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Oct. 31, 2005

Transcript of Press Luncheon
Player Quotes
Depth Chart
Top 25 Polls

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THE ILLINOIS GAME
Ohio State returns home this week to host Illinois. Starting time Saturday is 3:30 p.m. in sold out Ohio Stadium (102,329). The game will be televised nationally by ESPN and broadcast around the state by WBNS Radio, the flagship station for the 73-station Ohio State radio network.

Ohio State enters the game with a 6-2 record for all games and a 4-1 mark in Big Ten play. The Buckeyes are coming off a 45-31 win at Minnesota and have won three in a row.

Illinois is 2-6 on the year and 0-5 in league play. The Illini, under the first-year direction of former Ohio State assistant coach Ron Zook (1988-90 defensive backs), dropped a 41-24 verdict to visiting Wisconsin last week. The Illini have lost six straight and are seeking their first road win of the year.

Coach Jim Tressel’s Buckeyes are 4-1 at home this year and 29-4 since the start of the 2001 season (Tressel’s first year at OSU).

The 1955 Ohio State team will hold its 50th reunion this weekend and will be recognized at halftime of Saturday’s game. As part of that ceremony, Howard “Hopalong” Cassady will be feted in observance of the 50th anniversary of his Heisman Trophy year in 1955. The 1955 team captured the Big Ten title with a 6-0 mark and finished the season at 7-2. THE BIG TEN CHASE
With three regular-season games to play, Ohio State is one of three Big Ten teams with one conference loss. At 4-1, the Buckeyes are a half game behind Penn State and Wisconsin in the standings. Those two teams play this week at Penn State. Michigan at 4-2, along with Northwestern and Iowa, both at 3-2, are nipping at the frontrunners’ heels.

A LOOK AT OHIO STATE
The 12th-ranked Buckeyes have won three in a row and have outscored their opponents 121 to 65 in that span, including a season high 45 points against Minnesota. In their last three outings, the Buckeyes are averaging 437 yards per game and have outscored their opponents 42 to 7 in the fourth quarter. The 45 points at Minnesota are the most points scored on the road by the Buckeyes since a 45-14 win over Iowa in 1998.

Sophomore Antonio Pittman, who rushed for a career high 186 yards and two touchdowns at Minnesota, is the Buckeyes’ leading ground gainer with 882 yards on 159 carries. The 5-11, 195-pound tailback is averaging 5.5 yards per carry and 110 yards per game. He has topped the 100-yard mark in four of his last five games, including the last three. With Pittman leading the way at Minnesota, the Buckeyes out gained the Gophers on the ground 216 to 182.

In the passing department, junior Troy Smith has recorded three consecutive 200-yard passing games and is completing 59 percent of his passes for 1,265 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Smith threw for three touchdowns at Minnesota, including a pair of scoring strikes to split end Santonio Holmes. Holmes leads the Buckeyes in receiving with 36 catches for 673 yards and seven touchdowns. His 18.7 yards per catch average is tops in the Big Ten.

Ohio State continues to lead the Big Ten in rushing defense and total defense. The Buckeyes are allowing 77.6 yards per game on the ground and 295.2 yards per game overall. Minnesota collected a season high 182 yards rushing against OSU, but only 45 of those yards came in the second half. The Buckeyes are second in the Big Ten in scoring defense, allowing an average of 16.6 points per game, and fourth in pass defense at 217.6 yards per game.

Senior linebacker A.J. Hawk is the team leader in tackles with 84, while fellow linebacker Bobby Carpenter paces the team, and the Big Ten, in sacks with eight. Carpenter’s 10.5 tackles-for-loss is also a team best.

ILL TEAM COMPARISONS OSU
2-6, 0-5 Records 6-2, 4-1
20.1 Points Per Game 30.6
40.0 Opp. Pts. Per Game 16.6
163.1 Avg. Rushing Yards 181.0
216.4 Avg. Passing Yards 204.6
379.5 Avg. Total Offense 385.6
228.2 Opp. Avg. Rush/Yds. 77.6
227.9 Opp. Avg. Pass/Yds. 217.6
456.1 Opp. Avg. Tot. Off. 295.2
46/122 3rd Down Conversions 46/106
50/412 Pen./Yards 42/396
30:19 Avg. Time of Poss. 31:41
6 Sacks By 31
23 Sacks Allowed 15
6-5, 299 Avg. Ht./Wt. OL 6-5, 303
6-5, 274 Avg. Ht./Wt. DL 6-3, 284

SERIES INFORMATION
Ohio State and Illinois will be meeting for the 92nd time since the series was inaugurated in 1902. Until the series was interrupted in 2003, the two teams had played every year from 1914 to 2002. This will be their first meeting since 2002, a memorable 23-16 overtime road victory for the Buckeyes who went on to post a perfect 14-0 record and win the national championship. Ohio State leads the series 58-29-4 and has a 25-17-4 edge in Columbus. Between 1968 and 1982, the Buckeyes put together a 15-game winning streak against the Illini, the longest streak in the series by either team. Illinois won five in a row between 1988 and 1992. The two teams have split their last four games, with both of the Illini victories coming in Columbus (46-20 in 1999 and 34-22 in 2001).

