Oct. 22, 2002
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Football Luncheon Quotes
Top 25 Polls
Buckeyes Return Home to Face Penn St.
It’s out of the frying pan and into the fire for the fourth-ranked Ohio State football team. On the heels of a fiercely contested 19-14 road win over Wisconsin, the Buckeyes return home this week to take on 17th-ranked Penn State.
Ohio State will take an unblemished 8-0 record into the game, including a 3-0 mark in Big Ten Conference play. Penn State, meanwhile, is 5-2 on the year and 2-2 in league contests. The Nittany Lions are coming off a 49-0 shellacking of visiting Northwestern this past weekend.
Saturday’s showdown between the Nittany Lions and Buckeyes will be telecast by ABC-TV and will kickoff at 3:37 p.m. in sold out Ohio Stadium. A record crowd of more than 105,000 is expected to be on hand for the 18th meeting between the two schools.
WBNS Radio, the flagship station for the Ohio State radio network, will have wire-to-wire coverage of the game beginning at 2:30 p.m. Records and Results
Ohio State, at 8-0 for all games and 3-0 in the conference, is the Big Ten’s only unbeaten team.
The Buckeyes, who are 4-0 at home this year, are off to their best start since 1998 when they also won their first eight games and finished with an 11-1 record. The Buckeyes last 9-0 start was in 1996. OSU also finished at 11-1 that year.
The Buckeyes have won nine-consecutive regular-season games, dating back to last year’s win at Michigan. That streak now includes three Big Ten road games.
Penn State currently is fifth in the Big Ten standings. Both of the Nittany Lions’ losses have come in overtime to ranked teams (Iowa and Michigan). PSU is 1-1 on the road this year, downing Wisconsin (34-31) but losing to Michigan (27-24).
This Week’s Story Line
The Buckeyes are bidding for their best start since 1996, when they won the first 10 games and posted an 11-1 record. Standing in their way is a veteran Penn State squad that earlier this year routed then-No. 7 Nebraska 40-7. Penn State will be the second Top 25 team the Buckeyes have faced this year. OSU defeated No. 10 Washington State, 25-7, Sept. 14.
A Quick Look At The Coaches
Jim Tressel is in his second year at Ohio State, where his record of 15-5 for all games includes an 8-3 mark in Big Ten play. Tressel, now in his 17th season as a head coach, has a career record of 150-62-2. Prior to Ohio State, Tressel spent 15 highly-successful years as head coach at Youngstown State, where he was a four-time pick as the Division 1-AA National Coach of the Year. Tressel is 0-1 against Penn State, that loss coming last year in State College.
Joe Paterno is in his 37th year at Penn State, where he has compiled an all-time record of 332-98-3, including a 51-25 mark in the Big Ten. Paterno, the winningest coach in the history of Division 1A football, is 6-7 against Ohio State.
Buckeyes Hold Steady In The Polls
For the second week in a row, Ohio State checks in at the No. 4 spots in both national polls. That represents the highest placement for the Buckeyes since the 1998 season, when OSU finished at No. 3. The Buckeyes began this season ranked 12th by ESPN/USA Today and 13th by the Associated Press. They have been in the Top 10 for seven-consecutive weeks.
The Buckeyes survived what could best be described as a 10-round slugfest with the Badgers in Camp Randall Stadium. Flanker-turned-cornerback Chris Gamble delivered the knockout punch for OSU, picking off an interception in the corner of the endzone midway through the fourth quarter to blunt the Badgers’ final scoring threat. OSU then held on for a 19-14 victory.
Trailing 14-13 at the half, Ohio State scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 3-yard pass from Craig Krenzel to tight end Ben Hartsock with 9:59 left to play in the game (the try for two failed). The scoring drive, which covered 88 yards in nine plays, was kept alive by a 45-yard pass from Krenzel to a leaping Michael Jenkins who wrestled the ball away from two defenders.
Krenzel, who also completed a 47-yard scoring pass Jenkins on the Buckeyes’ opening possession, threw for 204 yards on the afternoon.
Mike Nugent accounted for the remainder of the OSU scoring with a pair of field goals, stretching his string of consecutive makes to a school record 17.
Freshman workhorse Maurice Clarett led the OSU ground attack with 133 yards on 30 carries. Twenty-eight of those yards came as the Buckeyes ran out the clock on a tension-filled final drive that began on their own 38 with 4:29 to play.
The Ohio State defense, which forced two turnovers and recorded four sacks, had 11 tackles for loss and held Wisconsin to zero rushing yards in the fourth period.
Coach Jim Tressel On The Buckeyes
“I was proud of the way we played at Wisconsin. We were behind, away from home, and there is a potential for becoming unglued in that kind of atmosphere. I saw our kids hanging tough. There was no panic in their eyes. They were in the game, whether they were on the field or on our sideline yelling their support. That was a good win for us, but we have to turn our attention now to a very good Penn State team.”
|Head Coach Jim Tressel|
There were a number of milestones in last week’s win atWisconsin.
*Head Coach Jim Tressel recorded his 150th career victory. His first came against Tennessee Tech Oct. 11, 1986 and his 100th against Indiana State Oct. 4, 1997. Both of the latter came while Tressel was the head coach at Youngstown State.
*Sophomore kicker Mike Nugent set a school record by extending his string of consecutive field goals made to 17.
*Freshman tailback Maurice Clarett recorded his sixth 100-yard rushing game, breaking the OSU frosh record of five that had belonged to Robert Smith (1990).
