Ohio State will face Texas for the third time in four years Jan. 5 in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Jan. 5 in Glendale, Ariz.
First And 10
Ohio State is 10-2 and 7-1 in the Big Ten
The Buckeyes are Big Ten champions for the fourth straight year
The Buckeyes are back in a BCS bowl game for the fourth-straight year and the sixth time under head coach Jim Tressel.
Ohio State has now qualified for seven BCS games in the 11-year history of the system, which is tied with USC and Oklahoma for the lead among all programs.
This is the ninth-straight bowl appearance for the Buckeyes, the eighth overall for the Buckeyes under Tressel and the 40th in program history the most of any Big Ten school.
Ohio State is 4-2 all-time in BCS games, winning the Sugar Bowl in 1999 and the Fiesta in 2003, 2004 and 2006.
Tressel has passed former coach Earle Bruce (81 wins) for third place on Ohio State’s all-time wins list
Malcolm Jenkins is a finalist for the Thorpe Award
James Laurinaitis is a finalist for the Rotary Lombardi, Ronnie Lott and Bednarik Awards
Brian Robiskie is a first team Academic All-American for the second straight year
Ohio State – Texas Series The game will mark just the third meeting all-time between the Buckeyes and Longhorns after the two teams faced each other in 2005 and 2006. Texas won, 25-22, in 2005 in Columbus and Ohio State, 24-7, the next year in Austin.
Ohio State has an 18-21 record in bowl games, dating back to the 1921 Rose Bowl, where the Buckeyes were defeated 28-0 by California. The Buckeyes have appeared in 11 different bowl games during their storied history. The Buckeyes are 4-2 in six BCS game appearances. Ohio State holds a 14-18 record in bowl games played on New Year’s Day or later. Under Jim Tressel, Ohio State is 4-3 in bowl games.
Ohio State will wear its white jerseys and use the west bench on game day. Texas will wear its dark jerseys and use the east bench on game day.
Ohio State will stay at the Fairmont Scottsdale, 7575 East Princess Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85255 (480) 585-4848. Texas will stay at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort, 7200 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85253 (480) 948-5000.
Team Practice Sites
Ohio State will practice at Pinnacle High School, 3535 East Mayo Boulevard, Phoenix, AZ 85050 (480) 419-4410. Texas will practice at Scottsdale Community College, 9000 East Chaparral Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85256 (480) 423-6285.
Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl
The Buckeyes will be making their sixth appearance in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. The Buckeyes have won four consecutive Tostitos Fiesta Bowl games.
Coach Tressel in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel will be making his fifth Fiesta Bowl appearance and his fourth as the head coach. He is 4-0 in Fiesta Bowl games, including a 31-24 double-overtime win over Miami in the 2003 national championship. He was the quarterbacks, receivers and running backs coach for the Buckeyes when they defeated Pittsburgh in the 1984 Fiesta Bowl.
The teams participating in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl will receive approximately $18 million each from the Bowl Championship Series.
In The Polls
The Buckeyes finished 10th in the final BCS poll released Dec. 8 and also in the AP and Coaches polls. Texas finished No. 3 in all three polls.
Ohio State is one of only 15 teams in the nation to have 10 wins for the 2008 season. The Buckeyes are among 71 teams nationally that are bowl eligible, having reached Win No. 6 Oct. 11 against Purdue.
The Senior Class
This bowl will be the last game as a Buckeye for 28 members of the senior class, which counts a 43-7 record, three Big Ten titles, three wins over Michigan, two trips to the BCS title game and three BCS bowl appearances to its credit over the past four seasons. The most previous wins by an Ohio State senior class? 43, in 1995-98 and 2002-05.
