Oct. 4, 2004

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Windows A/V Press Luncheon
Transcript of Press Luncheon
Player Quotes
Depth Chart
Top 25 Polls

Ohio State returns home this week to host uandefeated Wisconsin. It will be the first home game for the Buckeyes since Sept. 11. Following that game (a 24-21 win over Marshall), Coach Jim Tressel’s squad sandwiched road games at North Carolina State and Northwestern around a bye week.

“It will be nice to get home and play in front of our fans and in a familiar setting,” Tressel said. “I know our players are looking forward to getting back in Ohio Stadium and facing the challenge of playing well against a very good Wisconsin team.”

The Buckeyes, upset 33-27 in overtime at Northwestern last week, are 3-1 on the year and 0-1 in the Big Ten. Wisconsin is 5-0 and tied with Michigan and Minnesota at the top of the early-season league standings with a 2-0 mark. The Badgers are coming off a 24-7 win over visiting Illinois this past weekend.

As a result of the Northwestern game, Ohio State has dropped from sixth to 15th in this week’s ESPN/USA TODAY poll and from seventh to 18th in the Associated Press balloting. Wisconsin is 15th in the AP voting and 16th in the coaches’ poll.

Ohio State is 2-0 at home this year and has won 18 straight in Ohio Stadium, dating back to the final home game of the 2001 season.

This will be Wisconsin’s second road trip of the year. The Badger, who have allowed a total of 26 points to date, were 9-7 victors at Arizona on Sept. 18.

Saturday’s showdown will be televised by ABC-TV. Brent Musburger and Gary Danielson will be in the booth and Jack Arute on the sidelines. Kickoff is set for 3:35 p.m. in the Horseshoe with a crowd of more than 104,000 expected to witness the game.

As always, WBNS Radio will carry the game on the statewide Ohio State radio network with network programming beginning an hour before kickoff. Paul Keels, Jim Lachey and Jim Karsatos will describe the action.

The Buckeyes enter this week’s game with an all-time Big Ten record of 414-158-24. Over the years, the Buckeyes have either won outright or shared in 29 conference championships. Under Tressel, Ohio State is 19-6 in Big Ten play.

Wisconsin will be the first Top 25 team that Ohio State has faced this year. The Buckeyes are 14-4 against Top 25 teams under Tressel since the beginning of the 2001 season. The Badgers come to town as the Big Ten’s stingiest defensive team, leading the league in total defense (193.2 yards per game), pass defense (126.6 yards per game) and scoring defense 5.2 yards per game. They are second in rushing defense (66.6 yards per game) and have not given up a rushing touchdown in their five games. Ohio State’s offense is averaging 25 points and 327 yards a game, while the Buckeye defense is giving up 18.5 points and 307 yards per game. The Badgers offense is averaging 20.2 points and 315 yards per game. The Badgers are averaging 181.8 yards per game rushing, a figure that went up this past week when tailback Anthony Davis returned to action for the first time in four games and netted 213 yards on 27 carries. The Buckeyes counter with the Big Ten’s leading tackler in high-flying linebacker A.J. Hawk who is averaging 11 tackles a game. oHIO STATE IN THE POLLS: Ohio State opened the season ranked ninth in both the ESPN/USA TODAY and the Associated Press preseason polls. After jumping out to a 3-0 mark, the Buckeyes moved to sixth in the former and seventh in the latter before falling to 15th and 18th, respectively, in this week’s voting.

With nine more points on Saturday at Northwestern, Ohio State place-kicker Mike Nugent has 294 career points, a total that ties him with Rich Spangler (1982-85) for fifth place on the all-time OSU scoring list. Nugent needs two points to move into fourth place ahead of Vlade Janakievski (295 points, 1977-80) and seven to surpass Keith Byars (300, 1982-85) into third. The school record of 348 points belongs to fullback Pete Johsnon (1973-76). Kicker Dan Stultz (1996-2000) had 342.

