Oct. 30, 1999
Game Notes and Quotes
Archie Griffin’s #45 Jersey Retired
By RUSTY MILLER
AP Sports Writer
COLUMBUS, Ohio – After routing Iowa 41-11 Saturday, No. 21 Ohio State immediately turned its thoughts to next week’s game at Michigan State.
The Buckeyes (6-3, 3-2 Big Ten) won by the biggest margin this year and piled up their most yards in coasting past the Hawkeyes (1-7, 0-5). That progress will be tested at Michigan State, which ruined the Buckeyes’ national championship hopes with a stunning 28-24 upset last year.
“I’m sure our team was embarrassed by what happened last year,” coach John Cooper said. “We’ll have another good week of practice, go up there and see what happens.”
Jonathan Wells, who scored twice on short runs and gained 51 yards on nine carries against Iowa, said he was already thinking about getting back at the Spartans.
“Some guys will tell you that it doesn’t matter, but, of course, it does,” he said. “If you were on this team last year, you’ve been waiting for this game.”
Ken-Yon Rambo caught seven passes for 179 yards, scored one touchdown and set up two others to key Ohio State’s offense against Iowa. The defense did its part by intercepting three passes.
Rambo had consecutive games of 181 and 164 receiving yards against Ohio and Cincinnati earlier in the season, but totaled just 166 yards in the Buckeyes’ last four games.
“Ken-Yon’s role is to make the big play,” said quarterback Steve Bellisari, who completed 12 of 24 passes for 240 yards and two scores. “He’s getting the job done. We always expect great things from him.”
The Buckeyes scored on their first three possessions and never were threatened.
Iowa, which had been outscored 52-0 in the opening quarter this season, broke the streak on Scott Mullen’s 18-yard TD pass to Kevin Kasper. Kasper tied a school-record with 13 catches for 135 yards, and Mullen completed 29 of 45 passes for 283 yards. Iowa came in ranked 103rd in offense of the 114 Division I-A teams, but looked like a scoring machine the first time it got the ball.
Chris Oliver’s 39-yard return got things rolling. The Hawkeyes needed only six plays to cover the remaining 57 yards, as Mullen completed all three of his passing attempts for 45 yards.
After the touchdown, the Hawkeyes went with an unbalanced line and Rob Thein surprised the Buckeyes by taking the snap and scoring the two-point conversion around left end.
“We’ve been real prolific in the first half all season long,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said sarcastically. “So it’s great to take the ball and drive it. I think our guys were ready to go from the get-go.”
Still, Ohio State’s Michael Wiley outrushed the entire Iowa State team, gaining 86 yards on 15 carries compared to 53 yards on 26 attempts for the Hawkeyes.
Staying primarily on the ground on their first series, the Buckeyes scored on Wells’ 1-yard run.
After forcing an Iowa punt, Ohio State took over at its own 22 and put together a 13-play scoring drive. Bellisari hit Rambo for 17 yards on third-and-7 at the Hawkeyes’ 38. After a personal foul left the Buckeyes with third-and-goal at the 18, Bellisari slipped two tackles and rumbled up the middle for the touchdown.
Rambo’s 58-yard reception from Bellisari was the key play the next time Ohio State got the ball. After Wells ran for 18 yards, Bellisari flipped a short play-action pass to Houser in the end zone to make it 21-8 at the half.
The Buckeyes put it away in the second half as the defense picked off three Mullen passes and the offense provided three TDs. In additiion to Wells’ 3-yard run, Rambo caught a 40-yarder from Bellisari and backup quarterback Austin Moherman hit Vaness Provitt on a 41-yard score.
“That’s as close as we’ve come to playing a complete game,” Cooper said.
It couldn’t have come at a better time, with Michigan State coming up next.
“They beat us last year and destroyed everything,” linebacker Na’il Diggs said of the Buckeyes’ fall from No. 1. “I have a little revenge niche.”