Oct. 20, 2014

Sophomore RB Ezekiel Elliott leads the Buckeyes with 531 rushing yards and four TDs.
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First and 10

  • Ohio State enters the game having won 18 consecutive Big Ten regular season games. The B1G record is 20, set by the 2005-07 Ohio State teams.
  • Ohio State has scored at least 50 points in four consecutive games — a program record.
  • Ohio State enters the game with at least 500 yards of total offense in each of the last four games — tying a program record.
  • Ohio State is fourth in the NCAA in scoring at 46.5 ppg, outscoring its past four opponents 224-69.
  • Ohio State has scored a touchdown on its opening drive each of the last four games.
  • QB J.T. Barrett has thrown 17 TD passes — with only one INT — in the past four games.
  • Barrett leads the B1G and ranks 10th in NCAA in total offense (333.0). He also ranks first in the B1G and third in the NCAA in pass efficiency (182.1).
  • Barrett has been responsible for at least four TDs in each of the last four games, the longest active streak in the country, according to ESPN stats.
  • Sophomore DE Joey Bosa leads the B1G with 9.0 TFL and is second with 5.5 sacks. He also is tied for the Big Ten lead with three forced fumbles — all three of which have led to scores.
  • Head coach Urban Meyer has not lost a game in the month of October since the 2010 season.

This Week
No. 12/13 Ohio State travels to State College, Pa., for another prime time affair with the Penn State Nittany Lions (4-2, 1-2) Saturday evening at Beaver Stadium. This will be the 30th meeting between the two schools.

Scouting Penn State
Penn State enters Saturday’s game 4-2 overall and 1-2 in the Big Ten East division. They started the season 4-0 with wins over UCF (26-24 in Dublin, Ireland), Akron (21-3), at Rutgers (13-10) and UMass (48-7). They have since dropped two in a row to Northwestern (29-6) and at Michigan (18-13).

The Nittany Lions are led offensively by sophomore QB Christian Hackenberg, the 2013 B1G Freshman of the Year. Hackenberg leads the Big Ten in passing yards (272.8 ypg) and is third in total offense. His favorite target is freshman DaeSean Hamilton, who leads the Big Ten with 7.2 receptions per game and ranks second with 93.3 yards per game.

Defensively, Penn State boasts one of the top units in the Big Ten and nationally. They allow the fewest points in the Big Ten at 15.2 ppg and feature the best rush defense in the conference, holding the opposition to 60.8 yards per game on the ground. Overall, Penn State leads the conference in total defense, giving up just 283.3 yards per game.

James Franklin is in his first season in State College. Prior to his arrival, Franklin was the head coach at Vanderbilt where he amassed a 24-15 record in three seasons. He finished 9-4 in each of his final two seasons with bowl victories both years.

Ohio State vs. Penn State
Ohio State recognizes a two-game edge in wins over Penn State, 15 to 13, in a series that dates to 1912 and has had 21 Big Ten Conference showdowns. Penn State won the first four games in this series – in 1912-56-63-64 – but since then there has been only one winning streak as long as three games (Ohio State’s consecutive wins in 2002-03-04).

The Current Streak
The Buckeyes are working on a two-game win streak over Penn State: winning two years ago in State College, 35-23, behind 134 rushing yards and two touchdowns from Braxton Miller and a 17-yard interception return for a touchdown by Ryan Shazier; and winning last year, 63-14, behind a 408-yard-six-touchdown rushing effort and 252-yards passing and three touchdowns from Miller.

Just Second True Road Game
Ohio State will be playing a true road game for only the second time this season. The Buckeyes played Navy at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium and they played at Maryland Oct. 4. The Buckeyes join the Wisconsin Badgers and the Texas Longhorns as the only FBS teams through Week 8 to have played only one true road game.

Three of Next Four Away
The 8 p.m. contest (kick is actually 8:14 p.m.) this week with the Nittany Lions not only is the first of three consecutive 8 p.m. games for Ohio State, but it also is the start of three road games in the next four games. Ohio State hosts Illinois following the Penn State game and then goes on the road for contests against No. 5 Michigan State and No. 24 Minnesota.

