Oct. 29, 2002
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Football Luncheon Quotes
Top 25 Polls
Buckeyes Put Perfect Mark On Line Against Gophers
Fresh off back-to-back victories over Wisconsin and Penn State, unbeaten and fourth-ranked Ohio State puts its 9-0 mark on the line this week against 7-1 Minnesota. Game time Saturday in sold-out Ohio Stadium (cap. 101,568) is 3:35 p.m. EST on ABC. The regional telecast will be Ohio State’s third-consecutive and fifth overall appearance of the year on the network.
The Buckeyes are now 4-0 in the Big Ten following Saturday’s 13-7 win over visiting Penn State.
Minnesota, idle last week, is 3-1 in the Big Ten. The Gophers and Michigan are third in the league standings behind the Buckeyes and unbeaten Iowa (5-0).
The Buckeyes are off to their best start since the 1996 campaign when they won their first 10 games and finished with an 11-1 record.
Minnesota, ranked 19th this week, is off to its best since 1961 when the Gophers began the year with a 7-1 record and wound up 8-2.
As always, WBNS Radio, the flagship station for the 79-station Ohio State radio network, will have wire-to-wire coverage of the game beginning at 2:30 p.m.
This Week’s Story Line
The Buckeyes are coming off a pair of hard-fought, physical games against Wisconsin and Penn State the past two weekends. OSU played the latter contest without three of its key players – offensive tackle Shane Olivea, linebacker Cie Grant and tailback Maurice Clarett. Olivea underwent an emergency appendectomy Oct. 22, and Grant sat out with a sprained ankle from the Wisconsin game. Clarett, played early against Penn State, but suffered a stinger on the Buckeyes’ opening possession and missed the remainder of the game. The playing status of those three players will be determined later in the week.
Following what turned out to be a relatively easy win 28-7 at Michigan State two weeks ago, Minnesota was off last week, meaning the Gophers should be well rested for their showdown with Ohio State.
Both teams are trying to continue winning streaks.
Going back to last year’s Michigan game, Ohio State has won 10-consecutive regular season and five-consecutive Big Ten games. Since opening the 2002 Big Ten campaign with a loss at Purdue, the Gophers have reeled off three conference wins in a row.
Gamble Stars in Win over Penn State
To a large extent, it was the Chris Gamble Show Saturday. Gamble, the Buckeyes’ starting flanker, also started at cornerback against Penn State – the first Ohio State player to start both ways in nearly 40 years. Gamble, a 6-2, 180-pound sophomore from Sunrise, Fla., responded by coming up with the play of the game – a 40-yard interception return for a touchdown that turned out to be Ohio State’s only TD against the Nittany Lions. He was on the field for 95 plays against the Nittany Lions on offense, defense and special teams.
With OSU trailing 7-3 in the opening minutes of the second half, Gamble picked off his team-leading third interception of the year and weaved his way into the end zone for a 10-7 Buckeye lead.
Thanks to a stellar defensive effort that held the Nittany Lions to 58 total yards in the second half, the Buckeyes held on for a 13-7 victory and their fifth-consecutive win over Penn State in Columbus.
The Buckeyes played the game without starting right tackle Shane Olivea, who underwent an emergency appendectomy last week. Additionally, starting linebacker Cie Grant missed the game because of an ankle sprain suffered two weeks ago at Wisconsin. To make matters worse, starting tailback Maurice Clarett suffered a stinger on the Buckeyes’ first series and missed the rest of the game.
Freshmen Rob Sims and A. J. Hawk filled in more than adequately for Olivea and Grant, respectively. Sims played the entire game at left tackle (allowing Ivan Douglas to move to the right side in place of Olivea) and Hawk had five tackles and an interception as Grant’s replacement.
With Clarett out of the lineup, sophomores Lydell Ross and Maurice Hall combined for 60 yards at the tailback position and quarterback Craig Krenzel ran for 39.
Buckeye punter Andy Groom played a vital part in the victory with punts of 59 and 55 yards late in the game. A pair of 37-yard field goals by Mike Nugent accounted for the remainder of Ohio State’s scoring.
The OSU defense, which for the third consecutive week blanked its opponent in the second half, was led by Matt Wilhelm with eight tackles and a forced fumble. The Nittany Lions had just 179 yards on the day, well below their season average of 440.
In addition to his interception, Gamble broke up two passes. He also had one tackle – a touchdown saving stop that followed an OSU fumble at about the 1-yard line.
A Quick Glance At The Coaches
Jim Tressel is in his second year at Ohio State, where his record of 16-5 for all games includes a 9-3 mark in Big Ten play. Tressel, now in his 17th season as a head coach, has a career record of 151-62-2. 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 1-0 against Minnesota, recording a 31-28 win last year in Minneapolis.
Ohio State graduate and former OSU assistant coach Glen Mason is in his sixth year at Minnesota and his 17th season as a head coach. His record with the Gophers is 33-33 and his career mark is 92-97-1. He is 1-4 against Ohio State.
Tressel and Mason spent three years together as assistants at Ohio State on Earle Bruce’s staff (1983-85). Both left following the 1985 season, Tressel to become the head coach at Youngstown State and Mason to become the head coach at Kent State.