The 2008 seniors: Nader Abdallah (Metairie, La.); Todd Boeckman (St. Henry, Ohio); Alex Boone (Lakewood, Ohio); D.R. Ebner (Hershey, Pa.); Marcus Freeman (Huber Heights, Ohio); Tyson Gentry (Sandusky, Ohio); Bryan Gray (Antwerp, Ohio); Malcolm Jenkins (Piscataway, N.J.); Ben Kacsandi (Wooster, Ohio); Shaun Lane (Hubbard, Ohio); J.D. Larson (Ventura, Calif.); James Laurinaitis (Hamel, Minn.); Ryan Lukens (Lebanon, Ohio); Kyle Mitchum (Erie, Pa.); Rory Nicol (Beaver, Pa.); Jamario O’Neal (Cleveland, Ohio); Nick Patterson (St. Louis, Mo.); Ben Person (Xenia, Ohio); Ryan Pretorius (Durbin, South Africa); Steve Rehring (West Chester, Ohio); Chris Rietschlin (Crestline, Ohio); Brian Robiskie (Chagrin Falls, Ohio); Kyle Ruhl (Powell, Ohio); Jon Skinner (Mt. Carmel, Pa.); Brandon Smith (Euclid, Ohio); Curtis Terry (Cleveland, Ohio); A.J. Trapasso (Pickerington, Ohio); and Maurice Wells (Jacksonville, Fla.).
The Silver Bullets
The Ohio State defense again is among the nation’s most dominant. The Buckeyes rank in the Top 20 in six defensive categories: 6th in turnover margin, 7th in scoring defense, 8th in pass defense, 9th in total defense, 13th in pass efficiency defense and 20th in rush defense.
In the 43-0 win over Youngstown State, Ohio State’s defense recorded the third shutout of the Jim Tressel era; others were in 2003 vs. Northwestern and 2006 vs. Minnesota. It was the first shutout by the Buckeyes in a season opener since OSU beat Miami (Fla.) 10-0 in 1977. The defense has held the opposition to single-digit scoring 31 times during the Tressel era.
Against Youngstown State, Ohio State’s defense allowed only 74 yards of offense. The Penguins registered -11 rushing yards on 21 attempts, the first time the Buckeye defense held an opponent to negative rushing yards since Cincinnati had -4 yards on 22 attempts Sept. 16, 2006.
Ohio State forced four Youngstown State punts and a YSU fumble on its five defensive possessions of the first half. Three of those five YSU drives resulted in three-and-outs. Overall, Ohio State forced YSU to punt on nine of its 12 possessions.
At Michigan State, the Buckeyes held the nation’s leading rusher, Javon Ringer, to just 67 yards, forcing five turnovers, including two fumbles returned for touchdowns (69 yards by Thaddeus Gibson and 48 yards by Jermale Hines). Michigan State scored only once against the Buckeyes.
Penn State, which came into the game averaging 45.4 points per contest, was held to just a touchdown and two field goals.
In the win over Ohio University, the Buckeye defense allowed just one offensive touchdown. At Southern Cal, led by 10 tackles from Malcolm Jenkins, the OSU defense gave up only four scores to the nation’s top team, and the Buckeyes held Troy (which entered the game averaging 48 points per outing) to just a touchdown and a field goal.
Ohio State, behind 12 tackles from James Laurinaitis, 10 stops from Ross Homan and seven tackles and a pair of forced fumbles by Anderson Russell, held previously unbeaten Minnesota to just 81 yards rushing. Homan and Laurinaitis, with 10 tackles each, were the leaders in the Wisconsin win. Against Michigan, the Buckeyes forced the Wolverines to go three-and-out 11 times.
Laurinaitis with 10 tackles, Freeman with nine and Thaddeus Gibson, with six tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble, were the leaders of the defensive effort that held Purdue to just a FG.
Ohio State is the fifth major college football program to reach 800 all-time wins; that event occurred in the 26-14 win over Ohio University. The Buckeyes have an all-time record of 808-306-53 in their 119 seasons. The top 10 schools in terms of total program victories:
872 – Michigan
831 – Texas
830 – Notre Dame
825 – Nebraska
808 – Ohio State
800 – Penn State
799 – Alabama
788 – Oklahoma
776 – Tennessee
764 – Southern Cal
With 1,091 yards this season in just nine games, Chris “Beanie” Wells became just the sixth Buckeyes to record back-to-back 1,000 yard rushing seaosns. Wells ran for 1,609 yards in 2007, bringing his total to 3,276 yards with 30 touchdowns — good for fourth on Ohio State’s all-time list.
Other Buckeye greats to accomplish that feat include Eddie George (1994-95), Keith Byars (1983-84), Tim Spencer (1981-82), Antonio Pittman (2005-06) and Archie Griffin, who is the only Buckeyes to do it three years in a row (1973-75).