Twice the Big Ten Special Teams player of the year in 2004, Nugent has 58 career field goals, one shy of Stultz’ career mark of 59.

On the year, Nugent, a first-team All-American in 2002, is 10-of-12 in the field goal department and 10-for-10 in PATs. He has scored 40 of the Buckeyes’ 100 points. Nugent’s lone two FG misses came for 53 yards out in the season opener against Cincinnati and from 40 yards away in the overtime loss at Northwestern. Both had the distance but were just wide to the right.

“I feel like I let my teammates down at Northwestern,” the senior co-captain said after the game. “I am supposed to make those.”

Nugent, who has amassed 16 school records, holds the school percentage mark, having hit 58 of 73 for a .795 figure. He is 51 of 59 the past three seasons.

The Ohio State linebacker corps of A.J. Hawk, Mike D’Andrea, Bobby Carpenter and Anthony Schlegel was touted as one of the best in the country coming into the 2004 season. That group has lived up to its advanced billing after three games, combining for 107 tackles, 7.5 tackles-for-loss, two sacks, five passes broken up and two interception. In Saturday’s game at Northwestern, Hawk had a career-high 14 tackles, while Carpenter chipped in with 10 and an interception. All four players are juniors.

The Buckeyes head into week two of the Big Ten season with a 3-1 record for all games and an 0-1 mark in Big Ten play. In last week’s loss at Northwestern, the Buckeyes twice trailed by 10 points, rallying both times to tie the score before falling in overtime. The loss was Ohio State’s first in OT after four wins in extra-session games.

After being held to just 95 yards of total offense in the first half at Northwestern, the Buckeyes got untracked in the second half and totaled 213 yards after intermission, including a 77-yard scoring drive on their only possession of the third quarter and a 69-yard drive that tied the score at 27 with 1:54 to play.

Sophomore quarterback Justin Zwick completed three-of-four passes on the latter march, including a 21-yard TD strike to Santonio Holmes. Zwick started the five-play drive off with an 18-yard run.

Holmes finished the game with 10 receptions for 99 yards. The Buckeyes totaled 211 yards through the air and netted 97 on the ground. In addition to his touchdown catch, the speedy Holmes also scored on a 63-yard punt return.

Linebacker A.J. Hawk led the Buckeyes with a career-high 14 tackles and strong safety Donte Whitner added a career-best 12. Linebacker Bobby Carpenter chipped in with 10 stops and picked off his first career interception. Safety Nate Salley also had his first career interception.

The Buckeyes are averaging 25 points and 327.5 yards a game, while giving up 18.5 points and 307 yards. Ohio State is throwing for 212.5 yards per contest and rushing for 115. Their first four opponents have averaged 137.2 yards rushing and 169.8 yards through the air.

Individually, senior tailback Lydell Ross leads the team in rushing with 313 yards and three touchdowns on 77 carries. That’s an average of 4.1 yards per carry and 78.2 yards per game.

Zwick, meanwhile, has completed 60 of his 115 passes for 821 yards and five touchdowns. He has been intercepted five times.

The elusive Holmes has been Zwick’s favorite target, hauling in 26 passes for 430 yards and four scores. Flanker Bam Childress has 13 catches for 167 yards.

Hawk is Ohio State’s – and the Big Ten’s – leading tackler with 44 stops, an average of 11 per game. Carpenter is a close second with 35 stops. Mike D’Andrea, the Buckeyes’ starting MIKE linebacker, has a team-high 3.5 tackles-for-loss, while defensive tackle Marcus Green has two of the team’s six sacks.

Now in his fourth year at the helm of the Buckeyes, Jim Tressel has compiled an impressive 35-8 record during his stay in Columbus. Included in that figure is a 19-6 mark in Big Ten play and a 16-2 record in non-conference action. His teams have been especially successful at home, winning 22 of 24 starts, including the last 18-consecutive outings.

After a 7-5 record in 2001, Tressel led the Buckeyes to a perfect 14-0 record, a share of the Big Ten title and a consensus national championship in 2002. He was the Football Writers choice as national coach of the year in 2002. In 2003, the Buckeyes posted an 11-2 record and played in a BCS game for the second-consecutive year.

