which led to Branden Joe’s 4-yard touchdown run to push the lead back to 14 points.

The only points in the second half came on Robbie Gould’s 21-yard field with 9:31 left, after Penn State coach Joe Paterno disdained going for the touchdown from the Ohio State 3 on fourth down.

Hunt finished with 85 rushing yards on 20 attempts, with Robinson adding 58 on 20 carries. Robinson, filling in for Zack Mills who missed the game with a concussion, completed just 7 of 21 passes with the two interceptions.

Hall rushed for 65 yards on 14 carries for the Buckeyes.

Smith hit on 6 of 8 passes without an interception as Ohio State kept it on the ground and burned time off the clock after piling up the early lead.