Home and Away vs. PSU
The Buckeyes are 6-5 vs. Penn State in games played in State College and have won three consecutive and four of the last five there. Ohio State holds a 9-7 lead in victories in games played in Columbus, including a 9-6 record vs. Penn State in Ohio Stadium. Penn State won at the Fiesta Bowl in 1980, 31-19.

Last 5 in State College:
Oct. 27, 2012 – Ohio State 35, Penn State 23
Nov. 7, 2009 – Ohio State 24, Penn State 7
Oct. 27, 2007 – Ohio State 37, Penn State 17
Oct. 8, 2005 – Penn State 17, Ohio State 10
Nov. 1, 2003 – Ohio State 21, Penn State 10

39-21 Under The Lights
Ohio State is officially 39-21 in night games (those starting after 5 p.m. local time). The Buckeyes are 10-4 all-time in night games at Ohio Stadium and 29-17 in road or neutral field night games.

No. 5 at Night With Penn State
This week’s game with Penn State represents the fifth time the two teams will meet at night. Each team has won twice.

OSU vs. PSU at Night
2012 – OSU 35, PSU 23 (Beaver Stadium)
2008 – PSU 13, OSU 10 (Ohio Stadium)
2007 – OSU 37, PSU 17 (Beaver Stadium)
2005 – PSU 17, OSU 10 (Beaver Stadium)

Picks & Pick “Sixes”
In six of the last 12 games in this series – dating to the 2002 game – an Ohio State Buckeye has intercepted a pass vs. Penn State and returned it for a touchdown. The Buckeyes have won each of those games.

  • 2012 – Ryan Shazier sparked a 21-point third quarter with a 17-yard interception return for a score that broke a 7-all tie.
  • 2010 – Devon Torrence and Travis Howard had fourth quarter returns for scores to clinch an Ohio State comeback win that was later vacated.
  • 2007 – Malcolm Jenkins extended a 27-10 Ohio State lead with his fourth-quarter interception return as the Buckeyes prevailed, 37-17.
  • 2006 – Jenkins and Antonio Smith returned two interceptions a total of 116 yards for fourth quarter touchdowns in Ohio State’s 28-6 win.
  • 2004 – Tyler Everett had a first-quarter pick-six in the Buckeyes’ 21-10 victory.
  • 2002 – Trailing 7-3 in the second half, Chris Gamble’s touchdown return was the game-deciding play in Ohio State’s 13-7 win.

More FYI from the Record Pages
David Boston set the still-standing school record of 14 receptions in a game against Penn State in 1997 … Tom Cousineau set the school record of 29 total tackles and Art Schlichter threw a record five interceptions in the 1978 game against Penn State at Ohio Stadium.

First Coaching Match-up
The game will match an Urban Meyer-coached team vs. a James Franklin-coached team for the first time. Meyer is in his 13th season as a head coach while Franklin is in his first year as Penn State coach after three seasons – 2011-13 – as head coach at Vanderbilt where he went 24-15, including consecutive 9-4 seasons in 2012 and 2013 with bowl victories each year.

Meyer 79-15 in First Meetings
In first coaching opportunities versus the head coach on the opposite sidelines, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer’s teams are 79-15 in such games. Penn State’s James Franklin will be the 95th different head coach Meyer has game-planned against.

A Return to State College
Ohio State assistant head coach/defensive line coach Larry Johnson spent 18 years as an assistant coach at Penn State, from 1996-2013, before joining the Ohio State staff in January 2014. Johnson, who coached in the high school ranks in Maryland and Virginia for 20 years before his Penn State tenure, produced six defensive linemen who were selected in the first round of the NFL Draft and five Big Ten Conference defensive linemen of the year while a Nittany Lion assistant. Both of Johnson’s (and his wife, Christine’s) sons and their daughter were student-athletes at Penn State.