Beanie For 3,000
Junior Chris “Beanie” Wells continues to power his way up the Ohio State career rushing ladder. Now fourth among Ohio State career rushers, he shows 3,276 yards rushing on 569 carries since 2006, averaging 5.8 yards for every carry of his career.
With 277 more rushing yards, Wells will be in third place among Buckeye career leaders, ahead of Tim Spencer (3,553 yards from 1979-82). Already this season, Wells has passed Keith Byars, Pepe Pearson, Carlos Snow, Michael Wiley, Antonio Pittman, Raymont Harris and Calvin Murray among OSU’s top 10.
Beanie rushed for 134 yards and a 59-yard touchdown in the win over Michigan, his 16th career 100-yard game and his seventh 100-yard performance in nine outings this season.
He gained 143 yards and a touchdown at Illinois, and rushed for the same totals at both Michigan State and Northwestern: 140 yards and two touchdowns in each contest.
He had a four-game streak where he was averaging 50.8 yards on his last four scoring plays: 62 at Michigan in 2007, 65 vs. LSU in the BCS title game, 43 against Youngstown State in this season’s opener and 33 against Wisconsin. His touchdowns at Michigan State covered 1 and 12 yards. Beanie’s average gain on his 30 career rushing touchdowns is 20.2 yards.
Three And Out
The Buckeye defense recorded 11 three-and-outs against Michigan, seven versus Youngstown State, six at Michigan State, five in the wins over Ohio University, Troy, Minnesota and Illinois, four at Northwestern, three against Southern Cal and Purdue, and two at Wisconsin, an average of 4.7 per game (56 total) during the 2008 season.
In 2007, the Buckeye defense held the opponent to three-and-out on 48.5% of all possessions (66-136). Turnovers ended 18 of those other opponent drives.
Laurinaitis Repeats As Big Ten Defender Of Year
Linebacker James Laurinaitis was selected by the conference coaches and a select media panel as the Big Ten defensive player of the year for 2008, an honor he also claimed in 2007.
Now showing 366 career tackles to date, Laurinaitis ranks seventh among Ohio State career leaders, just behind Pepper Johnson, who had 379 tackles from 1982-85. With his 10-tackle performance at Wisconsin, senior linebacker James Laurinaitis passed the 300 career tackle mark, just the 14th Ohio State player ever to reach that standard.
Laurinaitis is averaging 10.8 tackles per game this season in Big Ten play, leading the conference, with a team-high 11 tackles and an interception at Northwestern, a team-best 10 tackles with a TFL and two pass breakups against Purdue, followed by a team-best 11 stops with 1.5 sacks at Michigan State and 12 tackles against both Penn State and Michigan.
The two-time consensus All-American, who leads the Buckeyes in tackles for the third consecutive season, shows 121 total tackles this year, with four sacks, two interceptions and four pass breakups.
For his career, the 2006 Nagurski Award and 2007 Butkus Award winner has 23 TFL, 13 sacks and nine interceptions. In 15 career games against ranked opponents, Laurinaitis has 155 tackles, an average of 10.3 per contest.
The Honor Roll
James Laurinaitis is one of four finalists for the 2008 Rotary Lombardi Award; he was one of four finalists for that honor last season and is the only Big Ten player still in consideration for that award.
Laurinaitis also repeats as one of four finalists for the Ronnie Lott Trophy; named after Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott, the Lott Trophy is awarded to college football’s Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year. Now in its fifth year, the Lott Trophy is the first and only college football award to equally recognize athletic performance and the personal character attributes of the player.
Laurinaitis is one of 10 finalists from all positions for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I FBS senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: Classroom, Character, Community, and Competition. Buckeye seniors Marcus Freeman and Brian Robiskie were among 30 players selected as initial candidates. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages those leaders to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact on their circle of influence.
Laurinaitis is one of three finalists for the Chuck Bednarik Award, presented to a top defender by the Maxwell Club of Philadelphia. He is also one of five defensive players among 15 finalists for the Walter Camp Player of the Year award.
Jenkins Thorpe Award Finalist
Senior corner Malcolm Jenkins is one of three finalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, presented to the nation’s best collegiate defensive back. One of only three Big Ten defenders on the list of 13 semifinalists, has made big play after big play on defense and special teams.