RECAPPING MINNESOTA
Troy Smith threw for 233 yards and three touchdowns, Ted Ginn Jr. scored on a 100-yard kickoff return and Antonio Pittman rushed for a career high 186 yards as the Buckeyes downed the Gophers 45-31. In addition to scoring the most points on the road since 1998, the Buckeyes rolled up 449 yard in total offense, including 216 on the ground. Minnesota, which had entered the game averaging 299 yards rushing, finished with 182, including just 45 in the second half. The Gophers’ talented tailback Laurence Mauroney finished with 127 yards to become the first back this year to rush for 100 yards against the Buckeyes, but he was held to 13 yards on 11 carries in the second half.

Smith, who has had a hot hand of late, gave the Buckeyes a 7-0 lead on their first possession with a 41-yard scoring strike to split end Santonio Holmes, one of two TD receptions on the day for Holmes. With OSU leading 10-7, Ginn sprinted 100 yards untouched on a kickoff return to put the Buckeyes on top 17-7. Pittman snapped a 17-17 tie with a 67-yard run on the Buckeyes’ first possession of the second half that gave OSU the lead for good. Smith made it 31-17 on a 27-yard pass to Anthony Gonzalez on the Buckeyes’ next possession.

The Gophers, who threw for 396 yards and had 578 yards in total offense, closed the gap to 31-24, but a 4-yard Pittman run and a 30-yard Smith-to-Holmes pass salted things away.

Donte Whitner led the Buckeye defense with 10 tackles, one more than A.J. Hawk and Ashton Youboty.

The Buckeyes had no turnovers in the game and recovered a Gopher fumble that set up Pittman’s second score. Nate Salley forced the fumble which was recovered by Quinn Pitcock.

GINN GOES COAST TO COAST
Ted Ginn Jr. came close at Indiana, but his 98-yard kickoff return for an apparent touchdown was negated by a penalty. In Saturday’s win at Minnesota, there were no flags as Ginn gathered in the ball a yard deep in his own end zone and returned it 100 yards for a touchdown. It was Ginn’s first touchdown on a kickoff return and the first by a Buckeye since Michael Wiley ran one back 100 yards against Bowling Green in 1997.

PITTMAN FINDS PAYDIRT, NAMED BIG TEN P.O.W.
Sophomore tailback Antonio Pittman scored his first two touchdowns of the season at Minnesota. The 5-11 Pittman gave the Buckeyes a 24-17 lead on their first possession of the third quarter with a 67-yard burst up the middle on which he split the two safeties and waltzed untouched into the end zone. He added a second score at the start of the fourth quarter on a 4-yard run to give OSU a 38-24 lead. Pittman finished the day with a career high 186 yards on 23 carries, an average of 8.1 yards per attempt. His 67-yard run was a career best and the longest play from scrimmage this year by the Buckeyes. Following the game Pittman was named Big Ten co-offensive player of the week.

HOLMES JUST MISSES CENTURY MARK
Split end Santonio Holmes had four receptions for 94 yards and a pair of touchdowns at Minnesota, falling just short of a third consecutive 100-yard game. Holmes, who had 104 yards against Indiana and 150 against Michigan State in his previous two outings, leads the Buckeyes in receiving with 36 catches for 673 yards and seven touchdowns. He ranks fourth in the Big Ten in reception yardage per game at 84.1 and leads the conference in average yards per catch with a fanciful 18.7 figure. The 5-11, 190-pound junior, who has caught two or more passes in 26 consecutive games, ranks sixth in career receptions at OSU with 123 and seventh in career receiving yardage with 1,991.

HUSTON GOES YARD
Senior kicker Josh Huston kicked off eight times at Minnesota and all eight of those boots sailed deep into the end zone for touchbacks. On the year, 32 of Huston’s 48 kickoffs have been touchbacks. Huston leads the Big Ten in field goal percentage at 82.4 percent and kick scoring at 8.9 points per game. He has made 14 of 17 field goal attempts and has hit all 29 of his extra point tries.

SMITH SETTLES IN
Junior quarterback Troy Smith (now 9-2 as a starter) has completed 59.7 percent of his passes for 1,265 yards and 10 touchdowns. Smith completed 14 of 20 passes for 233 yards and three touchdowns at Minnesota, turning in his third consecutive 200-yard passing performance. Equally dangerous as a runner, he has rushed for eight touchdowns on the year, the most by an OSU signal caller since Art Schlichter rushed for nine scores in 1979.

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

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 Oct. 22, giving him five career touchdowns on punt returns. That ties the mark set by former Iowa standout Tim Dwight (1994-97).