Michigan. Off. Ohio State.
Penn State represents the second of three consecutive Ohio State opponents – Rutgers was the first – that will have played Michigan, had a bye or “off” week and then played the Buckeyes. Michigan State plays Michigan this week and is off the following week when Ohio State hosts Illinois.

Buckeyes Win Fourth Consecutive
Ohio State scored touchdowns on its first three possessions and rode another fine combo performance from its offense and defense to rout Rutgers, 56-17, Saturday in front of 106,795 fans at Ohio Stadium. J.T. Barrett accounted for 368 yards of total offense and five touchdowns to spark the Ohio State offense and the Ohio State defense held Rutgers 81 yards below its offensive average coming into the game and to a 3-for-13 game on third down conversions. The win was the fourth consecutive for the Buckeyes, who improve to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the Big Ten East Division.

Barrett Honored by B1G Again
J.T. Barrett, named the Big Ten Conference offensive player of the week and its freshman of the week after his performance vs. Rutgers, has now been honored by a regional or national organization after five of his six starts this season. He has been the Big Ten’s freshman of the week four times and its offensive player of the week twice.

  • Navy – Big Ten Freshman of the Week
    Kent State – Big Ten Offensive Player & Freshman of the Week
    Cincinnati – Big Ten Freshman of the Week
    Maryland – Athlon’s National Freshman of the Week & Earl Campbell Tyler Rose National Player of the Week
    Rutgers – Big Ten Offensive Player & Freshman of the Week

More on J.T. Barrett
J.T. Barrett opened the Rutgers game with nine consecutive completions and, coupled with three completions on his final three attempts in his last game vs. Maryland, tied the school record with 12 straight completions over two games. His 368 total yards marked his fourth consecutive game of 300 or more yards and his five touchdowns accounted for gives him four consecutive games with at least four TDs accounted for, best in the FBS according to ESPN stats. He has accounted for 20 TDs in the last four games. The game also marked his first 100-yard rushing game as he amassed 107 on just 7 carries, for a fine 15.3 yards per carry average.

National Rankings
J.T. Barrett remains third nationally – and first in the Big Ten – in passing efficiency (182.1). He is also third nationally in points responsible for – 144 – and he is 10th nationally and first in the Big Ten in total offense at 333.0 yards per game.

Bosa: Boss of the Big Guys
Joey Bosa continued his fine play this season with five tackles vs. the Scarlet Knights, including two quarterback sacks. The sophomore now has 5.5 sacks on the season and 9.0 tackles for loss, totaling 57 yards. He ranks first in the Big Ten and 11th nationally in TFLs and second in the Big Ten and 16th nationally in quarterback sacks.

23 Points off Bosa Turnovers
Three forced fumbles by Joey Bosa have led to 23 Ohio State points so far this season.

  • 7 points – His forced fumble on Navy QB Keenan Reynolds was scooped up by

Darron Lee and returned 61 yards for a third-quarter touchdown.
7 points – His sack and forced fumble of Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Brewer was recovered by Rashad Frazier at the VT 15. Two plays later Ezekiel Elliott scored to tie the game at 21-all.
9 points – In the win over Cincinnati, Bosa delivered a devastating strip-sack to UC QB Gunner Kiel. The ball was batted out of the end zone for a safety and Ohio State scored on its possession after the free kick.

A Bosa Dozen
Joey Bosa has been in on a tackle-for-loss in 12 consecutive games dating back to last season. He finished the 2013 season with 9.5 TFLs over his last six games (for minus-55 yards) and so far this season he has recorded a TFL (or at very least a half-TFL) in all six games for a 12-game run of 18.5 TFLs for a negative 102 yards.

More Good Stuff From Saturday:

  • Rutgers finished the game with 345 yards of total offense after coming into the game averaging 426.7 yards per game.
  • With the touchdown on the opening drive Saturday, Ohio State has scored a touchdown on its opening drive each of the last four games.
  • Nick Vannett’s two-touchdown game marked the first multi-touchdown game of his career.
  • Vannett became the first Buckeye tight end with two touchdown catches in a game since Jake Stoneburner against California in 2012.
  • Devin Smith’s 42-yard catch in the third quarter marked the 100th reception of his career. He became the 16th Buckeye to tally 100 or more career receptions.
  • Doran Grant had the sixth interception of his Buckeye career, and his second this season, in the second quarter vs. Rutgers.
  • Ohio State was 5-for-6 in the red zone vs. Rutgers and is 28-of-34 (.824) this season.