Jenkins, who blocked an Illinois punt for a safety while recording three pass breakups and two tackles, forced a Northwestern fumble and had seven tackles against the Wildcats, and had his 11th career interception to start the second quarter of the 16-3 win over Purdue. Jenkins also blocked a Boilermaker punt in the first quarter that teammate Etienne Sabino returned 20 yards for the game’s only touchdown.
His 10th career interception, in the 20-17 win at Wisconsin, couldn’t have come at a more opportune time; Jenkins intercepted Badger QB Allan Evridge on the Wisconsin 34 with 53 second remaining in the game, the first play after OSU’s go-ahead touchdown. Jenkins also had an interception in the win over Ohio University.
The senior standout came up with nine tackles, and a sack that forced the MSU fumble recovered by Thaddeus Gibson for a score at Michigan State.
The All-American ranks sixth on the OSU defense this season with 54 total tackles, nine pass breakups and 3.5 tackles for loss. He was among 15 semifinalists for the Chuck Bednarik Award, presented to a top defender by the Maxwell Club of Philadelphia.
The Buckeyes rank an impressive sixth in the nation this season in turnover margin, averaging +1.25 per game. Ohio State has forced 14 interceptions and recovered 14 opponent fumbles this season.
Ohio State came up with five turnovers against Ohio, the biggest being a Shaun Lane recovery of a fumbled Ohio punt return attempt with less than a minute remaining in the third quarter, setting up the Buckeyes’ go-ahead score. Lawrence Wilson, Anderson Russell, Malcolm Jenkins and James Laurinaitis had interceptions for OSU against the Bobcats.
That marked the most turnovers forced by Ohio State since the 2006 Northwestern game, when OSU had two interceptions and three fumble recoveries.
The Buckeyes also took advantage of five turnovers in the win at Michigan State. Thaddeus Gibson (69 yards) and Jermale Hines (48 yards) each returned Spartan fumbles for fourth-quarter touchdowns; Donald Washington returned a first-quarter fumble 44 yards for the Buckeyes. Kurt Coleman and Brian Rolle had interceptions against MSU.
Kurt Coleman nabbed two interceptions (the first picks of his career) in the win over Troy; the last Buckeye to record two interceptions in a single game was James Laurinaitis at Washington in 2007.
A Donald Washington interception and fumble recoveries by Anderson Russell (who forced two fumbles) and Ricky Crawford gave OSU the turnover advantage against Minnesota. At Wisconsin, a Ross Homan fumble recovery and a Malcolm Jenkins fourth-quarter interception were both key plays in that come-from-behind victory.
In the Purdue win, Malcolm Jenkins had an interception and also blocked a punt that was returned by Etienne Sabino for the game’s only touchdown. Lawrence Wilson recovered a Boilermaker fumble that was forced by Thaddeus Gibson.
At Northwestern, fumble recoveries by Anderson Russell (forced by Malcolm Jenkins) and Doug Worthington (forced by Cameron Heyward) both led to Buckeye scores. James Laurinaitis had an interception against the Wildcats as well.
Marcus Freeman and Marcus Williams each recovered fumbles against Michigan. At Illinois, Kurt Coleman had an interception and Nader Abdallah recovered a fumble forced by Tyler Moeller. The Buckeyes had a fumble recovery against Youngstown State, and Chimdi Chekwa recorded an interception in the endzone against Southern Cal.
Ohio State wide receiver Brian Robiskie has earned ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-America honors for the second time.
Robiskie, a senior from Cleveland, Ohio, was a first team Academic All-American in 2007. Robiskie holds a 3.54 grade-point average in marketing and is a finalist for the National Football Foundation’s Draddy Trophy.
He is just the sixth Buckeye to repeat as an Academic All-American; others were: Dave Foley (1966-68); Brian Baschnagel (1974-75); John Frank (1982-83); Mike Lanese (1984-85) and Greg Bellisari (1995-96).
Earning first team all-district honors was linebacker Marcus Freeman, a graduate student in education from Huber Heights, Ohio, with a 3.35 grade-point average. Named to the all-district academic second team were receiver Brian Hartline and offensive linemen Bryant Browning, Andrew Moses and Andrew Miller. District 4 includes all colleges in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama.
Terrelle’s First Start…
Terrelle Pryor made his first career start at quarterback against Troy, marking the first time a true freshman started at quarterback for the Buckeyes since Art Schlichter in 1978. Pryor finished the game 10-for-16 passing for 139 yards and four touchdowns. He broke Schlichter’s freshman record of three touchdowns in a single game (vs. Purdue, Oct. 14, 1978).