Now in his 19th season as a head coach, the 51-year-old Tressel has compiled a lifetime record of 170-65-2. During his stay with the Buckeyes, he has posted a 14-4 record against teams in the Top 25 and a 5-1 slate against teams in the Top 10. Masterful in close games, he is 16-6 in games decided by a touchdown or less, including a 13-2 mark in the last 16 games. Each of his last two teams have finished the season ranked in the Top 5 (1st in 2002 and 4th last year).

Prior to coming to Ohio State, Tressel spent 15 years as the head coach at Division I-AA Youngstown State, where he won four national championships and appeared in the playoffs 10 times.

This will be the 72nd meeting between the Buckeyes and Badgers in a series that dates back to 1913. Ohio State has a 50-16-5 lead in the rivalry, including a 27-6-3 bulge in Columbus. Between 1948 and 1980, the Buckeyes won 30 of 33 games with two ties and just one loss in that span. In 1960, the Buckeyes’ 34-7 win started a 21-game winning streak that was halted in 1981 when the Badgers recorded a 24-21 victory in Madison. The series has been much closer recently with the Buckeyes holding a slim 5-4-1 edge in the last 10 games. Additionally, Wisconsin has won the last two games that were played in Columbus, recording a 42-17 win in 1999 and a 20-17 decision in 200. The last two games in the series have been played in Madison – Ohio State winning 19-14 in 2002 and the Badgers prevailing 17-10 last year.

The host Badgers upended the third-ranked Buckeyes, 17-10, on a rainy-windy night in Madison. The Badgers led most of the way, Ohio State rallying to tie the score at 10-10 on a 6-yard pass from Craig Krenzel to Mike Jenkins with 6:09 to play. The Badgers responded immediately, however, scoring on a 79-yard pass from Matt Schabert to Lee Evans. It was Evans’ lone reception of the night. The loss ended the Buckeyes’ 19-game winning streak, the second longest in school history. Booker Stanley rushed for 125 yards and a touchdown for the Badgers. Krenzel, making his first start in three games because of an elbow injury, completed 14-of-26 passes for 202 yards.

The Buckeyes rolled up 565 yards in total offense against the Badgers in 1969, recording a 62-7 win. Led by Archie Griffin’s 169 yards, the Buckeyes amassed 432 rushing yards against the Badgers in 1973. Wisconsin quarterback Randy Wright completed 234 of 39 passes against the Buckeyes in 1983, good for 319 yards and three touchdowns in a 14-14 tie. In 1984, Columbus native Marc Harrison, rushed for 203 yards against the Buckeyes.

All-American Mike Nugent continues to lead the Big Ten in several categories including kick scoring (10.0 ppg.), field goals made per game (2.50) and field goal percentage (83.3). He is tied for the lead in PAT percentage at 100.0 with a perfect 10-of-10 and is second in the league in overall scoring at 10 points a game. Linebacker A.J. Hawk is the league leader in average tackles per game. The Buckeye junior has 44 tackles on the year and is averaging 11 stops per game. In the total offense department, quarterback Justin Zwick is fourth with an average of 208 yards per game. Zwick is fourth, too, in passing yards per game at 205.2. Split end Santonio Holmes is third in receiving yards per game at 107.5 and fourth in receptions per game with an average of 6.5 per game. Holmes, who twice this year has had double figures in receptions, is averaging 16.5 yards per catch. In the rushing department, Lydell Ross checks in at the No. 7 spot in the league with an average of 78.2 yards per game.

Kicker Mike Nugent is one of several Ohio State players who are in the running for major individual awards in 2004. Nugent, a leading candidate for the Lou Groza Award, is joined by center Nick Mangold (Rimington Award), tailback Lydell Ross (Doak Walker Award), linebacker Bobby Carpenter (Butkus Award), linebacker A.J. Hawk (Butkus, Lombardi, Lott and Walter Camp Awards), defensive end Simon Fraser (Ted Hendricks Award), cornerback Dustin Fox (Thorpe Award) and flanker Santonio Holmes (Biletnikoff Award).