Ohio State: Now 18-9 After Open Week
Ohio State is 18-9 in games played after a mid-season open week. The Buckeyes have won seven consecutive games after an open week, including five consecutive wins for Urban Meyer’s teams. Ohio State is 14-2 in Ohio Stadium after an open week, including 12 consecutive victories.

Meyer’s Teams: 38-3 After “Off” Week
Coach Urban Meyer’s teams are 38-3 when having more than one week to prepare for an opponent (includes season-openers, games after an “off” or open week, and bowl games). The only losses: Bowling Green vs. Miami in 2001; Florida vs. Michigan in 2007; and Ohio State vs. Clemson last year.

“On” after being “Off”

Bowling Green (2001-02) 5-1
Utah (2003-04) 7-0
Florida (2005-10) 19-1
Ohio State (2012-14) 7-1

18 Consecutive Big Ten Wins
Ohio State, with a current streak of 18 consecutive Big Ten Conference wins, now has five of the top six longest winning streaks for conference games only (regular season games only). Ohio State’s current streak dates to the start of the 2012 conference season. The Big Ten record for conference wins is 20, set by the 2005-07 Ohio State teams.

Conference Games Win Streaks

20 Ohio State, 2005-07
19 Michigan, 1990-92
18 Ohio State, 2012-current
17 Ohio State, 1974-76
Ohio State, 1967-69
Ohio State, 1954-56

Three 20-Game Win Streaks for Meyer
Last season Urban Meyer became the first head coach at the highest level of the collegiate coaching ranks (major college, Division I, FBS, etc.) to have three winning streaks of at least 20 games. A total of 41 head coaches at this level have lead a team to a winning streak of at least 20 games. Nine of those coaches have had two winning streaks of at least 20 wins. Meyer is the first to add a third such winning streak to his name.

And Only One Three-Game Losing Streak
The win over Navy snapped a two-game losing streak for coach Urban Meyer’s team. Meyer has had just one losing streak reach three games in his 155-game head coaching career: in 2010 at Florida. He has had only four multi-game losing streaks in all, with all of them two-game streaks except for the 2010 trio while at Florida. The others: in 2002 at Bowling Green; 2007 at Florida; and 2013 at OSU.

50-Point Game Records
Ohio State has set a school record with four consecutive 50-point games. This stretch is also a personal best for an Urban Meyer-coached team. Three times previously he had a team score 50-or-more points in three consecutive games but this is the first time his team has done so in four consecutive times.

Total Offense Ties School Mark
Ohio State has tied the school record with four consecutive games of 500-or-more yards of total offense (628 vs. Kent State; 710 vs. Cincinnati; 533 vs. Maryland; and 585 vs. Rutgers). The 1998 Ohio State team was the first to accomplish this 500 feat.

A Quick Look at the Offense
Ohio State’s offense is averaging 533.8 yards per game to rank ninth nationally and first in the Big Ten Conference. The school record, set last year, is 511.9 yards per game. The offense is also second nationally – to Oregon – in passing efficiency, fourth in scoring at 46.5 points per game and 16th in rushing at 259.8 yards per game.

First Half Scoring = Fast Starts
Ohio State has outscored its last four opponents, 141-38, in the first half. The Buckeyes have scored touchdowns on 11 of 14 first quarter drives during their four-game winning streak. Saturday against Rutgers, Ohio State scored touchdowns on eight of its first nine possessions.

Where the Defense Stands
Ohio State is 15th nationally in total defense with 319.5 yards allowed per game. The Buckeyes are 16th in passing yards (181.7), 29th in pass efficiency and 24th in scoring defense (20.2). Ohio State is only 41st to date against the run (137.8), but in the last five games the Buckeyes have given up just 457 yards rushing or 91 yards per game.