His four TDs also tied Schlichter’s Buckeye freshman mark for passing touchdowns in a season.
It was the first four-touchdown game for a Buckeye quarterback since Todd Boeckman vs. Northwestern Sept. 22, 2007.
Pryor’s four TDs tie for the fourth-best single-game performance for a Buckeye, matching a mark set 13 times prior.
He also ran for 66 yards on 14 carries.
The Jeannette, Pa., product also rushed for 66 yards on 14 carries, and threw his first career touchdown pass, a 13-yarder to tight Rory Nicol on the game’s opening drive. He later threw his second on a 39-yard strike down the middle to receiver Brian Hartline. He completed a 38-yard TD pass to Brian Robiskie early in the fourth quarter and set the record for a Buckeye freshman QB with his 16-yard TD pass to Hartline later in the fourth. The 39-yard TD pass from Pryor to Hartline was the second-longest pass play of the season for Ohio State.
In the 34-21 win over Minnesota at Ohio Stadium, Terrelle Pryor made his second consecutive start at quarterback for the Buckeyes. He scored Ohio State’s first touchdown of the game on a 32-yard run at the 12:47 mark of the first quarter Ohio State’s quickest score to open a game this season. Pryor later added a 38-yard run in the second quarter, his longest of the season. His 38-yard run was the team’s second-longest rush of the year.
Pryor had two rushing touchdowns against Minnesota, becoming the first Buckeye quarterback to run for two scores since Troy Smith vs. Iowa Sept. 24, 2005. In addition to his 32-yard run in the first quarter, Pryor ran for a 1-yard score in the third quarter.
Pryor finished the game with 97 yards rushing (12.1 yards a carry), setting a Buckeye record for rushing yards for a true freshman QB. Art Schlichter set the previous mark vs. SMU in 1978 with 77. He also completed 8-of-13 passes for 70 yards and a touchdown.
…And More Terrelle
At Wisconsin, Pryor led the Buckeyes to a come-from-behind 20-17 win, the first home loss for the Badgers in a night game since 1995 and the first home loss for Wisconsin in 17 games.
Despite an interception and four sacks, Pryor kept his composure to maneuver Ohio State on a 12-play, 80-yard drive during the last six minutes of the contest, completing passes of 19, 27 and 13 yards. Pryor himself rushed for the game-winning touchdown from 11 yards out with 1:03 to play. Pryor was 13-19 passing for 144 yards and rushed for 20 more against Wisconsin.
In the Big Ten win over Purdue, Pryor was 10-14 passing for 97 yards and rushed for 27 more.
At Michigan State, Pryor was 7-11 passing for 116 yards and rushed for 72 yards and a touchdown. His 56-yard strike to Brian Hartline was the Buckeyes’ longest play on offense all season. He was 16-25 for 225 yards passing against Penn State. Pryor passed for three touchdowns and 197 yards (9-14) on a blustery day at Northwestern, rushing for 33 yards more.
At Illinois, he and Beanie Wells rushed for more than 100 yards each, the first time a Buckeye tandem has done that since Troy Smith and Antonio Pittman against Iowa in 2005. Pryor rushed for 110 yards and a one-yard score at Illinois; he also completed 6-10 passes for 49 yards and a 20-yard TD in the windy conditions in Champaign.
For the season, Pryor, who leads the Big Ten in pass efficiency (152.09), shows 1,245 yards passing with 12 touchdowns; the true freshman has rushed for 553 yards and six scores.
For the 2008 season, 13 different Buckeyes have recorded at least one reception, with five different receivers catching a touchdown pass.
Eleven different Buckeyes caught at least one pass in the 43-0 win over Youngstown State. The leader in yardage was Brian Hartline, who totaled 59 yards on just two receptions, the long being 47 yards. Hartline has at least one reception in the last 30 games and was the leading receiver at Wisconsin with three catches. He nabbed touchdowns from both Pryor and Boeckman in the win over Michigan.
The leader in number of catches in the opener was freshman DeVier Posey, with four receptions for 47 yards, including a 25-yard score. Brian Robiskie, Ray Small and Chris “Beanie” Wells had three catches each. Robiskie, who had a 31-yard touchdown reception from Todd Boeckman against YSU, has caught at least one pass in his last 36 games and has the most TD catches for the Buckeyes (8) this season.
