Oct. 4, 1999

Two-Deep Chart
Top 25 Polls

A couple of teams looking to turn bad moods into glad moods tangle Saturday in Ohio Stadium as the Ohio State Buckeyes host the Purdue University Boilermakers in a contest scheduled to kick off at 3:36 p.m. ABC will televise this key Big Ten Conference affair to a regional audience with Brent Musburger, Dan Fouts and Jack Arute calling the action. One week ago this was the game of the week. But both teams are now coming off sound losses. Ohio State’s 42-17 drubbing by Wisconsin was most surprising in that it came in Ohio Stadium, where the Badgers have one just three times in their 31 tries. And they did it by overcoming a 17-0 deficit. The loss dropped Ohio State’s record to 3-2 overall and to 0-1 in the Big Ten Conference. It is the first Big Ten-opening loss for Ohio State since 1992. Purdue had its nation’s-best 10-game winning streak halted last weekend by the Michigan Wolverines, 38-12, in Ann Arbor. The loss evened Purdue’s Big Ten mark at 1-1 and left it with a 4-1 overall record.

SO FAR IN 1999
The Buckeyes, a relatively young group with first-year starters at four defensive positions and at six offensive spots, opened with a 23-12 loss to No. 12 Miami in the Kickoff Classic and followed that with wins over No. 13 UCLA (42-20), Ohio (40-16) and Cincinnati (34-20) before the loss to Wisconsin. In each of the first four games Ohio State trailed early but came back to take the lead, winning three. The reverse happened against the Badgers. OSU led 17-0 and had effectively stopped the Badgers and Ron Dayne. But an uncharacteristic second half followed. Purdue, meanwhile, had been cruising along with the nation’s longest winning streak, but star quarterback Drew Brees and the potent Purdue offense was handcuffed by an impressive defensive showing by the Wolverines. Purdue had opened Coach Joe Tiller’s third season at the helm with a 47-13 win at Central Florida and three homefield victories: 28-23 over Notre Dame, 58-16 over Central Michigan and then 31-23 over Northwestern. THE RANKINGS REPORT
Ohio State and Purdue have each dropped out of the ESPN/USA Today Top 10. The Buckeyes fell from No. 9 last week to No. 19 this week while Purdue dropped from No. 10 to a tie for No. 15. In the Associated Press Top 25 poll, Ohio State dropped from No. 12 to No. 21. Purdue is at No. 17 in this week’s AP poll, down from No. 10.

The game will be broadcast around Ohio on the 71-station Ohio State Radio Network with Sports Radio 1460 (AM) The Fan the flagship station. Calling the action and in his second year as play-by-play announcer is Paul Keels. He is assisted in the broadcast booth by third-year analyst Jim Lachey. Jim Karsatos, in his 11th season on the team, provides sideline commentary.

Ohio State and Purdue are meeting for the 44th time and for the 29th time in Columbus in a series that started in 1919. Eighteen of the first 24 games (between 1919 and 1970) were played in Columbus and a 19th was played in Cleveland. There is no apparent reason for the discrepancy in home field games the first 50 years of the rivalry. Since 1970, 10 games have been played at Purdue’s Ross-Ade Stadium and nine at Ohio Stadium. Ohio State leads the all-time series with 31 wins against 10 losses and two ties and has won six-consecutive games over Purdue and 18 of the last 21 dating back to 1968.

Bucks vs. Boilers Quick Facts. . .
• The Buckeyes have won six-consecutive games in the series since losing in John Cooper’s first-year as coach (1988), 31-26, in Ohio Stadium. His teams are 6-1 all-time vs. the Boilermakers.
• Ohio State is 21-5-2 vs. Purdue in Columbus (18-5-2 at Ohio Stadium), 10-4 in West Lafayette and 0-1 on neutral fields (Cleveland Stadium, 1943).
• This is the first-ever head-to-head coaching meeting between John Coopper and Joe Tiller.
• The last time the two teams played, in 1996, OSU third-year quarterbacks coach Tim Salem was Purdue’s offensive coordinator. Salem was an assistant for six years at Purdue, from 1991-96, under Jim Colletto. He was offensive coordinator his last two seasons. When Walt Harris left Ohio State for the Pittsburgh head coaching position following the 1996 season, Cooper hired Salem, who he had previously worked with at Arizona State University.