Total Defense – National Rankings
No. 6 – Penn State / 283.3 ypg
No. 7 – Wisconsin / 286.0 ypg
No. 9 – Michigan State / 292.7 ypg
No. 10 – Michigan / 301.0 ypg
No. 15 – Ohio State / 319.5 ypg

Three Defensive Touchdowns
Ohio State has three defensive touchdowns this season and all are by freshmen. Darron Lee has a 61-yard fumble return vs. Navy; Raekwon McMillan has a 19-yard interception return vs. Maryland; and Eli Apple has a four-yard fumble return vs. Rutgers.

First 4-INT Game in Four Years
Ohio State’s four interceptions against Maryland represented its first four-or-more interception game in four years (four vs. Miami, Fla., in 2010).

Eight with Interceptions
Eight different players have recorded interceptions for the Buckeyes – the second-highest total in the nation – including five by four freshmen (Eli Apple has two and Erick Smith, Darron Lee and Raekwon McMillan have one apiece).

No. of Players with an INT

1. Houston 9
2. Ohio State 8
Virginia 8
Georgia Tech 8
5. Georgia Southern 7
Minnesota 7
Mississippi 7
Utah State 7

Leading The Way: J.T. Barrett
Ohio State’s red-shirt freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett is now third nationally in passing efficiency with a rating of 182.1. He trails only Oregon’s Marcus Mariota (193.7) and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson (187.0). In addition, Barrett leads the Big Ten and is 10th nationally in total offense at 333.0 yards per game and he is second in the Big Ten in passing yards at 269.2 yards per game.

Really Fine Four-Game Stretch
J.T. Barrett has completed at least 70 percent of his passes in four of six games this season. In Ohio State’s current four-game winning streak, Barrett has completed 86 of 120 passes (71.6 pct.) for 1,170 yards with 17 touchdowns and one interception. He also has three rushing touchdowns for 20 touchdowns accounted for in the last four games.

More Good Stuff on J.T.
Wichita Falls, Texas’ Joe Thomas Barrett IV has a high game of 330 passing yards (vs. Cincinnati), 409 total yards (also vs. UC) and six touchdowns (vs. Kent State) this season. His total offense total is the second-highest in school history next to Art Schlichter’s 412-yard game vs. Florida State in 1981. With 312 yards passing vs. Kent State and 330 vs. Cincinnati, Barrett is the first Buckeye to throw for 300-or-more yards in consecutive games since Troy Smith did so vs. Michigan and Notre Dame at the end of the 2005 season.

Back-to-Back for Ezekiel
Sophomore running back Ezekiel Elliott had a career-high 182 rushing yards vs. Cincinnati (off a career-high 28 carries) and he came back with 139 yards and 24 more carries vs. Maryland. Elliott, who has scored four rushing touchdowns, is averaging 88.5 yards per game and 5.8 yards per carry.

Heuerman on Mackey Midseason List
Senior tight end Jeff Heuerman, who has four receptions for 66 yards the last two games, is one of 33 tight ends nationally to be on the John Mackey Award’s midseason watch list.

Johnston Knows I20 and I10
Punter Cameron Johnston is averaging 44.2 yards per punt for his career. The sophomore from Geelong, Australia, has not only punted long, but he has punted with precision as 62.9 percent of his 62 career punts have been downed inside the opponents 20 (39 of 62) with 30.6 percent of his punts (19 of 62) downed inside the opponents’ 10. He’s had 26 punts fair caught and only three have been touchbacks. So far in 2014, Johnston is averaging 44.2 yards per punt with eight I20 and five I10. He has five punts over 50 yards this season with a long of 69.

Fourth 300 & 300 Game
Ohio State had 380 rushing yards and 330 passing yards vs. Cincinnati. This marked the fourth time in school history the team has topped 300 yards in both categories in the same game.