Against Ohio University, six different Buckeyes were on the receiving end of Boeckman strikes; Ray Small had five receptions to lead the team.
Seven Buckeyes had receptions against Southern Cal, again led by Small with six catches.
In the win over Troy, four Buckeyes Hartline, Robiskie, Brandon Smith and Rory Nicol each had two receptions from Terrelle Pryor. Both of Hartline’s catches 39 and 16 yards were for touchdowns. Robiskie (38) and Nicol (13) also had touchdown catches against Troy.
Robiskie, who recorded his 100th career catch as a Buckeye against Minnesota, had eight catches for 90 yards against the Gophers, both stats OSU team highs for the season. Dane Sanzenbacher, with six catches for 82 yards, was the top receiver among seven Buckeyes who caught a pass against Penn State.
Robiskie was the leader with three catches for 58 yards and two scores at Northwestern, although Hartline hauled in catches of 46 and 44 yards against the Wildcats as well. Sanzenbacher, with two of the Buckeyes’ six receptions at blustery Illinois for 22 yards and a score, was the leader against the Illini.
Bucks Win 77 Percent of Ohio Stadium Games
The Buckeyes boast an all-time record of 385-106-20 (.774) in Ohio Stadium since that facility opened in 1922.
The 105,711 fans who watched the Penn State game marked the largest crowd in Ohio Stadium history, topping the mark of 105,708 set against Michigan in 2006.
Ohio State has hosted 48 consecutive crowds of 100,000 or larger at Ohio Stadium; three of this year’s crowds ranked among the top 10 all-time. Ohio State’s all-time record in Columbus is 528-153-35 in 715 games.
Before the 2007 season, the old grass field in place at Ohio Stadium since 1990 was removed for a new synthetic surface called FieldTurf. The old field was rolled up and donated to the Columbus Parks and Recreation Service.
Score By Quarters
This season in the first quarter, the Buckeyes have outscored the opposition 94-24. The Buckeyes lead in the second quarter, 87-57, and hold a 47-37 edge in the third quarter. Ohio State has outscored its 2008 opponents 110-39 in fourth-quarter play.
The Buckeyes are outscoring opponents by more than 15 points per game (28.2-13.1).
Ohio State W/L Records
All-Time Record: 808-306-53
Big Ten: 450-189-28
Ohio Stadium: 385-106-20
Bowl Games: 18-21
Coaching Staff Assignments
Here’s a breakdown of the Ohio State coaching staff assignments for the 2008 season.
On the field:
Darrell Hazell: Wide Receivers, Assistant Head Coach
Jim Heacock: Defensive Coordinator, Defensive Front
Taver Johnson: Cornerbacks
John Peterson: Tight Ends, Recruiting Coordinator
Dick Tressel: Running Backs
In the booth:
Jim Bollman: Offensive Coordinator, Offensive Line
Joe Daniels: Quarterbacks, Passing Game
Luke Fickell: Co-Defensive Coordinator, Linebackers
Paul Haynes: Safeties
When Ohio State’s bowl game kicks off, the Buckeyes will have a total of 40 players with at least one game of starting experience. Tops among those are: James Laurinaitis (38); Malcolm Jenkins (38); Marcus Freeman (36); Alex Boone (35); Steve Rehring (31) and Rory Nicol (30).
First-time starters (10) in 2008: C Mike Brewster, OT Bryant Browning, DE Thaddeus Gibson, TB Dan Herron, DB Jermale Hines, LB Ross Homan, LB Tyler Moeller, QB Terrelle Pryor, FB Brandon Smith, and TB Maurice Wells.
Average Per Down
Here’s a breakdown of how the 2008 Ohio State offense is operating on first, second, third and fourth down.
On first down, the Buckeyes have run a total of 312 plays, gaining 1,747 yards for an average of 5.6 yards per play. On second down, OSU has tried 247 plays for 1,356 yards, a 5.5 average. On third down, the Buckeyes have run 158 plays, gaining 892 yards for a 5.6 average. Ohio State has tried only nine fourth-down attempts, gaining 58 yards.
