Feb. 6, 2003

Columbus, Ohio – Ohio State concluded the 2002 football season by defeating the Miami Hurricanes, 31-24 in double overtime at the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, and winning the school’s, and the Big Ten’s, first undisputed National Championship since 1968. The Big Ten champion Buckeyes thus wrapped up a perfect 14-0 season, setting an NCAA Division 1A record for most wins in a season. It was Ohio State’s first unbeaten season since the 1968 team captured the national crown with a 10-0 mark. During the course of the season, Ohio State defeated five ranked teams – Washington State, Penn State, Minnesota, Michigan and Miami. The Buckeyes were No. 2 in the polls heading into their showdown with top-ranked Miami, which entered the Fiesta Bowl with a 34-game winning streak. Ohio State now owns the longest winning streak in Division 1A at 14 games. The Buckeyes also have won nine consecutive Big Ten games dating back to the final conference game of the 2001 season.

Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel received numerous accolades at the conclusion of the 2002 season. On the heels of the Buckeyes’ 14-0 season and the school’s first consensus national title in 34 years, Tressel was named National Coach of the Year by the Football Writers Association of America, the American Football Coaches Association, the Bobby Dodd Foundation and the Paul “Bear” Bryant Committee. In his two seasons at Ohio State, Tressel has compiled an overall record of 21-5, including a 13-3 mark in Big Ten play. His 17-year career record now stands at 156-62-2.

The Buckeyes return 18 starters in 2003, including all 11 starters on offense. There are six holdovers on defense including three members of the front four. All-America place-kicker Mike Nugent rounds out the list of holdovers. Ohio State has 51 returning letter winners – 24 on offense, 22 on defense and five with the special teams. 2003 BUCKEYE ALL-STAR CANDIDATES
Quarterback Craig Krenzel (15-1 as a starter), sophomore tailback Maurice Clarett (1,237 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns as a true freshman), flanker/cornerback Chris Gamble (31 receptions on offense and a team leading four interceptions on defense), split end Michael Jenkins (61 receptions for 1,076 yards), tight end Ben Hartsock, center Alex Stepanovich and tackle Shane Olivea head up a talented cast of holdovers for the Buckeyes on offense.

The Buckeye defense, meanwhile has three of the top defensive linemen in college football returning in ends Will Smith (12.5 TFL) and Darrion Scott (6 sacks) and tackle Tim Anderson.

All-America kicker Mike Nugent, who scored 120 points and set seven school records in 2002, is back for his junior year.

The Buckeyes open spring practice Apr. 3 and will play the annual Scarlet and Gray Game in Ohio Stadium on Apr. 26. Kickoff for the latter is set for 1:30 p.m. Spring Practice is open to the media, but all reporters and photographers are required to stay behind the restraining ropes at the north end of the practice field. Practice Dates: Apr. 3, 4, 5, 8, 10, 11, 12, 15, 17, 18, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26

Ohio State kicks off the 2003 campaign by hosting the University of Washington on Aug. 30. That game will be televised by ABC and is being considered for prime time Saturday evening. OSU’s Sept. 6 game with San Diego State, originally scheduled as a home game for the Aztecs, has been moved to Columbus, giving the Buckeyes eight home games for the second year in a row. As a result of that switch, the Buckeyes open the season with five consecutive home contests before a bye week on Oct. 4. The Buckeyes’ first road game is at Wisconsin, Oct. 11, the second consecutive trip to Madison for the Scarlet and Gray. The Buckeyes pick up Iowa and Michigan State this year in Big Ten play and drop Illinois and Minnesota. Ohio State and Illinois had played continuously since 1914, a string of 88 consecutive games.

The 2002 national title is Ohio State’s seventh overall. The Buckeyes won their first crown in 1942, posting a 9-1 record under Paul Brown. Legendary Buckeye mentor Woody Hayes guided OSU to the 1954 national championship and a perfect 10-0 record behind the running of All-American halfback Howard “Hopalong” Cassady. Hayes did it again in 1957, directing Ohio State to a 9-1 mark that began with a season-opening loss to TCU. In 1961, on the heels of an 8-0-1 record, the Football Writers proclaimed the Buckeyes as national champions. In 1968, Ohio State’s super sophomores upset No. 1 Purdue in the third game of the season and went on to post a 10-0 mark. The Buckeyes concluded the ’68 season by downing USC in the Rose Bowl and were everyone’s choice as the best team in college football. In 1970, the Buckeyes posted a 9-1 record (their lone loss was to Stanford in the Rose Bowl) and were picked by the National Football Foundation as the top team in college football.