*With 133 yards, Clarett surpassed Archie Griffin’s freshman total of 867 yards. Clarett, who now has 980 yards on the season, needs 147 yards to break Smith’s freshman record of 1,126.
*Punter Andy Groom recorded the third best single-game performance in OSU annals, averaging 50.2 yards per punt on six kicks, including a career-best 74-yard effort.
Groom Named Big Ten Player of the Week
Ohio State punter Andy Groom has been named Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week. Groom averaged 50.2 yards per punt on six kicks last week at Wisconsin, the third best single-game effort in Ohio State history. Included in those kicks was a career-long 74-yard punt late in the game that pushed the Badgers back to their own 20-yard line. Groom, who leads the league in punting with an average of 45.2 yards per kick, also “pooched” a punt inside the Wisconsin 1-yard line.
A Look At Ohio State
The Buckeyes are averaging 426.1 yards, 35.6 points and 6.5 yards per play on offense. OSU has scored 34 touchdowns on the year – 21 rushing and 11 passing (the other two have come on interceptions). Led by freshman tailback Maurice Clarett, the Buckeyes are rushing for 229.4 yards per game. Clarett has 980 of those yards and has scored 13 rushing touchdowns. Craig Krenzel is completing 62 percent of his passes and has thrown for 1,275 yards and nine touchdowns. Ohio State is throwing for 196 yards a game and ranks second nationally in passing efficiency with a 163.4 rating. Michael Jenkins has been Krenzel’s go-to guy and has a team best 37 receptions for 650 yards and four touchdowns. The Buckeyes have been remarkably consistent offensively, scoring at least 58 points in each quarter, and are 34 of 36 in the red zone (25 touchdowns and 9 field goals).
Defensively, the Buckeyes are giving up 345.6 yards and 14.8 points a game. OSU’s first eight opponents have rushed for an average of 82.4 yards per game and passed for 263.2. Ohio State is seventh nationally in rushing defense and eighth in scoring defense. The Buckeyes have allowed just 38 points in the second half and lead the Big Ten in red zone defense (11-22). OSU has given up 11 passing and three rushing touchdowns.
Senior safety Michael Doss and linebacker Matt Wilhelm lead the OSU defense with 62 and 61 tackles, respectively. Wilhelm also leads the team and is tied for the Big Ten lead in tackles-for-loss.
The Buckeyes are at +7 in turnover margin with 16 gained and nine lost. In the three games that have gone down to the wire – Cincinnati, Northwestern and Wisconsin, the OSU defense has seven takeaways. At Cincinnati, OSU forced the Bearcats into three turnovers on their final three possessions. At Northwestern, the Buckeyes came up with a fumble recovery and an interception on the Wildcats’ last two chances. Against Wisconsin, the Buckeyes picked off an interception on the Badgers’ next to last possession.
Nugent Sets Consecutive Field Goal Record
Sophomore kicker Mike Nugent kicked two more field goalsSaturday, giving him 17 in a row dating back to last year andbreaking the school record of 15 that he had tied last week againstSan Jose State. Nugent, who had shared the record with VladeJanakievski (1977-80), began his string last year in theregular-season finale at Michigan. He did not have any attempts inthe Outback Bowl, but has had at least one field goal in every gamethis year. Eight of his 16 field goals this season have come from40 or more yards out, eclipsing the OSU single-season record offive. He also tied a school single-game record against WashingtonState with three kicks of more than 40 yards. The Centerville,Ohio, product has been perfect at home this year, hitting all 11 ofhis chances. That, too, is a school record. With 16 field goalsthis year, Nugent is three short of the school record of 19, set in2000 by Dan Stultz. Nugent is second in the Big Ten in kick scoringwith an average of 9.9 points a game, a figure that ranks fourthoverall scoring. He also is second nationally in field goals made.
Mike Nugent’s 2002 Records
Most Consecutive Field Goals Made – 17
Most Consecutive Field Goals Made in OhioStadium – 11
Most 40-yard Field Goals in a Season – 8
Most 40-yard Field Goals in a Game – 3*
*Ties record (Washington State)
Clarett Tops The Century Mark Again/Leads Big Ten
Tailback Maurice Clarett rushed for 133 yards on 30 carries at Wisconsin, marking the sixth time in seven games (he did not play at Cincinnati) that the 6-0, 230-pound freshman has topped the century mark. Clarett, who bettered Robert Smith’s school record of five 100-yard games as a freshman, now has 980 yards on the year and needs 147 more to surpass Smith’s frosh record of 1,126 in 1990.
Clarett, who has carried the ball 161 times, leads the Big Ten with an average of 140 yards per game. He is second in yards per carry at 6.1 yards per attempt. He also leads the Big Ten in scoring (12.9 ppg.) and touchdowns scored (15), and is third in all-purpose running with an average of 150 yards per game.
Nationally, Clarett ranks third in scoring and fourth in rushing.
Ohio State’s Top Five Freshmen Rushers Name Yards Year Games Robert Smith 1,126 1990 12 Maurice Clarett 980 2002 7 Archie Griffin 872 1972 11 Jaymes Bryant 656 1986 13 Dean Sensanbaugher 633 1943 9
Doss Hopes to Join Elite Circle
Senior safety Michael Doss is already a two-time All-American. Should he garner All-America honors again this year, he would become just the seventh three-time All-American in Ohio State history, joining Chic Harley (1916, ’17, ’19), Wes Fesler (1928-30), Lou Hinchman (1930-32), Merle Wendt (1934-36), Archie Griffin (1973-75) and Tom Skladany (1974-76) in a very select group of athletes.