Ohio State’s touchdowns this season have come 16 times on first down (11 rushing and five passing TD), 12 times on second down (six passing and six rushing), seven times on third down (five passes and two rushes) and once on fourth down (a rush).
Sixteen freshmen have gotten their first college experience for the Buckeyes in 2008: 11 true freshmen and five redshirt freshmen.
Eleven freshmen (four redshirt/seven true freshmen) saw their first collegiate action in the opener against Youngstown State. True freshman quarterback Terrelle Pryor connected with another true freshman, Lamaar Thomas, on a 9-yard pass in the first quarter, the first college completion for both. Pryor finished with 35 yards passing and 52 yards rushing in his debut, scoring on an 18-yard fourth-quarter run.
Redshirt freshman Joe Bauserman passed for 22 yards in his initial effort; his first collegiate completion went to true freshman DeVier Posey for four yards. Posey was the leading Buckeye receiver with four catches against YSU. Posey scored a touchdown on his first college catch, a 25-yard strike from Todd Boeckman.
Dan “Boom” Herron, a redshirt freshman, rushed for 17 yards on five carries in his first game. Other freshmen who saw action against Youngstown State: Mike Adams, Mike Brewster, Nate Oliver, Etienne Sabino, J.B. Shugarts and Solomon Thomas.
Good For Three
Ryan Pretorius’ four-for-four showing on field goals against Youngstown State marked the eighth time a Buckeye had four field goals in a game, and the first time since Josh Huston converted five attempts vs. Texas in 2005.
Pretorius connected on field goals of 28, 31, 26 and 50 yards, the last just two yards shy of his career best (52 vs. Cincinnati, 2006). He is currently 33rd in the NCAA standings with an average of 1.27 made field goals per game.
Junior Aaron Pettrey made a career-long 54-yard field goal in the fourth quarter against Youngstown State, the fourth-longest field goal made by a Buckeye in Ohio Stadium history. Pettrey also connected on a 49-yard attempt in the Purdue win and hit a 40-yarder at Michigan State. He made field goals of 41 and 326 yards for the Buckeyes’ only scores against Penn State.
Pretorius was 27 and 38 yards and wide on a 53-yard attempt against Ohio University. He made a 29-yard field goal at Southern Cal but was wide on a 46-yard attempt. Pretorius was two-of-three on field goals against Minnesota and Purdue, and two-for-two at Wisconsin. Ohio State did not attempt a field goal against Troy, Illinois or Michigan.
Ohio State has held its opponent scoreless in 27 of 48 quarters of action (56.3%) during the 2008 campaign. The Buckeye defensive unit has given up only 16 touchdowns through 12 games (1.3 per contest).
Against Ranked Teams
Ohio State is 127-102-12 all-time when facing a ranked opponent, and 39-40-7 on the road against ranked teams. Under Coach Jim Tressel, the Buckeyes are 33-11 overall and 12-5 on the road against ranked teams.
In Non-Conference Games
Under Jim Tressel, the Buckeyes are 23-1 at Ohio Stadium versus non-conference teams, the only loss coming 25-22 to No. 2 Texas in 2005. The Buckeyes are 27-3 overall in regular season non-conference games since 2001.
In Night Games
Ohio State is 6-2 at home (26-12 away from home) in night games (games starting 5 p.m. or later local time) since 1959 and 32-14 in night games all-time. Earlier this season, Ohio State lost 35-3 at Southern Cal in a prime time game, posted a 20-17 night win at Wisconsin and lost at home to Penn State 13-6.
Last season, Ohio State played back-to-back night games for the first time in school history with Big Ten games under the lights at Minnesota and at Purdue, winning both contests. The Buckeyes also recorded a 37-17 night win at Penn State and lost to LSU in the BCS championship game. Under Coach Jim Tressel, the Buckeyes are 14-8 in night games and 7-3 in Big Ten night games away from Ohio Stadium. Tressel’s teams are 2-2 at home in night games.
A league-best 24 Ohio State football players were named to the Big Ten’s 2007 all-academic team, marking the sixth year in a row the Buckeyes led the conference. Additionally, 45 Ohio State football players qualified for the annual OSU Scholar-Athlete Dinner in May, which requires a grade-point average of 3.00 or better for the past academic year.
Ohio State has seven seniors on its roster who have already earned bachelor’s degrees.
Those are: Todd Boeckman, Marcus Freeman, Ryan Lukens,