300 Rushing & 300 Passing
2014 – 380 and 330 vs. Cincinnati
2010 – 342 and 303 vs. Eastern Michigan
1996 – 317 and 315 vs. Rice
1986 – 394 and 321 vs. Utah

Offensive Options
With Nick Vannett getting into the touchdown scoring column vs. Maryland, Ohio State now has 11 different players on offense who have scored a touchdown. Last year, 14 Buckeyes finished the season with a touchdown scored and in 2012 11 Buckeyes scored touchdowns.

Record Crowd Makes Ohio State No. 1
A record crowd of 108,362 fans were in Ohio Stadium for the Ohio State/Cincinnati game. The crowd positioned Ohio State to No. 1 in average home attendance through the first eight weeks of the season.

2014 Home attendance – Average
1. 106,770 – Ohio State (Ohio Stadium)
2. 106,409 – Texas A&M (Kyle Field)
3. 105,907 – Michigan (Michigan Stadium)
4. 101,484 – LSU (Tiger Stadium)
5. 101,442 – Alabama (Bryant-Denny Stadium)
Top 5 Ohio Stadium crowds
1. 108,362 vs. Cincinnati; Sept. 27, 2014
2. 107,517 vs. Virginia Tech; Sept. 6, 2014
3. 106,795 vs. Rutgers; Oct. 18, 2014
4. 106,102 vs. Nebraska; Oct. 6, 2012
5. 106,033 vs. USC; Sept. 12, 2009

Barrett Hits 11 Different Receivers In Kent State Win
Redshirt freshman QB J.T. Barrett was spreading the ball all over the field in the 66-0 win over the Golden Flashes Sept. 13, hitting 11 different receivers and tying a school record with six TD passes in the win. It marked the first time in 25 years an Ohio State QB hit 11 different receivers in a game.

Barrett On Pace For 3,000 Yards
J.T. Barrett has 1,615 passing yards through the first six games for an average of 269.2 yards per game through the air. At his current pace, Barrett would top 3,200 yards passing by the end of the regular season, which would be the most by an Ohio State QB since Joe Germaine threw for a school-record 3,330 yards in 1998 in 12 games. Germaine and Bobby Hoying (3,269 yards in 1995) are the only two Ohio State QBs to throw for 3,000 yards in a season.

A Top 5 Big Ten Win Streak
Ohio State’s 24 consecutive wins in 2012 and 2013 rank among the Top 5 longest winning streaks in Big Ten Conference history. It was the longest winning streak in the Big Ten in 64 years, or since Michigan won 25 consecutive games between 1946-49.

Longest Big Ten Winning Streaks
29 – Michigan, 1901-03
26 – Michigan, 1903-05
25 – Michigan, 1946-49
24 – Ohio State, 2012-13
24 – Minnesota, 1903-05
22 – Ohio State, 1967-69
21 – Minnesota, 1933-36
20 – Iowa, 1920-23

Devin Smith: 23 Career TDs
Devin Smith has caught 23 career touchdown passes at an average distance of 40.1 yards per score. Smith, who has 100 career receptions for 1,927 yards, is fifth all-time at Ohio State with his 23 TD receptions. He recently passed Joey Galloway and Dane Sanzenbacher, who each have 19. Furthermore, his 19.0 yards per catch average currently ranks fourth all-time on Ohio State’s career list. The Ohio State record is 21.3 yards per catch by Cedric Anderson, who played for the Buckeyes from 1980-83.