The 1968 game between Ohio State and Purdue is a signature game in the history of Ohio State football. The Buckeyes, featuring their dynamite class of super sophomores, were 2-0 but still had a questionable reputation heading into a home game against No. 1 Purdue, led by All-America candidates Mike Phipps and Leroy Keyes. The Ohio State defense throttled unbeaten Purdue that day, allowing only 186 yards in a 13-0 win. The OSU defense even scored the first touchdown as Ted Provost intercepted Phipps and returned it 35 yards for a score. The Buckeyes were in the national spotlight following that win and from that point on the momentum snowballed into a 10-0, national championship season.

Purdue is on a roll heading into the Ohio State game, with a 22-8 record and two bowl victories under Joe Tiller. Three times since 1968 the Boilermakers came into games with OSU on high notes: In 1969 they were 7-1 but lost to the Ohio State juggernaut, 42-14, in Ross-Ade Stadium. In 1978 Purdue defeated OSU, 27-16, at Ross-Ade, part of its 9-2-1 Peach Bowl-winning campaign. In 1984 Purdue was 3-1 entering the OSU game and won, 28-23, in West Lafayette, but only finished 7-5 that year.

Ohio State’s 11-1, Rose Bowl-winning campaign in 1996 included a 42-14 win over Purdue at Ross-Ade Stadium. The Boilermakers jumped out to a 14-0 lead behind passing touchdowns of 86- and 55-yards, but the Buckeye defense adjusted and the offense scored six unanswered touchdowns. The game turned on the first play of the second half as Purdue fumbled the kickoff, Ohio State recovered and five plays later took its first lead at 21-14. The Boilermakers never recovered. Matt Keller had his career-long reception in the game, a 63-yard catch-and-run touchdown that boosted the Bucks’ lead to 28-14. Freshman Andy Katzenmoyer led the defense with eight solo tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble and his first collegiate interception.

The 1981 game between Ohio State and Purdue produced the top two passing games by each school in the series. Art Schlichter led OSU to a 45-33 win by completing 19-of-36 passes for 331 yards. Purdue’s Scott Campbell passed for 512 yards, completing 31-of-52. That total represents the second-most passing yards ever against Ohio State. The quarterbacks in the game this week – OSU sophomore Steve Bellisari and Purdue junior Drew Brees – average 161.2 and a Big Ten best 321.6 yards per game. Bellisari ranks 11th nationally in passing efficiency with a 149.4 rating while Brees ranks 34th with a 131.4 rating.

The Buckeyes, who will play a fifth-consecutive home game against Purdue, are about to start a tough series of games. Four of Ohio State’s next five opponents have one or no losses and are nationally ranked by the Associated Press. Following the game this week with 4-1, No. 17 Purdue, the Buckeyes play at No. 2 and 5-0 Penn State, at No. 25 and 4-0 Minnesota, at home against unranked Iowa and then at No. 11 and 5-0 Michigan State.

Ohio State, which had been battling slow starts – it trailed in each of its first four games including 10-0 to UCLA and 17-3 to Cincinnati – snapped that trend last week and jumped on Wisconsin early, leading 17-0 at one point before settling for a 17-6 halftime lead. The offense had contributed 238 yards at the break and was averaging 5.0 yards per rush. Quarterback Steve Bellisari had hooked up with Reggie Germany on a spectacular touchdown. Michael Wiley, rebounding from an end zone fumble, had set up his own touchdown by completing a 17-yard pass to tight end Steve Wisniewski. And the defense was active. It forced a fumble on Wisconsin’s first possession – Na’il Diggs forcing and recovering the fumble – and it had forced three-straight punts on the next three possessions. Ron Dayne? He was held in check with 36 yards on 11 carries. Things looked good on a spectacular fall day in Columbus. And then the second half began.