With an 8-0 record in 2002, Ohio State captured its 29th Big Ten championships since beginning conference play in 1913. The Buckeyes have captured 15 outright titles and shared 14 others, including the 2002 crown when Iowa also posted an 8-0 record. Last year marked the first time since 1943 – and just the fourth time ever – that the conference has had undefeated co-champions. Ohio State and Minnesota did it in 1935, both teams finishing at 5-0.

Ohio State has played in 34 bowl games over the years and has an all-time bowl record of 15 wins and 19 losses. The Buckeyes have appeared in 10 different bowls and are the only school to play in every New Year’s Day Bowl.

Ohio State’s defensive coordinator, Mark Dantonio, was one of five finalists for the 2002 Frank Broyles Award, which goes annually to the leading assistant coach in college football. Under Dantonio’s direction, the Buckeyes allowed just 13.1 points a game, a total that led the Big Ten and was second nationally. The Buckeyes also led the Big Ten in rushing defense, allowing 77.7 yards per game (third nationally).

Seniors Mike Doss, Matt Wilhelm and Andy Groom, along with sophomore Mike Nugent, were named to first-team All-America berths in 2002.

Doss, the Buckeyes’ hard-hitting strong safety, was named to the Football Writers, Football Coaches, Sporting News, Walter Camp and Associated Press first teams. He is one of just seven three-time All-American in Ohio State history, joining an illustrious group that includes two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin.

Wilhelm, who led the team in tackles with 121 at his middle linebacker spot, was named to the Football Writers, Sporting News and Associated Press squads.

Groom, a former walk-on who led the Big Ten in punting, was named to the Football Writers and the Associated Press teams.

Nugent set seven OSU kicking records in 2002. He was named to the Football Coaches and the Walter Camp teams and is the first Ohio State place-kicker to win All-America honors.

Over the years, Ohio State has produced 160 first-team All-Americans.

Senior safety Michael Doss was named as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, and tailback Maurice Clarett was selected as the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2002. Doss was selected by a vote of the Big Ten’s coaches, while Clarett was the choice of the coaches and the media electors.

Seven Ohio State players were named to first-team spots on the 2002 All-Big Ten team. Tailback Maurice Clarett (Media), strong safety Mike Doss (Media and Coaches), cornerback Chris Gamble (Coaches), punter Andy Groom (Media/Coaches), kicker Mike Nugent (Media), defensive tackle Darrion Scott (Coaches) and linebacker Matt Wilhelm (Media/Coaches) all earned first-team berths.

Quarterback Craig Krenzel was accorded a second-team berth (M/C), as were offensive tackle Shane Olivea (M/C), split end Michael Jenkins (M/C), defensive tackle Tim Anderson (C), defensive tackle Kenny Peterson (C), defensive end Will Smith (M,/C), and linebacker Cie Grant (C).

All but Doss, Groom, Wilhelm, Peterson and Grant return in 2003.

Quarterback Craig Krenzel, who helped engineer a perfect 14-0 season in his first season as a starter, and flanker/cornerback Chris Gamble, the first two-way starter for OSU in more than 30 years, were selected by their teammates as co-Most Valuable Players for the 2002 season. Krenzel threw for 2,110 yards and 12 touchdowns and repeatedly came up with big plays to spark the Ohio State offense. Gamble, who started the last six games of the season on both offense and defense, led the team in interceptions with four and was the second leading receiver with 31 receptions. He played in 100 or more plays in each of the Buckeyes last four games. Krenzel, also the Offensive MVP of the Fiesta Bowl, will be a senior in 2003, while Gamble will be a junior.

Senior-to-be Michael Jenkins heads into the 2003 season with at least one catch in 26-consecutive games. The 6-5 split end led the Buckeyes in receiving in 2002 with 61 catches for 1,076 yards and six touchdowns. He now has 110 career receptions for 2,064 career yards. Both totals rank sixth in Ohio State annals. Former Ohio State All-America David Boston is the school record holder in both categories with 191 receptions and 2,855 yards.

Ohio State kicker Mike Nugent, one of three finalists for the Lou Groza Award as college football’s best place-kicker, set seven school records in 2002: most points by a kicker (120), most field goals in a season (25), most consecutive field goals made (24), most consecutive field goals made in a season (23), most consecutive field goals in Ohio Stadium (15), most consecutive games with at least one field goal (12), and most field goals of 40 or more yards in a season (10). He also tied the school mark for 40-yard field goals in a game (3 vs. Washington State). Nugent’s string of 24-consecutive makes came to an end at Illinois when he missed from 37 yards out. He had made 23 in a row, just two shy of the NCAA record.