Devin Smith TD Receptions
2011 – 14 from B. Miller vs. Akron
2011 – 32 from B. Miller vs. Colorado
2011 – 17 from B. Miller vs. Colorado
2011 – 40 from B. Miller vs. Wisconsin
2012 – 23 from B. Miller vs. Miami
2012 – 25 from B. Miller vs. Cal
2012 – 72 from B. Miller vs. Cal
2012 – 63 from B. Miller vs. Michigan State
2012 – 60 from B. Miller vs. Indiana
2012 – 46 from B. Miller vs. Indiana
2013 – 47 from B. Miller vs. Buffalo
2013 – 90 from K. Guiton vs. Cal
2013 – 47 from K. Guiton vs. Cal
2013 – 5 from K. Guiton vs. FAMU
2013 – 26 from B. Miller vs. Wisconsin
2013 – 14 from B. Miller vs. Iowa
2013 – 39 from B. Miller vs. Indiana
2013 – 53 from B. Miller vs. Michigan
2014 – 80 from J.T. Barrett vs. Navy
2014 – 50 from J.T. Barrett vs. Kent State
2014 – 19 from J.T. Barrett vs. Cincinnati
2014 – 34 from J.T. Barrett vs. Cincinnati
2014 – 30 from J.T. Barrett vs. Maryland

Ohio State Career Touchdown Receptions

1. 34 David Boston 1996-98
2. 27 Cris Carer 1984-86
3. 25 Santonio Holmes 2003-05
4. 24 Brian Robiskie 2005-08
5. 23 Devin Smith 2011-14

Buckeyes In The Polls
Ohio State is ranked No. 13 in the Associated Press and No. 12 in the Coaches Top 25 polls.

Since the start of the 2002 season, Ohio State has been ranked in the AP Top 10 more times than any other school (150). Oklahoma (128) and LSU (126) are second and third, respectively.

The Buckeyes, who have been ranked by the AP Top 25 more times (830) than any other school, appeared in the AP preseason poll for the 26th consecutive season this year, the longest streak in the nation. It also marked the 47th consecutive season Ohio State has appeared in the AP poll, tying Alabama for the longest active streak.

A Lot Of Yards To Replace
With the preseason injury to senior QB Braxton Miller, Ohio State entered the 2014 season without more than 3,100 yards of total offense from its 2013 squad, on top of losing top playmakers Carlos Hyde (1,521 yards rushing) and Corey “Philly” Brown (771 yards receiving). But as the Buckeyes have shown this season, they will replace those yards by committee with several talented players to spread the ball around to.

The Buckeyes returned just 11 percent of its total offense from a year ago heading into this season, the leading men being sophomore RB Ezekiel Elliott (262 yards rushing) and sophomore H-B Dontre Wilson (250 yards rushing; 210 yards receiving). The Buckeyes did, however, return two senior wide receivers in Devin Smith and Evan Spencer and senior tight end Jeff Heuerman.

Four New Starters Along O-Line
The Buckeyes have unveiled a new-look offensive line this season with four new starters in RG Billy Price, C Jacoby Boren, LG Pat Elflein and RT Darryl Baldwin. LT Taylor Decker is the only veteran with 20 career starts; 14 at right tackle last year.

Ohio State’s offensive linemen have just 46 career starts combined — the fewest in the Big Ten and the second-fewest in the nation behind Tennessee.

New On The Sidelines
Coach Urban Meyer’s staff features two new assistant coaches: Chris Ash is the team’s co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach and Larry Johnson is assistant head coach and defensive line coach. Ash spent the past year at Arkansas and the previous three years at Wisconsin. Johnson has coached collegiately for the past 18 years at Penn State.

Five Seniors Names Captains For 2014
Five seniors were chosen by vote of their teammates, included injured and out-for-the-year quarterback Braxton Miller, cornerback Doran Grant, linebacker Curtis Grant, defensive tackle Michael Bennett and tight end Jeff Heuerman.

The Early Arrivals
Seven prospects from the 2014 recruiting class (of 23) enrolled in January. Those seven were:

The Early Trend
The seven early arriving Buckeyes continue a trend of high school seniors electing to graduate early/complete requirements to graduate and enroll at Ohio State for a winter or spring academic session. Ohio State has a total of 21 players who have left high school early. Those players, in addition to the class of 2014 enrollees, include:

  • 2013: CB

Eli Apple, QB J.T. Barrett, CB Cam Burrows and DL Tyquan Lewis;
2012: OL Jacoby Boren, OL Taylor Decker, RB Bri’onte Dunn, QB Cardale Jones, LB Joshua Perry, DB Tyvis Powell and WR Michael Thomas; and
2011: OL Joel Hale, TE Jeff Heuerman, QB Braxton Miller.