Wisconsin, super-charged by a gift touchdown (set up by OSU’s fumbled opening kickoff), got on a second-half roll that didn’t end until it had outplayed and outscored Ohio State, 36-0, to complete an improbable 42-17 victory and leave the Buckeyes wondering. “This is one of the few times I can remember when I have no idea how things changed so much in the second half,” senior guard Ben Gilbert said. Added junior defensive end Brent Johnson: “I can’t give you a good excuse and I can’t give you a good analogy of what happened because I don’t know.” The Badgers, with Dayne finishing with 161 yards on 32 carries and four touchdowns, wore down the Buckeyes with long drives – two covered 17 and 16 plays – and then stopped OSU’s offensive attack. The second half stats tell the story: Wisconsin ran 44 plays to Ohio State’s 27, controlled the football for nearly 20 minutes and outgained the Buckeyes, 286 yards to 113. The 42 points was the second-most points scored by an opponent in Ohio Stadium, trailing only Michigan’s 56-point afternoon in 1946.

The game against Wisconsin was extremely physical with seven Buckeyes leaving play at some point with injuries. Four returned to action, but freshman middle linebacker Fred Pagac was lost for the season after he suffered a broken right tibia in the third quarter. He was the only back-up to Jason Ott at middle linebacker, and his loss will cause defensive coordinator Fred Pagac to do some adjusting at the position this week. Starting fullback Matt Keller aggravated a left ankle sprain in the second quarter and he did not return. Reserve defensive end Kenny Peterson left the game and was taken to OSU Medical Center for X-rays to a hip.

Junior All-America candidate Na’il Diggs recorded a career-high 14 tackles against the Badgers. He also had his second forced fumble of the season and his first fumble recovery. His double-figure total was his third this season and it increased his career tackle total to 155, just two behind Gary Berry, the active Buckeye leader with 157. Berry missed the Wisconsin game due to a neck injury.

In addition to Na’il Diggs, four other Buckeyes recorded career highs in tackles against the Badgers. Jason Ott’s 15 tackles was a team season high. Donnie Nickey (14), Percy King (11) and Courtland Bullard (10) also joined Ott and Diggs in double digits with career bests.

Dan Stultz connected on his fifth-consecutive field goal last week, a 35-yarder, and he has now made 7-of-9 this season. His consecutive streak includes field goals from 31, 31, 38, 41 and 35 yards. Stultz also did an excellent job keeping the ball from the Badgers’ dangerous return man – Nick Davis. Stultz’s first two kickoffs went deep into the end zone and two other “pooch” kickoffs were fair caught. Davis was only able to return one of Stultz’s five punts, for 17 yards. Davis entered the contest sixth nationally in kickoff returns and ninth in punt returns.

RB Michael Wiley will
look to crack the Top
10 against Purdue

Michael Wiley continues to climb the career rushing charts at OhioState and he needs just 48 yards to rush into OhioState’s prestigious Top 10 list for career yards gained.Wiley enters the Purdue game ranked 11th with 2,419 yards and justahead of him is 1955 Heisman Trophy winner Howard“Hopalong” Cassady with 2,466 yards. Wileyalready is 10th at Ohio State with 3,483 all-purpose yards. Heneeds 60 all-purpose yards to pass Calvin Murray (3,542 yardsbetween 1977-80) and move into ninth place.

Sophomore fullback Jamar Martin is expected to move back into the starting fullback rotation this week with support from true freshman Nate Stead because of the aggravated left ankle sprain to starter and team co-captain Matt Keller. Martin is 6-1, 245 pounds and Stead is 6-0 and 255 pounds.

Split end Reggie Germany and flanker Ken-Yon Rambo continue to stand out on the receiving end of Steve Bellisari’s bullets. Germany caught his first touchdown of the year against Wisconsin, a 40-yard sensational catch he pulled from his defender. It was part of a three-catch, 81-yard day. Rambo had three receptions for 66 yards. Germany has 23 receptions for 375 yards to rank No. 5 and No 6, respectively, in the Big Ten. Rambo has 22 receptions for 473 yards to rank No. 7 and No. 2, respectively, in the Big Ten. Both players have five career touchdown catches with all five of Rambo’s coming this year.