Doss currently leads the Buckeyes in tackles with 62. In his last two Big Ten games, he has 27 total stops, including a season-high 14 this past weekend at Wisconsin. The 5-11, 204-pound Doss also has a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown to his credit this year.
Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel
Ohio State is under the second-year direction of 49-year-old Jim Tressel. Now in his 17th year as a head coach, Tressel’s impressive resume includes an all-time record of 150-62-2, including a 15-5 mark with the Buckeyes. Prior to coming to Ohio State, Tressel spent 15 years at Youngstown State, where he guided the Penguins to four Division I-AA national championships (1991, ’93, ’94 and ’97) and 10 appearances in the playoffs. He was a four-time pick as the national coach of the year, winning that honor in each of his championship seasons. Prior to taking over at YSU in 1986, Tressel spent three years as an assistant to Earle Bruce at Ohio State. In that role, he coached the quarterbacks, receivers and running backs and went to three bowl games, including the Rose Bowl. His list of star pupils during that time includes Mike Tomczak, Cris Carter and Keith Byars. Prior to Ohio State, Tressel also served apprenticeships at Akron, Miami (Ohio) and Syracuse. Tressel, the 22nd head coach in Ohio State annals, was named to his present position Jan. 18, 2001. Jim’s father, the late Lee Tressel, enjoyed a very successful coaching career at Baldwin Wallace College, where he won the 1978 Division III National Championship. His brother, Dick Tressel, is a former head football coach at Hamline University in Minnesota and currently serves as assistant director of football operations at Ohio State. As a family, the Tressels have won 429 games.
Wilhelm Butkus Award Semi-Finalist
Ohio State senior linebacker Matt Wilhelm has been named asone of 11 semifinalists for the 2002 Butkus Award, which ispresented annually to the top linebacker in college football. Thesemifinalists were selected from a list of 67 preliminarycandidates. Three finalists will be named Nov. 14 and the winnerwill be announced Dec. 13.
Ohio State’s Andy Katzenmoyer won the Butkus in 1997 as a sophomore.
The 6-5, 245-pound Wilhelm leads the Buckeyes in solo tackles with 39, is second in total tackles with 61 (one behind Mike Doss) and has a team best 12 tackles for loss. The latter total ties him for the Big Ten lead.
Now in his third year as a starter, Wilhelm needs three tackles to surpass last year’s total of 63 and six to better his 2000 output of 66.
This Gamble A Sure Thing
Chris Gamble is Ohio State’s second leading receiver with 20 receptions for 337 yards. That should come as no surprise. After all, the 6-2, 180-pound sophomore from Sunrise, Fla., is the Buckeyes’ starting flanker. What does come as a surprise, however, is that Gamble also leads the Buckeyes in interceptions. He has two, and both have been instrumental in keeping Ohio State unbeaten thus far in 2002. Inserted at cornerback at Cincinnati, Gamble saved the day with an interception in the end zone on his first play as a defender. The Buckeyes escaped 23-19. This past week at Wisconsin, with the Badgers driving for the go-ahead touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, Gamble came away with pick No. 2, also in the end zone. Final score: Ohio State 19, Wisconsin 14.
“Chris is a very talented athlete,” head coach Jim Tressel, said. “We have tried to use him sparingly on defense to keep him fresh on offense, but Saturday we knew we needed him in there, and he came up with another big play.”
Saturday was the fourth defensive appearance for Gamble, who also got the call against Northwestern and San Jose State.
“I was a little nervous the first time in Cincinnati,” Gamble, who also has a pass deflection to his credit, said. “But now I am much more comfortable and just having fun.”
Gamble, who is also an invaluable member of the punt return and kick return units, is second on the team in all-purpose yardage with an average of 87.9 yards per game.
Jenkins Leads Receiving Corps
Junior split end Michael Jenkins has at least one reception in 20-consecutive games dating back to the 2001 season opener against Akron. Jenkins had five receptions for 105 yards in Saturday’s win at Wisconsin, including a 47-yard touchdown catch and a 45-yard third-down grab that kept OSU’s winning touchdown drive alive. Jenkins has 37 receptions on the year and leads the team in receiving yardage (650), yards per catch (17.6) and touchdown receptions (4). He ranks eighth in the Big Ten in both receptions per game (4.62) and receiving yards per game (81.2). Jenkins has 23 catches for 407 yards and all four of his touchdowns in the past four games.
Strong safety Michael Doss and free safety Donnie Nickey, both seniors, have been selected by their teammates as captains for the 2002 campaign. Doss, a two-time All-American, is in his third year as a starter, while Nickey is in his fourth. Offensive captains are chosen on a game-by-game basis. Quarterback Craig Krenzel will serve in that capacity against Penn State. Offensive captains to date have been: Krenzel (Texas Tech), Mike Stafford (Kent State), Ben Hartsock (Washington State), Ivan Douglas (Cincinnati), Chris Vance (Indiana), Alex Stepanovich (Northwestern), Michael Jenkins (San Jose State) and Shane Olivea (Wisconsin).
Buckeye Signal Callers on Target
Starting quarterback Craig Krenzel is completing 62.3 percent of his passes for the Buckeyes and currently ranks second in the Big Ten and fifth nationally in passing efficiency with a rating of 158.6. The 6-4 Krenzel, who is 9-1 as a starter, has completed 86 of 138 passes for 1,275 yards and nine touchdowns. He has been intercepted just twice, with both of those coming at Cincinnati. Earlier this year, Krenzel tied an Ohio State single-game record by completing 12 consecutive passes (his last one against Texas Tech and his first 11 against Kent State).