22-0 Since 2005 With Punt Block
Urban Meyer’s teams are 22-0 since the 2005 season when blocking a punt. Last season Ohio State blocked three punts: Bradley Roby (2) vs. Indiana and at Northwestern and Doran Grant vs. FAMU. This season, Ohio State has one (Jeff Greene vs. KSU).

60 Blockes Kicks
Urban Meyer-coached teams, from 2001 to the present, have blocked 61 kicks. Meyer’s Buckeyes have blocked 10 kicks over the past two-plus seasons. (Source for the first 51 blocks: University of Florida stats)

Buckeyes Building Blocks:
1. Adolphus Washington (PAT vs. UCF)
2. Orhian Johnson (PAT vs. UAB)
3. Bradley Roby (Punt vs. Michigan State)
4. Travis Howard (Punt vs. Indiana)
5. Garrett Goebel (PAT vs. Purdue)
6. Johnathan Hankins (FG vs. Purdue)

7. Doran Grant (Punt vs. FAMU)
8. Bradley Roby (Punt vs. Northwestern)
9. Bradley Roby (Punt vs. Indiana)

10. Jeff Greene (Punt vs. KSU)

The Big Ten Conference
Maryland and Rutgers are now members of the Big Ten Conference and a new East/West divisional format replaces the Legends and Leaders divisions. New division alignments will feature Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers in the East Division and Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin in the West Division. Each school will play the other six schools in its division plus two teams from the other division in 2014 and 2015 before moving to nine-game conference slates in 2016.

Bennett A Senior Class Candidate
Senior co-captain Michael Bennett has been named one of 30 candidates for the 2014 Senior CLASS Award in college football. 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 – community, classroom, character and competition.

Bennett, a Centerville, Ohio, native, is a force as an interior defensive lineman, a team-leader off the field and is the son of parents who each graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Off the field, Bennett goes above and beyond in the community, participating in a variety of community service projects. In the past year, Bennett and his teammates have volunteered their time at the Mid-Ohio Food Bank and paid a visit to campers at King Arts Complex in Columbus, reading, playing and interacting with local kids. Bennett also has attended the Columbus Special Olympics, taking part in the opening ceremonies and cheering kids on during competition and has been involved with the 2nd and 7 Foundation, which promotes reading by providing free books and positive role models to kids in need. Last summer, Bennett and his teammates helped rebuild the playgrounds at Graham Expeditionary Middle School in Columbus and also visited sick kids at Columbus Children’s Hospital.

A Bigger, Better, Brighter Ohio Stadium
Capacity at Ohio Stadium has risen to 104,944 from 102,329, meaning attendance figures can expect to reach 107,000-plus this season after a record crowd of 108,362 vs. Cincinnati. An $8.9 million project at Ohio Stadium added 2,615 seats near the south stands’ stadium tunnels. The project included a new players’ tunnel and it also added rows of permanent MUSCO sports lighting atop the stadium’s east wall and above the press box. Upon completion, the south stands will hold just over 19,300 students (an additional 9,000 students will continue to have seats in the north end of the stadium).

92nd Year In Ohio Stadium
Ohio Stadium, grand and venerable and registered on the National Register of Historic Places, is hosting its 92nd football season in 2014. Ohio Stadium is endearingly nicknamed the “Horseshoe” or the “Shoe” because of its open south end. It is also referred to as the “House that Harley Built” after Chic Harley, Ohio State’s first three-time All-American who fans flocked to see at Ohio Field in 1916-17-19. Just one year after Harley’s career at Ohio State was over, things were in motion for a new stadium for the Buckeyes.

90 Consecutive Crowds Of 100,000-Plus
Ohio State has had 90 consecutive crowds in excess of 100,000. The last time Ohio State did not have at least 100,000 at a home game in Ohio Stadium: the 2002 season vs. Kent when 98,689 were on hand for the second game of what would become a national championship-winning season.