Aug. 4, 2005
The game against Texas on Sept. 10 will be the first meeting between the two schools, which also meet in 2006 in Austin. Ohio State has an all-time record of 27-3-1 against teams currently playing in the Big 12.
The Buckeyes have two prime-time games this year on national TV – Texas at home (ABC) and Penn State on the road (either ESPN or ESPN2). Ohio State is 25-8 in night games, including a 6-0 slate in Ohio Stadium.
The Buckeyes return nine offensive and nine defensive starters from last year’s 8-4 team, which closed out the season by winning five of its last six games, including victories over Michigan (37-21) in the regular-season finale and against Oklahoma State (33-7) in the Alamo Bowl. OSU finished the season ranked 19th and 20th respectively in the USA Today and Associated Press polls. The Buckeyes also return 45 lettermen – 22 each on offense and defense and one member of the special teams. Ohio State has lost 17 letter winners – 8 on offense, 6 on defense and 3 from special teams.
With the win over Oklahoma State in San Antonio, Ohio State has won its last three bowl games and is now 3-1 in postseason play under head coach Jim Tressel, including victories in the 2003 (National Championship) and the 2004 Tostitos Fiesta Bowls. The Buckeyes are 17-19 all-time in bowl play.
In his four years at the helm of Ohio State, Jim Tressel has fashioned a 40-11 record. Tressel is the fifth coach in Ohio State history to reach the 40-wins plateau, joining John Wilce (78-33-9 from 1913-18), Woody Hayes (205-61-10 from 1951-78), Earle Bruce (81-26-1 from 1979-87) and John Cooper (111-43-4 from 1988-2000). Only Bruce (50 games) reached the 40 mark sooner than Tressel.
As he did in 2003, A.J. Hawk again led the Buckeyes in tackles in 2004, recording a career-high 141 total stops. That is the highest total by a Buckeye since Chris Spielman’s 156 in 1987. Hawk has 273 career tackles heading into 2005 and is currently 16th on the all-time OSU list. Freshman speedster Ted Ginn Jr. returned four punts for touchdowns last year. In doing so, he set the school and Big Ten single-season records and tied the existing NCAA mark (since broken by Chad Owens of Hawaii with 5). Additionally, he established the school career mark, breaking the previous standard of 3 that had been shared by Jeff Graham (1989-90) and Garcia Lane (1981-83). Ginn also finished the season as the Buckeyes’ second leading receiver with 25 receptions for 359 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Buckeyes second leading scorer with 48 points, he scored 8 touchdowns – four on punt returns, two on receptions and two on runs.
Split end Santonio Holmes led the Buckeyes in receiving with a career-best 55 catches for 769 yards and seven touchdowns. He enters the 2005 season with at least one reception in the last 18 games and has 87 career grabs.
Ohio State’s list of returning players features All-America candidates Hawk and the multi-talented Ginn. Additionally, Holmes, center Nick Mangold, cornerback Ashton Youboty, defensive tackle Quinn Pitcock, safeties Nate Salley and Donte Whitner and linebackers Bobby Caprenter and Anthony Schlegel should be in the hunt for postseason recognition in 2005.
Quarterback Troy Smith totaled 386 yards in total offense in the Michigan game, the third highest figure in school history and the most yards ever by an Ohio State player against the Wolverines. In addition to throwing for 241 yards and a pair of touchdowns, Smith also ran for 145 yards and a score. His rushing total was one-yard shy of the school rushing record by a quarterback.
Through the first six games, the Buckeyes averaged 285.2 yards in total offense and 20 points a game. In the last six games, those figures escalated to 356.5 yards and 28.3 points. Ohio State’s high-water mark in total offense in 2004 was 462 yards against Cincinnati, followed by 446 against Michigan. The Buckeyes also put up 403 yards against Oklahoma State.