Quarterback Steve Bellisari has rushed for over 50 yards three times (vs. UCLA, Cincinnati and Wisconsin) and he has passed for over 200 yards twice. Now five games into his quarterbacking career, he has passed for 804 yards and six touchdowns (with just two interceptions) and he has rushed for 147 yards and one touchdown.

Ohio State and its opponents are virtually equal in a number of statistical catetories. OSU is averaging 404.6 yards per game and allowing 396.0. OSU has 97 first downs and its opponents have 97. OSU and its opponents are each averaging 178.8 rushing yards per game. Differences lie in turnovers and time of possession. OSU has committed 15 turnovers and is maintaining control of the ball about 27 minutes per game. OSU’s opponents have committed just 11 turnovers and are holding onto the ball for about 33 minutes per game.

19 – The number of first-half snaps (out of 31) that Ohio State had inside the 50 yard line against Wisconsin.

8 – The number of second-half snaps Ohio State had inside the 50 against UW.

35 – The most points any team has scored against Ohio State since the 1995 season.

36 – Wisconsin’s second-half point total.

714-279-53 – Ohio State’s all-time record in its 110th year of intercollegiate football. Ohio State ranks seventh nationally in all-time victories.

Gary Berry will be back in the starting lineup for the Buckeyes this week after missing the Wisconsin game. . .John Cooper after Michael Wiley fumbled twice against Wisconsin: “I’m not going to give up on Michael Wiley. Michael has done too many good things around here for me to give up on him.”. . .This week’s NCAA rankings list Steve Bellisari 11th nationally with a passing efficiency rating of 149.4. He is the highest nationally-ranked Buckeye. . .Na’il Diggs is tied for fifth in the Big Ten with nine TFLs (for minus 26 yards) and tied for third with two forced fumbles. Diggs has 33 TFLs for his career to rank seventh at Ohio State. His 14 quarterback sacks are tied for sixth. . .Dan Stultz needs just two points to pass Hopalong Cassady and five to pass Tim Spencer and move into eighth place on the all-time OSU scoring list. Stultz has 221 points. Cassady scored 222 and Spencer scored 224. . .Junior Chad Cacchio, a walk-on who has earned a scholarship, made his first “big” grab of his career with a 16-yard reception on third down, giving the Buckeyes a first down against the Badgers. . .Ken-Yon Rambo established a new Ohio State record by becoming the first receiver in school history to record three catches of at least 50 yards in one game. His only three catches against UC, before leaving the game with a slight ankle sprain, covered 59-, 55- and 50-yards. Rambo is also averaging 15.0 yards on three rushing attempts with a long of 22 last weekend vs. Wisconsin. . .Senior tight end Kevin Houser and senior safety Percy King each made their first career starts in the Wisconsin game. . .The Buckeyes have converted on 91 percent of their 23 trips inside the red zone.

Ohio Stadium is in the midst of a three-year, $187 million renovation that will improve aisle widths, seating for the disabled, escalator and elevator services, as well as increase seating capacity to about 97,000 fans. This project, which will be completed in time for the 2001 football season, is the first extensive renovation of Ohio Stadium since it was built in 1922. Last summer construction crews removed the track that surrounded the field for 77 years and completed one of the most crucial aspects of the project: the building of a slurry wall of impermeable concrete around the field, two-to-three feet wide and from ground level to bedrock (approximately 40 feet). East and west side foundations also were built, and demolition began inside of the west side. Following this season, new east-side C Deck stands will be built, the field will be lowered 14-feet-6-inches with new A Level seats to the field, construction will begin on the west side B Deck Suites, the south stands will be permanently built and a new 175-foot high scoreboard (the current scoreboard is 100 feet high) will be constructed behind the south stands.

Ohio State is playing its home games in grand Ohio Stadium, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, for the 78th season. The team has an all-time record of 324-96-20 at Ohio Stadium.