Quarterback Craig Krenzel (molecular genetics), tight end Ben Hartsock (biology) and cornerback Dustin Fox (communications) were named to the Verizon Academic All-District IV Football Team. To be eligible for consideration, a player must be a starter or key reserve and have a grade point average of 3.2 or better. Krenzel and Hartsock also were accorded second-team berths on the Verizon Academic All-America team.

A total of 27 Ohio State players were named to the 2002 Big Ten All-Academic Football team. That total led the Big Ten. In order to be eligible for consideration, a player must have a GPA of 3.00 or better during the past academic year. Forty-six members of the OSU football team had GPA’s of 3.00 or better during Fall Quarter.

Defensive ends Will Smith and Darrion Scott, along with split end Michael Jenkins, will return for their senior seasons at Ohio State rather than opt for early entry in the NFL draft. Strong safety Michael Doss made the same decision last year and played a key role in leading the Buckeyes to the 2002 national championship.

Tailback Maurice Clarett set the OSU single-season record for rushing yards by a freshman with 1,237 in 2002. Clarett, who sat out three games and played sparingly in two other due to injuries, had seven 100-yard games, including a career-best 230 against Washington State. The latter is the sixth best effort in Ohio State history and is 9 yards short of the OSU freshman rushing record of 239 yards set by Archie Griffin in 1972.


Name Yards Year Games Maurice Clarett 1,237 2002 11 Robert Smith 1,126 1990 12 Archie Griffin 867 1972 11 Jaymes Bryant 656 1986 13 D.Sensanbaugher 633 1943 9

Ohio State heads into the 2003 campaign with an all-time record of 746-292-53 in 113th seasons. The Buckeyes’ very first football team posted a 3-1 record in 1890. Ohio State also has an all-time Big Ten ledger of 408-155-24 since beginning league play in 1913. The Buckeyes have won or shared 29 Big Ten championships.

A record total of 827,904 fans flocked through the Ohio Stadium gates see the Buckeyes play in 2002. That eight-game total easily eclipsed the old record of 654,500, set in 1991 in seven games. The Buckeyes’ average home attendance of 103,488 is the second highest in OSU history, surpassed only by a 103,532 figure in six games in 2001. A single-game record crowd of 105,539 was on hand for the 2002 Ohio State-Michigan game in Columbus. The Buckeyes drew a total of 1,201, 501 fans in 14 games for an average of 85,821.

Defensive backs Donte Whitner and Ashton Youboty enrolled at Ohio State at the beginning of the Winter Quarter (Jan. 6) and currently are attending classes and taking part in the winter conditioning program. Both will be take part in spring drills. Whitner played his high school football at Cleveland Glenville. Youboty played at Klein High School in Houston, Texas.

Ohio State linebacker Robert Reynolds wasn’t the only member of his family to win a national championship this past year. Robert’s older brother, Patrick, was a starting defensive end for Western Kentucky, which won the 2002 Division 1AA title. Robert will be a senior at Ohio State in 2003. Patrick was a senior last season.

Craig Krenzel has thrown for 2,453 yards to date, a total that places him 10th on the all-time Ohio State yardage list. The 6-4 Krenzel also ranks second in career completion percentage at OSU with a .584 figure (176 of 301) heading into the 2003 season … Flanker/cornerback Chris Gamble, the first two-way starter for the Buckeyes since the early 1970s, took part in 100 or more plays in each of the Buckeyes’ last four games in 2002, including 128 at Illinois and 122 against Miami in the Fiesta Bowl … With 25 field goals last year, junior-to-be Mike Nugent has made 32 of 42 career field goal attempts. The school record for career field goals made is 59. Nugent also has converted 72 of 75 extra point attempts … offensive tackle Shane Olivea and defensive linemen Darrion Scott and Simon Fraser will miss spring practice while recovering from off-season shoulder surgery. Offensive tackle Ivan Douglas also is expected to be held out for medical reasons, and linebacker Pat O’Neill will receive a medical waiver and will not play next year …Defensive end Will Smith, linebacker Robert Reynolds and tight end Ben Hartsock are the Buckeyes’ most experience holdovers with 38 games to their credit. Offensive guard Adrien Clarke is next with 37 and has started 29 times. Guard Bryce Bishop has started a team-best 26 consecutive games. Smith and Tim Anderson each have 23 starts to their credit to lead the defense. Cornerback Dustin Fox has 15 consecutive starts.