Not to be overlooked, backup Scott McMullen has completed an impressive 80 percent of his passes. McMullen is 24-of-30 for 299 yards and a pair of TDs coming off the bench. Those figures include a 7-for-7 showing against Indiana and an 8-of-9 performance against San Jose State.
A Special Season For This Buckeye
Senior Mike Stafford experienced the thrill of his Ohio State career against Texas Tech. Stafford, a fifth-year senior and former walk-on who was converted to scholarship at the beginning of the 2001 season, started at left guard against the Red Raiders. It was his first start since his senior year in high school.
Stafford served as the offensive captain against Kent State and was named OSU Offensive Lineman of the Week after that game.
Ohio State All-Time
With the win over Wisconsin, Ohio State now has an all-time record of 740-292-53 in this, its 113th season of football. The Buckeyes’ first football team posted a 3-1 record in 1890. Ohio State also has an all-time Big Ten ledger of 403-155-24 since beginning league play in 1913. Since 1960, the Buckeyes have experienced just three losing seasons in Big Ten play (1966, 1988, 1999).
Freshman Class Has Early Impact
Ten members of Ohio State’s highly regarded freshman class have seen game action in 2002. Maurice Clarett, Tyler Everett, Mike D’Andrea, Nate Salley, Bobby Carpenter, A.J. Hawk, E.J. Underwood and Mike Kudla all played against Texas Tech in the season opener. Offensive linemen Robbie Sims and Nick Mangold debuted in the Kent State game.
Most have played at crunch time. Clarett, of course, is the starting tailback. Sims has started twice at left tackle and Underwood twice at corner. Everett had a clutch interception against Washington State. Mangold and Kudla have seen extensive action in recent games, and Hawk came off the bench to record five tackles at Wisconsin.
Clarett Eighth OSU Frosh To Top The Century Mark
Freshman Maurice Clarett, last year’s USA Today high school offensive player of the year, rushed for 230 yards in OSU’s win over Washington State. That is the sixth best single-game showing in Ohio State annals. Other notable rushing performances by freshman running backs at Ohio State include:
1943 Dean Sensenbaugher 33 att./170 yds. vs. Illinois 1972 Archie Griffin 27 att./239 yds. vs. UNC 1972 Archie Griffin 27 att./192 yds. vs. Illinois 1985 Vince Workman 15 att./100 yds. at Illinois 1986 Jaymes Bryant 19 att./145 yds. vs. Utah 1989 Dante Lee 24 att./157 yds. at Northwestern 1990 Robert Smith 23 att./171 yds. at Wisconsin 2001 Lydell Ross 25 att./124 yds. at Indiana
Charting OSU’s Assistant Coaches
Mark Dantonio (defensive coordinator), Mel Tucker (defensive secondary), Joe Daniels (quarterbacks and receivers) and Bill Conley (tight ends) are in the press box for the Buckeyes. Jim Bollman (offensive coordinator), Tim Spencer (running backs), Jim Heacock (defensive line), Mark Snyder (linebackers) and Luke Fickell (special teams) are on the sidelines.
The Ohio State-Penn State Series
This will be the 18th meeting between the two schools and the 11th game played in Columbus. Penn State leads the series 10-7, including a 29-27 victory last year. The two teams have split the 10 games played in Columbus, but the Buckeyes have won the last four on their home turf. In the most recent meeting in Ohio Stadium, Ohio State downed the Nittany Lions 45-6 in 2000.
Ohio State has won five of the nine games played between the two teams since Penn State began Big Ten play in 1993.
Top individual performances in the series include 211 rushing yards by Penn State running backs Curtis Enis in 1997 and Eric McCoo in 1999. Ohio State quarterback Joe Germaine threw for 378 yards in 1997.
The Buckeyes piled up 595 yards in total offense against PSU in 1996 and 1997. Penn State had 572 yards against the Buckeyes in 1994.
Recapping Last Year’s Game
Ohio State led 27-9 early in the third quarter, but Penn State scored 20-unanswered points en route to a 29-27 victory. The Nittany Lions assured themselves of the win by blocking a 34-yard Ohio State field goal attempt with 2:55 to play and then running out the clock.
Zack Mills was a one-man show for the Lions, coming off the bench to throw for 209 yards and run for 138 more, including a dazzling 69-yard touchdown jaunt.
The Buckeyes came up with a number of big plays of their own, including a 65-yard TD run by Jonathan Wells and a 66-yard scoring pass from Steve Bellisari to Michael Jenkins. Jenkins also had a 68-yard reception. Well finished with 143 yards rushing.
Scouting the Nittany Lions
Penn State is 5-2 on the year and 2-2 in Big Ten play after taking a 49-0 homecoming victory against Northwestern last Saturday at Beaver Stadium. The Nittany Lions opened the season with wins over Central Florida, Nebraska and Louisiana Tech before falling 42-35 in overtime to Iowa in the conference opener. Penn State then regrouped to beat Wisconsin before Michigan claimed a 27-24 overtime decision in Ann Arbor over the Nittany Lions.