Jim Tressel’s Buckeye teams have won 13 of the last 15 games decided by seven points or less. That ledger includes victories in four of five overtime games, one of which was the 2002 National Championship game. During his stay at Ohio State, Tressel is 16-6 in games decided by a touchdown or less and the Buckeyes are 24-2 when leading at the half and 26-3 when ahead at the start of the fourth quarter.

Buckeye flanker Santonio Holmes caught 10 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown at Northwestern. He also returned a punt 63 yards for a score against the Wildcats to record his fifth multiple touchdown game as a Buckeye. Holmes had 10 receptions earlier this year in the Buckeyes’ win over Marshall. He racked up 224 receiving yards in that game, the second highest total in Ohio State history, surpassed only by Terry Glenn’s 253 against Pitt in 1995 and the most ever by an OSU receiver in Ohio Stadium. His 80-yard TD catch in the Marshall game ties for the third longest pass play in Ohio State history. Holmes leads the Buckeyes in receiving with 26 catches for 430 yards and four touchdowns and has caught passes in 10 consecutive games.

Senior wide receiver Bam Childress has eight catches in his last two games, including a career-best five at North Carolina State. Childress has 13 receptions for 167 yards in the Buckeyes’ first four games. The 5-10, 185-pound Childress, who had 11 receptions for 133 yards last year and 16 career receptions prior to this year, is clearly in the midst of his best season as a Buckeye. Childress, who starts at flanker, is still waiting for his first collegiate touchdown. He had one called back in the opener against Cincinnati.

Versatile sophomore Stan White, Jr. made his first start at North Carolina State, starting at fullback for the Buckeyes. White came to Ohio State as a linebacker/tight end, but began concentrating on fullback last spring. Flanker Ted Ginn Jr. made his first collegiate start at Northwestern, becoming the first true freshman to start for the Buckeyes this year.

The Buckeyes first fielded a football team in 1890, compiling a 1-3 record in their first season. From that modest beginning, Ohio State has gone on to post an all-time record of 760-295-53 in 114 years and has experienced just 11 losing seasons.

Ohio State has an all-time record of 352-101-25 in Ohio Stadium (opened in 1922). The Buckeyes are 18-0 at home since the beginning of the 2002 season and are 22-2 in three years under head coach Jim Tressel. Ohio State’s last loss at home was against Illinois in the final game of the 2001 campaign. The 18-consecutive home wins is the second longest streak in the nation. Boise State leads the country with 22 in a row at home.

Seniors Mike Nugent, Lydell Ross, Simon Fraser and Dustin Fox have been selected by their teammates as the 2004 captains. Nugent is the first kicker to be chosen since Tom Skladany in 1976. Fox is the fourth member of his family to captain the Buckeyes, joining uncles Mark Stier (1968), Ken Kuhn (1975) and Tim Fox (1975).

Fifth-year seniors Kyle Turano (punter, Worthington Kilbourne), Roshawn Parker (tailback, Columbus Eastmoor), Mike DeMaria (tailback, Oregon Cardinal Stritch) and John McLaughlin (offensive tackle, Cleveland St. Ignatius) have been awarded scholarships for the 2004 academic year.

There are two new faces on the Ohio State staff this year. Darrell Hazell has taken over as coach of the wide receivers and John Peterson is the new tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator. Hazell, a graduate of Muskingum College, comes to Ohio State from Rutgers. Peterson, a former OSU offensive lineman (1987-90), has spent the past five seasons at Miami of Ohio. Additionally, Dick Tressel has replaced Tim Spencer as running backs coach. Tressel has spent the past three seasons as associate director of football operations for the Buckeyes.