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 771-300-53. 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 36-3 when aheadafter three quarters. Ohio State is now 11-8 in Big Ten road gamessince Tressel took over in 2001. The Buckeyes have scored at leastone touchdown in 109-consecutive games. The win over Minnesotagives Ohio State a 3-2 record against Top 25 teams so far in 2005.Troy Smith has thrown for 708 yards and seven touchdowns in hislast three games Antonio Pittman needs 118 yards to become OhioState’s 23rd 1,000-yard rusher. The Buckeyes have outscored theirlast three opponents 42-7 in the fourth quarter.

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 Darrell Hazell and Luke Fickell.

BIG TEN SUCCESS
Since beginning league play in 1913, Ohio State has compiled an all-time Big Ten record of 422-162-24 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 46-13 and his career record is 181-70-2 (.719). 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 impressive 19-7 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 1-1 against Illinois

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 Illinois, 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 357 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 84, including 9.0 tackles-for-loss and 4.5 sacks. He has led the team in tackles in seven of the eight games (all but Minnesota) and is averaging 10.5 stops per game. His high game this year is 19 stops in the win over Michigan State

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 for the year 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 and are not expected to play this season. Freeman played in the opener; Nicol has not played this year. Senior running back Brandon Schnittker is out for the season with a back injury, while offensive tackle Kirk Barton (knee), tight end Ryan Hamby (knee) and cornerback Tyler Everett (shoulder) are week-to-week.

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 771-300-53 since first fielding a football team in 1890. That includes a Big Ten record of 422-162-24 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 and Boone 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.

GAME 7 – INDIANA

Ohio State 7 10 14 10 – 41 Indiana 0 3 7 0 – 10

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.

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 FIGHTING ILLINI
Illinois is 2-6 overall and 0-5 in the Big Ten after a 41-24 home loss to Wisconsin last Saturday. The Fighting Illini opened the year with a pair of victories, beating Rutgers 33-30 in overtime to open the season, and San Jose State 40-19. Since then, the Illini have lost games to California (35-20), Michigan State (61-14), Iowa (35-7), Indiana (36-13) and Penn State (63-10).

The Illinois offense averages 20.1 points and 379.5 yards per game, breaking down to 163.1 yards rushing and 216.4 yards passing. Quarterback Tim Brasic has completed 61.3 percent of his passes (160-of-261) for 1,597 yards and nine touchdowns. He is averaging 199.6 yards per game and has been picked eight times. His favorite target is E.B. Halsey who has made 32 catches for 171 and two scores. Kyle Hudson has made 26 grabs for 373 yards and one score. On the ground, Pierre Thomas has 471 yards on 89 carries, an average of 58.9 yards per game. He has scored four of the team’s eight touchdowns, while Brasic has ran for three.

Defensively, Illini opponents average 40.0 points and 456.1 yards per game, broken down almost evenly with 228.2 yards given up on the ground and 227.9 yards through the air. The unit has forced six turnovers, three interceptions and three fumbles and has seven sacks totaling 42 yards. Kevin Mitchell leads the team with 53 tackles, including 35 solo stops. He also has 2.5 tackles-for-losses of eight yards to go with three pass break ups. Remond Willis is second on the team with 46 tackles, including 6.5 tackles-for-losses of 30 yards. He has one sack, one INT and one forced fumble. J Leman is third on the team with 45 tackles and Justin Harrison has 42 with one interception and one fumble recovery.

ILLINOIS’ LAST GAME
Fighting Illini quarterback Tim Brasic was 20-of-39 for 277 yards and two touchdowns while carrying the ball 16 times for 116 yards, leading his team in rushing for the third time this season, but it wasn’t enough to stop No. 15 Wisconsin, which rode Brian Calhoun for 197 yards rushing and five touchdowns. Wisconsin kept pace with Penn State and Ohio State with a 41-24 last Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Champaign. Illinois’ freshman receiver Kyle Hudson caught 10 passes for 114 yards, including a 32-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter as the Illini outgained the Badgers 538 yards to 464 thanks to 261 yards rushing, the majority coming from Brasic.

COACH RON ZOOK
Ron Zook (Miami, Ohio, 1976) is in his first season at Illinois where his team is 2-6 overall and 0-5 in the Big Ten. He spent the last three years at the University of Florida, where his teams went 16-8 and appeared in two Outback Bowls and a Peach Bowl. His 2002 and 2003 teams each were 8-5 and last year’s team went 7-4. Zook’s career record is 18-14. The Loudonville, Ohio, native won three letters as a defensive back on a Miami (Ohio) team that boasted a record of 32-1-1 during that time and won three MAC titles. Zook has 29 years of coaching experience at the high school, professional and collegiate ranks, including stops at Ohio State (1988-90), Florida, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Kansas, Cincinnati and Murray State.

NEXT WEEK
The Buckeyes conclude the 2005 home card by hosting Northwestern. The game will kickoff shortly after noon and be televised by ABC Sports.