On offense, Penn State is averaging 440 total yards, highlighted by 243.6 yards by the pass. Quarterback Zack Mills has completed 119-of-199 passes for 1,686 yards and 11 touchdowns. He is averaging 240.9 yards while completing 49.8 percent of his passes and has thrown just three interceptions. His leading target is Johnson, whether it is Bryant Johnson, Larry Johnson or Tony Johnson. Bryant Johnson is averaging 95.1 receiving yards per game. He has 666 yards and three touchdowns. All three have three touchdowns apiece and account for 1,335 of the 1,705 (78.3 percent) receiving yards. The leading ground gainer is Larry Johnson who has carried the ball 136 times for 876 yards. He is averaging 125.1 yards per game and 7 yards per carry with nine scores.
Defensively, Penn State is holding opponents to 359.3 yards per game. The Nittany Lions are giving up only 109.3 yards on the ground while yielding 250 yards through the air. The defense has grabbed 11 interceptions and forced four fumbles while sacking the quarterback 20 times for a loss of 152 yards. Shawn Mayer is the leading tackler for Penn State. He has 78 tackles, including three for loss. He also has two interceptions and five pass breakups. Michael Haynes has 9.5 sacks for a loss of 86 yards.
David Royer handles punting duties for the Nittany Lions and is averaging 41.3 yards per punt. He has landed nine inside the 20-yard line and has a long of 56 yards. Robbie Gould is 9-of-11 on field goals with the two misses coming from beyond 40 yards. He has made a long of 51 and has not been blocked. Larry Johnson returns kickoffs and is averaging 20.1 yards on eight returns this season. Bryant Johnson returns punts for PSU and has 24 returns totaling 275 yards for an average return of 11.5 yards.
Penn State’s Last Game
Penn State claimed a 49-0 homecoming victory vs. Northwestern last Saturday at Beaver Stadium. The Nittany Lions picked up 423 yards on the ground, while holding Northwestern to just 9 rushing yards. Larry Johnson led the offense with a record-setting 257 yards rushing, breaking Curt Warner’s 21-year old school record. Johnson also scored two touchdowns on the ground and caught two passes. Wide receiver Tony Johnson picked up 72 yards on just three catches, including one for a touchdown. Quarterback Zack Mills completed 10-of-15 passes for 120 yards and two TDs.
Coach Joe Paterno
Joe Paterno is in his 37th year as the head coach at Penn State. He has a career record of 332-98-3 and is the winningest coach in Division I history by four wins in front of Bobby Bowden at Florida State. After graduating in 1950, he followed coach Rip Engle to Penn State to serve as an assistant coach. He became the school’s 14th head coach when Engle stepped down in 1966. Paterno has guided the Nittany Lions to five perfect seasons: 1968 (11-0), 1969 (11-0), 1973 (12-0), 1986 (12-0) and 1994 (12-0). He is the all-time leader in bowl appearances with 30 and boasts a 20-9-1 record in those games for a winning percentage of 68.3, which is third best of all time. Paterno guided Penn State to the national championship in both 1982 and 1986. He is 6-7 against Ohio State.
Opening Day Streak Extended
The opening-day victory over Texas Tech on Aug. 24 extended Ohio State’s streak in home openers to 24-consecutive wins, dating back to a 19-0 loss in 1978 at the hands of then-independent Penn State. The Buckeyes have an all-time opening day record of 97-12-4.
Earle Bruce Honored
Former Ohio State head coach Earle Bruce has been elected to the College Football Hall of Fame. Bruce, who coached the Buckeyes from 1979 to 1987 and posted a career record of 81-26-1, will be inducted in December in ceremonies in New York City. He will be recognized in an on-campus salute at the Michigan-Ohio State game Nov. 23.
Zwick Honored By NFFCHF
Ohio State freshman quarterback Justin Zwick has been selected as the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame’s Midwest Region High School Scholar-Athlete of the Year for 2002. He is one of four regional representatives that will be recognized Dec. 10 at the NFFCHF’s annual banquet at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. The award “seeks to honor the nation’s top high school scholar-athletes (from the previous year) who have demonstrated outstanding academic application and performance, superior football performance, and exemplary school leadership and citizenship.” Ohio State’s Maurice Hall was recognized with the same award a year ago.
Coach Jim Tressel’s weekly media lunches are held Tuesdays at the Buckeye Hall of Fame Caf, located at 1421 Olentangy River Rd. Lunch will be served at 11:45 a.m. Coach Tressel will begin his portion of the interview session at 12:15 p.m. Selected Ohio State players will be available for interviews following Coach Tressel’s question-and-answer session.
Weekly Interview Schedule
Ohio State players will be available for interviews following the conclusion of practice and meetings on Tuesdays throughout the season. Tuesday practices are open to the media and photographers are permitted to shoot the first 20 minutes, or specific periods as designated by the coaching staff. Photographers covering an open practice should check with a member of the Athletics Communications staff to see which periods are open. Coach Tressel and two designated assistant coaches are available for interviews after Thursday practices.
Tressel Radio Show Every Thursday
The weekly Jim Tressel call-in show airs from noon-1 p.m. Thursdays on WBNS AM (1460) Radio. The show is replayed on Thursday nights around the state.
Minnesota Next for Ohio State
Following Penn State, the Buckeyes host Minnesota Nov. 2. Glen Mason’s Gophers, who are idle this week, are 7-1 on the year and 3-1 in the Big Ten. The kickoff time for the Minnesota-Ohio State game has not been announced.
Game 1 Recap – Texas Tech (W 45-21)
Ohio State opened the 2002 campaign Aug. 24 with aconvincing 45-21 victory over Texas Tech in the Pigskin Classic. Itwas the earliest season debut for the Buckeyes.