Starting cornerback Dustin Fox broke his left forearm in the first quarter of the Marshall game and is expected to be out at least one more week. The Buckeye co-captain had started 30-consecutive games prior to being hurt. Senior fullback Branden Joe missed the first two games of the season with an ankle sprain, but returned to action at North Carolina State and played at Northwestern. Defensive end Mike Kudla missed the N.C. State game with a neck injury, but was back in the lineup at Northwestern. Redshirt freshman Devin Jordan (Massillon, Ohio) suffered a leg injury in fall camp and is expected to miss the season.

Ohio State’s highly touted freshman class is making its presence felt. Thus far eight members of the class have seen action in the Buckeyes’ first three games. They are: Ted Ginn Jr. (WR), Rory Nicol (TE), Antonio Pittman (TB), Devon Lyons (WR), Curtis Terry (ST), Vernon Gholston (DE), Marcus Freeman (LB) and Sirjo Welch (ST).

Six current players have fathers who played for Ohio State: offensive guard Doug Datish (Mike Datish, offensive lineman), fullback Dionte Johnson (Thomas “Pepper” Johnson, linebacker), cornerback Shaun Lane (Garcia Lane, cornerback), linebacker Ryan Lukens (Bill Lukens, offensive guard), flanker Kyle Ruhl (Bruce Ruhl, defensive back), fullback Stan White Jr. (Stan White, linebacker).

Wisconsin is 5-0 for the first time since 2002. The Badgers have posted wins this season over Central Florida (34-6), UNLV (18-3), Arizona (9-7), Penn State (16-3) and Illinois (24-7). The team is 2-0 in Big Ten play and is one of three undefeated teams in the conference, joining 5-0 Minnesota and 4-0 Purdue.

The Badgers are averaging 20.2 points and 315.0 yards of offense per game, including an average of 181.8 rushing yards per game. Anthony Davis is averaging 145.5 rushing yards in the two games he has played. He has 40 carries for 291 yards and four touchdowns. Booker Stanley has 240 yards in four games with one TD, while QB John Stocco has two TDs. Stocco has completed 55-of-115 passes for 660 yards and three TDs. He has hit Brand Williams and Booker Stanley 10 times.

On defense, Wisconsin has not given up more than seven points this season, holding opponents to 5.2 points and 193.2 total yards per game. The unit has 15 sacks and 39 total tackles-for-losses of 183 yards, while forcing three fumbles and taking benefit of three interceptions. Dontez Sanders leads the team with 33 total tackles, while Reggie Cribbs has 31. Erasmus James had 7.5 tackles-for-losses of 58 and five sacks totaling 51 yards.

Tailback Anthony Davis scored three touchdowns in leading Wisconsin to a 24-7 victory over Illinois at Camp Randall last Saturday. After missing three games with an eye injury, Davis carried the ball 27 times for 213 yards and led the Badgers with three catches for 37 yards. The Wisconsin defense did not give up more than seven points for the fifth straight game and held Illinois to just 206 yards of offense, including 42 rushing yards. Wisconsin ran for 258 yards and added 99 yards passing to finish with 357 total yards. Mike Allen connected on a 48-yard field goal in the second quarter to go with Davis’ three TDs.

Barry Alvarez (Nebraska, 1969) is 104-67-4 in his 15th season in Wisconsin and as a college coach. The winningest coach in school history has guided the Badgers to nine bowl games, including three Rose Bowls, and has a 7-2 record in postseason games. Last April Alvarez, the 1993 and 1998 Big Ten Coach of the Year, became Wisconsin’s director of athletics and is one of just two people at the Division I level to serve in both capacities. Alvarez has won at least 10 games in three seasons, finishing the 1998 season with an 11-1 record. His 1993 team was 10-1 and his 1999 team was 10-2. Alvarez is a previous assistant coach at Notre Dame (1987-89) and Iowa (1979-86).

The Buckeyes play on the road for the third time in four games next Saturday, traveling to Iowa City to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes. It will be the Buckeyes’ first trip to Iowa City since the 2000 season. ABC will televise the game at 3:30 p.m. EDT.