The 1999 season marks the 87th season of Big Ten Conference football for the Buckeyes, who joined the Western Conference in 1913. The Buckeyes have an all-time Big Ten record of 387-145-24 and have won or shared 28 Big Ten titles, second-most in conference history.

Ohio State has the Big Ten Conference’s best conference record (39-9-1) and the most conference championships (3) since Penn State joined the conference in 1993. Ohio State has won 80.6 percent of its Big Ten games since 1993. Penn State (37-12 with one Big Ten title) has won 75.5 percent of its games and Michigan (37-13 with two championships) has won 74.0 percent of its games.

John Cooper’s all-time Big Ten Conference winning percentage of 71.9 percent is the fifth-best winning percentage in Big Ten history. Cooper, who is 62-23-4 in Big Ten games, trails only the legendary likes of Bo Schembechler, Fielding Yost, Woody Hayes and Fritz Crisler.

Ohio State, which has had players win 23 major athletic awards and 17 win National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame Scholarships – the most of any school – has at least three more players who will be in the running for such honors in 1999. Linebacker Na’il Diggs, a preseason All-American, is on the initial “watch list” for the Butkus Award. Senior tailback Michael Wiley, coming off a 1,235-yard rushing year in his first year as a starter, is a Doak Walker Running Back Award nominee. And senior cornerback Ahmed Plummer, another preseason All-American and called the best cover cornerback in the country by OSU secondary coach Jon Tenuta, is on the initial Thorpe Award watch list. He also is Ohio State’s nominee for a National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame Scholarship.

The 1999 Buckeyes will be chasing a fifth-consecutive 10-win-or-more season and the sixth in the last seven years. The Buckeyes are replacing 10 starters from last year, including seven who were selected in the 1999 NFL Draft. Included in the group are four All-Americans – CB Antoine Winfield, SS Damon Moore, SE David Boston and LG Rob Murphy – record-setting quarterback Joe Germaine, flanker Dee Miller, Butkus Award winner Andy Katzenmoyer and punter Brent Bartholomew.

After having their 10-game winning streak snapped last weekend, the Purdue Boilermakers bring their aerial assualt to Ohio Stadium Saturday afternoon. Led by Drew Brees, one of the nation’s most dangerous quarterbacks, Purdue is off to a 4-1 start and was ranked as high as No. 11 in the AP college football poll this year.

Purdue dropped its first decision of the year, 38-12, to Michigan in Ann Arbor. Brees put up 49 passes on the day, completing 20 for 293 yards. Sloppy, rainy conditions dampened the Boilermakers passing game, while Michigan’s Anthony Thomas rolled up 116 yards on the ground.

Purdue QB Drew Brees
would love to add a W
over Ohio State to his
Heisman resume

Through five games, the Boilermakers are throwing the ball nearly twice as much as they are running it. Brees, the 1998 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year as selected by the media, has completed 127 of 221 passes this season for 1,608 yards. Last year he set Big Ten records for passing attempts in a season (569) and a game (83) as well as completions in a season (361) and game (55). He has thrown for 11 touchdowns in five games this year, including a 99-yard toss in a 405-yard day against Northwestern. When Purdue does go to the ground game, J. Crabtree typically carries the load. A junior college transfer, Crabtree carried eight times for 31 yards against the Wolverines. He has 251 yards on 43 carries overall this season (5.8 yards per carry).

Prior to the Michigan game, Purdue was surrendering 346 yards per game, but only 18 points per contest. The Wolverines rolled with 508 yards including 318 through the air. The Boilermakers failed to record a sack or an interception against Michigan. Strong safety Adrian Beasley, who ranked second on the team last year with 69 tackles, is the leader of the defensive unit. He leads the team with 39 tackles and a pair of interceptions. Defensive end Akin Ayodele (pronounced uh-DELL), a sophomore junior college transfer, paces Purdue with five sacks. Purdue’s defense is designed to make the big play. Through four games, the Boilermakers had recorded a whopping 49 tackles for a loss (compared to only 12 by opponents). Only four starters from thes defensive unit last year return for Purdue in 1999.