Freshman tailback Maurice Clarett started the game and rushed for 175 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries. Clarett, who scored on runs of 59, 45 and 1 yards, was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week.
Clarett had plenty of help from sophomore sidekicks Maurice Hall and Lydell Ross. Hall finished with 74 yards on 13 carries and Ross had 40 yards and two touchdowns to show for his 16 carries.
As a team, the Buckeyes rolled up 317 yards on the ground and finished with 477 yards in total offense. OSU averaged 6.4 yards per carry, did not have a turnover and had just two offensive penalties.
Quarterback Craig Krenzel completed 11 of 14 passes for 118 yards before giving way to backup Scott McMullen, who scored OSU’s sixth rushing touchdown of the day.
The OSU defense, meanwhile, threw up a curtain around Texas Tech quarterback Kliff Kingsbury. Kingsbury finished with 341 yards and three touchdown passes, but much of the yardage and two of the scoring tosses came in the fourth quarter, long after the outcome had been decided.
Led by defensive end Will Smith, the Buckeyes recorded seven sacks and generally harassed Kingsbury all afternoon. Smith had four tackles-for-loss and two of the sacks.
Linebacker Cie Grant was credited with five tackles, including two sacks of his own, and was selected by the OSU coaching staff as the Buckeyes’ defensive player of the game.
The Buckeyes also fared well in the kicking department. Ray Guy Award candidate Andy Groom averaged 48 yards per punt on four kicks and place-kicker Mike Nugent converted all six PATs and hit a career-best 45-yard field goal.
Ohio State had just five penalties on the day, converted 10-of-15 third-down attempts and had the ball for 36 minutes. The Buckeyes were four-of-four in the red zone, while Texas Tech was 0-for-2.
Game 2 Recap – Kent State (W 51-17)
The Buckeyes jumped out to a 21-0 lead at the end of the first quarter and were ahead 38-0 with 7:31 to play in the first half on the way to a 51-17 thrashing of Kent State.
Two of OSU’s first four touchdowns came courtesy of the defense, strong safety Michael Doss and freshman linebacker A.J. Hawk each returning interceptions for scores. Doss made it 14-0 with his 45-yard return and Hawk upped the ante to 38-0 with his 34-yard scamper. Freshman tailback Maurice Clarett tallied the other two OSU scores, the first on a 2-yard run and the latter on a 7-yard pass from Craig Krenzel. It was OSU’s first TD pass of the year.
The Buckeyes rolled up 412 yards in total offense and averaged 8.8 yards per play on the way to topping the 50-point mark for the first time in 73 games. Krenzel completed 12 of 14 passes for 190 yards and backup Scott McMullen hit 7 of 11 for 78 yards and a TD. Sophomore flanker Chris Gamble was on the receiving end of six of those passes and finished with 87 yards receiving. Split end Michael Jenkins had four catches for 89 yards. Eight different receivers had receptions for the Buckeyes, thanks in large part to another stellar effort by the offensive line, which did not allow a sack.
Clarett led the Buckeye ground game with 66 yards on 11 carries. Maurice Hall added 36 yards on just three totes, the first of which was a 28-yard TD, and Lydell Ross had 28 yards on four tries as Ohio State’s posse of running backs again proved to be too much for the opposing defense.
Defensively, tackle Tim Anderson was credited with seven tackles, while ends Will Smith and Darrion Scott and linebacker Robert Reynolds each had five. Scott had two tackles-for-loss and a sack.
Kicker Mike Nugent was again perfect, hitting all three of his field goal attempts and all six of his PAT efforts.
Game 3 Recap – Washington State (W 25-7)
The Buckeyes trailed 7-6 at the half, but responded with 19-unanswered points after intermission to down visiting Washington State, 25-7. The victory over the 10th-ranked Cougars was the Buckeyes first win over a Top-10 team since the 1999 Sugar Bowl
Freshman running back Maurice Clarett led the OSU offense by rushing for 230 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Clarett, who carried the ball 31 times, had 194 of his yards in the second half. It was the sixth best rushing effort in OSU history and came despite a first-quarter knee injury that required arthroscopic surgery three days later. The Buckeyes powered through the WSU defense for 292 yards on the ground and finished with 363 yards in total offense.
The OSU defense, meanwhile, pressured Jason Gesser, the Cougars’ talented senior quarterback, into two second-half interceptions and any number of hurried throws. Washington State, which had come into the game averaging more than 440 yards per game (and 40 points), settled for just 280 against Ohio State – 263 passing and 17 on the ground. The Cougars managed just 74 total yards after intermission.
Linebackers Cie Grant (8 tackles, 3 tackles-for-loss) and Matt Wilhelm (5 tackles and a momentum shifting interception) led the OSU defense.
Sophomore kicker Mike Nugent continued his brilliant play by drilling field goals of 43, 43 and 45 yards. Those three kicks of more than 40 yards gave Nugent six on the year, an Ohio State single-season record just three games into the season. Additionally, he is just the second Ohio State kicker to kick three field goals of 40 or more yards in a game. The only other was Tom Klaban in 1974 against Michigan.
Game 4 Recap – Cincinnati (W 23-19)
Ohio State ran its record to 4-0 with a 23-19 win over Cincinnati in a game that was even closer than the final score would indicate. Cincinnati led most of the day and was on top 19-17 late in the fourth quarter. The Buckeyes took the lead for good at 23-19 on a 6-yard scamper by quarterback Craig Krenzel at the 3:44 mark and then held off a final charge by the Bearcats that ended with Will Allen’s interception in the end zone with 26 seconds to play.
The Buckeyes played the game without starting tailback Maurice Clarett who had undergone knee surgery four days earlier. In OSU’s first three games, Clarett, a true freshman, had rushed for 471 yards and scored seven touchdowns.
With Clarett unavailable, sophomore Lydell Ross made his first collegiate start and responded with a career-high 130 yards on 23 carries.
Krenzel also threw for a pair of touchdowns, finding tight end Ben Hartsock from 20 yards out for the Buckeyes’ first score, and later flipping a 5-yard toss to flanker Chris Vance that gave OSU a short-lived 14-12 advantage.
With the Bearcats on top 19-14 – and driving – the game turned around when defensive end Darrion Scott’s jarring hit forced a fumble that was recovered by teammate David Thompson. Ten plays later, Krenzel scored on a roll out that was designed to go to split end Micheal Jenkins.
Senior linebacker Matt Wilhelm led the Buckeyes in tackles with nine, including four tackles-for-loss. The OSU defense stiffened in the late stages of the game, forcing three turnovers (two picks and a fumble recovery) on the Bearcats’ last three possessions. Wilhelm deflected the fourth-down pass that was then picked off by Allen. The Buckeyes had eight tackles-for-loss against the Bearcats.
The game marked the Buckeyes’ first road appearance against an Ohio team since 1934.
Game 5 Recap – Indiana (W 45-17)
The Buckeye opened their Big Ten season with a 45-17 win over visiting Indiana. Ohio State took control early, jumping out to a 21-10 lead at the half, and then put the game away by scoring 24-unanswered points after intermission on the way to a 45-10 advantage that was just too much for the Hoosiers to overcome.
OSU freshman tailback Maurice Clarett, who sat out the previous week’s game at Cincinnati after undergoing knee surgery, was in top form against the Hoosiers, rushing for 104 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries. All three of his TDs came in the first half.
The Buckeyes rushed for 244 yards and passed for 217 more. Quarterback Craig Krenzel completed 11 of his 16 passes, including his final six, for 152 yards and a touchdown, before exiting midway through the third period. Backup signal caller Scott McMullen followed Krenzel’s lead by completing all seven of his tosses for 65 yards and a TD.
Michael Jenkins led the receiving corps with seven receptions for 93 yards and both touchdown catches. The Buckeyes also scored on a beautifully executed 43-yard reverse by Chris Gamble and a career-long 51-yard field goal by Mike Nugent. It was Nugent’s 10th-consecutive make.
The OSU defense limited the Hoosiers to 56 yards rushing and 339 yards in total offense. End Darrion Scott paced the defense with three solos and six assists and had one of the Buckeyes’ three sacks. All-America safety Mike Doss had four solos and two assists and also was credited with a tackle-for-loss. Linebacker Matt Wilhelm continued his stellar play with two tackles-for-loss.
The Buckeyes played the game with a makeshift offensive line necessitated by the loss of injured starters Ivan Douglas and Michael Stafford. With those two sidelined, true freshman Rob Sims started at left tackle for Douglas, while Adrien Clarke took over for Stafford a left guard.
Defensive tackle Tim Anderson also missed the game due to injury.
Game 6 Recap – Northwestern (W 27-16)
Ohio State fell behind 6-0 at the end of the first quarter, but led 14-9 at intermission. The Buckeyes then scored on their first two possessions of the second half to take a 24-9 lead. But it wasn’t until OSU safety Donnie Nickey recovered a Northwestern fumble in the final minute of play that the Buckeyes could celebrate a 27-16 victory.
Ohio State finished the game with 455 yards in total offense, including 285 on the ground, but turned the ball over three times – all on fumbles. The OSU defense gave up 396 yards, including 283 through the air, but came up with a pair of crucial fourth-quarter takeaways.
Freshman tailback Maurice Clarett again paced the Ohio State ground attack, this time gaining 140 yards and scoring two touchdowns on 29 carries. Lydell Ross added 83 yards and scored the first OSU TD on a 3-yard run.
Quarterback Craig Krenzel threw for 170 yards and also rushed for a career-high 62. Krenzel hit 11 of his 22 passes, four of which were caught by split end Michael Jenkins.
Linebacker Matt Wilhelm recorded a season-high 15 tackles and All-America safety Michael Doss chipped in with 13.
The Buckeye defense came up with a pair of takeaways on Northwestern’s final two possessions. Linebacker Cie Grant accounted for the first with his first interception of the year. Nickey put the icing on the cake by scooping up a fumble caused by Wilhelm and cornerback Dustin Fox.
Kicker Mike Nugent completed the OSU scoring with a pair of field goals, extending his streak of consecutive makes to 12, the second longest in school history.
Game 7 Recap – San Jose St. (W 50-7)
Riding the hot hand of junior quarterback Craig Krenzel and buoyed by four defensive takeaways, Ohio State celebrated homecoming with a 50-7 win over visiting San Jose State.
Krenzel turned in the best performance of his still young career, hitting 11 of 14 passes for a career-high 241 yards and three touchdowns (also a career best) before exiting midway through the third quarter.
Split end Michael Jenkins was on the receiving end of seven of those passes, including a 40-yard touchdown strike at the 8:36 mark of the third period. Krenzel also connected with flanker Chris Vance from 37 yards out and had a 7-yard scoring toss to tailback Maurice Clarett.
Clarett, who also rushed for two touchdowns, had 132 yards on 18 carries to pace the OSU ground game.
On the day, the Buckeyes rolled up a season high 567 yards and averaged 7.9 yards per play. OSU was 7-for-8 in the red zone. Already ahead 24-7 at intermission, the Buckeyes scored on their first three possessions of the second half to put the game on ice.
The Ohio State defense showed its muscle by forcing four fumbles and holding the Spartans to zero rushing yards. SJSU finished with 265 yards passing, but 257 of those yards came in the first half. OSU allowed the Spartans 15 total yards in the second half – 8 passing and 7 rushing.
Dustin Fox had nine tackles for the Buckeyes, along with a fumble recovery and two passes broken up. Matt Wilhelm added six tackles and a forced fumble and Cie Grant two tackles-for-loss and a forced fumble.
Kicker Mike Nugent nailed three field goals to extend his streak of consecutive makes to 15, tying the Ohio State record.
BUCKEYES TO WATCH…
Maurice Clarett (Freshman Tailback)
Sensational freshman, who has taken the college football world by storm. Leads the Big Ten in rushing and scoring and is second in yards per carry. Has six 100-yard games to date, including 230 vs. Washington State. Has set frosh records for TDs (15) and scoring (90 points) and is closing in on OSU frosh rushing record of 1,126. Currently has 980 yards.
Mike Doss (Senior Strong Safety)
Two-time All-American and the leader of the OSU defense. Picked as the Big Ten preseason defensive player of the year. Recorded a season-high 14 tackles at Wisconsin and also had a fumble recovery. Twenty-seven tackles in his last two Big Ten games. Leads the team in tackles. Forty-five-yard pick for score against Kent State was his fourth collegiate touchdown. Team captain and leader. Thorpe Award candidate.
Chris Gamble (Sophomore Flanker/Cornerback)
Does it all – catches passes, returns kicks and punts, plays defense. Second leading receiver with 20 for 337 yards and an average of 16.9 yards per catch. Leads the team in interceptions with two, even though he has played only sparingly at cornerback. Both of his interceptions (Cincinnati and Wisconsin) have literally been game savers. Also had a 43-yard reverse for a touchdown against Indiana. Averages 23.1 yards per kick return.
Andy Groom (Senior Punter)
Is a candidate for the Ray Guy Award. Averages 45.2 yards and leads the Big Ten. Averaged 50.2 yards on six punts at Wisconsin, including a career-long boot of 74 yards. Also pooched one inside the 1-yard line at Wisconsin and has willingly sacrificed yards for placement whenever asked to do so. Is a former walk-on, who has since been converted to scholarship. Also holds on placements.
Craig Krenzel (Junior Quarterback)
Has helped lead the Buckeyes to their best start since 1998 and has engineered come-from-behind wins against Washington State, Cincinnati, Northwestern and Wisconsin. Is 9-1 as a starter dating back to last year. Makes very few mistakes, has a strong arm and also is a surprisingly effective runner. Has completed 62.3 percent of his passes. Ran for a career-high 62 yards at Northwestern and has a pair of 29-yard runs to his credit this year. Hit 11 of 14 for 241 yards and 3 TDs against San Jose. Both of the latter were career highs. Has five TD passes in the last two games.
Mike Jenkins (Junior Split End)
The Buckeyes leading receiver with 37 receptions and four of the team’s nine touchdown catches. Has caught at least one pass in 20-consecutive games and has 23 receptions in the past four games. Has topped the 100-yard mark in receiving each of the past two weeks. Had a touchdown catch of 47 yards at Wisconsin and another grab of 45 yards that kept the game winning scoring drive alive. Has speed, great hands and, at 6-5, is able to go up and get the ball.
Mike Nugent (Sophomore Kicker)
Has to be considered the most pleasant surprise of the season for the Buckeyes. Has set numerous records this year, including the mark for most 40-yard field goals in a season with eight. Hit three from 40 or more against Washington State to tie a school record. Hit a career long 51-yard shot against Indiana. Has made his last 17 field goals dating back to last year to break the old school mark of 15. Has set a record for consecutive makes in Ohio Stadium this year with 11. Is within three of the school single-season record of 19.
Shane Olivea (Junior Offensive Tackle)
Ohio State’s top offensive lineman. Big, strong and quick. Has unbelievable power and is playing his best football this season. Is a superb pass blocker. Sat out the San Jose State game with an injury, but returned to the lineup at Wisconsin.
Darrion Scott (Junior Defensive End)
Has great strength and quickness and has demonstrated a penchant for being able to make big plays. His hit on Washington State quarterback Jason Gesser and Cincinnati’s Gino Guidugli are the stuff that highlight films are made of. Has 32 tackles, including a team-high 4.5 sacks.
Will Smith (Junior Defensive End)
Sensational football player who is almost impossible to block because of his combination of size, power, quickness and savvy. Has 32 tackles on the year, including 8.5 tackles-for-loss and 3.5 sacks. Is capable of wreaking havoc once he gets into the other team’s backfield. Did not expect to play at Wisconsin because of an injury, but toughed it out to the tune of 4 tackles and a sack.
Matt Wilhelm (Senior Linebacker)
Named last week as one of 11 semifinalists for the Butkus Award as college football’s best linebacker. Is in his third year as the starter in the middle. Leads the team (and the Big Ten) in tackles-for-loss with 12. Second on the team overall with 61 total tackles, including a team-high 39 solo stops. Recorded a season-high 15 tackles in the win at Northwestern. Forced a fumble in the win over San Jose State.