Buckeyes In The Polls
Following the win over Penn State, Ohio State remains fourth in the ESPN/USA Today weekly poll, but the Buckeyes have dropped two spots to sixth place in voting by the Associated Press pollsters. Ohio State began this season ranked 12th by ESPN/USA Today and 13th by the Associated Press. They have been in the Top 10 for eight-consecutive weeks. In the first BCS poll, which was released last week, Ohio State was ranked sixth.
|Head Coach Jim Tressel|
Coach Tressel On The Buckeyes
“We have played two very physical football teams the past two weeksand we are a little banged up, but I didn’t see anyone out theremaking excuses against Penn State. We just hung in there and founda way to win. You have to do that and I am really proud of theeffort this team gives for 60 minutes. Now we have to get ready forour next hurdle (Minnesota), and everyone knows what they did to ushere two years ago when we were unbeaten (The Gophers upset the 5-0and fifth ranked Buckeyes 29-17 in Ohio Stadium on Homecoming).”
For the second-consecutive week, senior punter Andy Groom has been named Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week. In Saturday’s 13-7 win over Penn State, Groom averaged 48.6 yards on five punts. He boomed punts of 59 and 55 yards late in the fourth quarter when the Buckeyes were pinned deep in their own territory. He also dropped two punts inside the Penn State 20-yard line.
Groom’s performance Saturday comes on the heels of an even more impressive effort at Wisconsin, where he averaged 50.2 yards on six kicks, including a career-long 74-yard kick late in the game that pinned the Badgers deep in their own territory.
Groom leads the Big Ten in punting with an average of 45.7 on 32 kicks.
Chris Gamble, Ohio State’s do-it-all sophomore, certainly has demonstrated a flare for the dramatic this year.
In Saturday’s 13-7 win over Wisconsin, Gamble, who started at both cornerback and flanker, scored Ohio State’s only touchdown, returning an interception 40 yards to give the Buckeyes a 10-7 lead.
That was Gamble’s third interception of the year. His first came at Cincinnati, where on his first play as a defensive back, he picked off a pass in the endzone to help preserve a 23-19 victory. Later in that game, he also swatted away a pass in the corner of the endzone.
Interception No. 2 came at Wisconsin. With Ohio State leading 19-14 and the Badgers driving deep into Buckeye territory, Gamble again came up with a pick in the endzone, thus denying the Badgers on their final scoring threat.
“Chris is a special player,” said Ohio State coach Jim Tressel. “We felt, based on his ability, that he deserved to start both ways. We probably played him more than we wanted to against Penn State (95 plays), but you need your best players in there when the game is in doubt.”
A Look At The Buckeyes
Off to their best start since 1996, the Buckeyes have demonstrated the ability to win the close ones (3-0 in games decided by six or less points).
The OSU defense has been superb the past two weeks, blanking both Wisconsin and Penn State in the second half. The Badgers were held to zero yards rushing in the fourth quarter and the Nittany Lions to 58 yards in the second half.
On the year, Ohio State is giving up 13.9 points and 327.1 yards per game. The first figure leads the Big Ten and the latter is second among conference teams. The Buckeyes also are second in the Big Ten in rushing defense, allowing 82.2 yards per game. Ohio State has given up just four rushing touchdowns this season, two of those coming the past two weeks – one each by Wisconsin and Penn State, two of the league’s most renowned running teams.
Penn State managed just 179 total yards against Ohio State – 81 rushing and 98 passing. Both figures are well below the Nittany Lions’ season averages in those two categories.
Ohio State’s opportunistic defense has come up with key turnovers when the game is in doubt. At Cincinnati, the Buckeyes came away with three turnovers on the Bearcats’ final three possessions in a 23-19 win. In a 27-16 win at Northwestern, the Buckeyes had an interception and a fumble recovery on the Wildcats’ last two drives. At Wisconsin, Chris Gamble’s interception in the end zone blunted the Badgers’ last scoring threat and the Buckeyes held on for a 19-14 victory. This past week, OSU intercepted Penn State quarterback Zack Mills three times, one of which Gamble returned 40 yards for a touchdown in the Buckeyes’ 13-7 win. The Buckeyes have 19 takeaways on the year, seven fumble recoveries and 12 interceptions.
Seniors Matt Wilhelm and Michael Doss lead OSU in tackles with 69 and 63, respectively, Led by junior ends Will Smith and Darrion Scott, Ohio State has recorded 60 tackles-for-loss and 23 sacks (third in the Big Ten).
The Ohio State offense, meanwhile, is averaging 33.1 points and 406 yards per game. The Buckeyes are rushing for 219.6 yards per game (second in the Big Ten) and throwing for 187.3 (ninth). The Buckeyes have rushed for 21 touchdowns and passed for nine. OSU has converted 39 percent of its third down opportunities and is second in the Big Ten in red zone conversions (36 of 41). The Buckeyes lead the Big Ten in time of possession.
Junior quarterback Craig Krenzel has thrown for 1,387 yards and freshman tailback Maurice Clarett has rushed for 1,019 yards. Fourteen different Ohio State players have caught passes this year.
The Buckeyes also have been sound in the kicking game. Punter Andy Groom leads the Big Ten with an average of 45.7 yards per kick and place-kicker Mike Nugent is a perfect 18-for-18 in the field goal department. Gamble is one of the top kick and punt return specialists in the Big Ten and a threat to score whenever he touches the ball.
Nugent Putting Up Groza-Like Numbers
Sophomore kicker Mike Nugent stayed perfect Saturday,booting a pair of 37-yard field goals against Penn State to givehim 18 in a row this year and 19 in a row dating back to lastyear’s Michigan game. Nugent now needs one more field goal in theBuckeyes’ five remaining games to tie the school single-seasonrecord of 19 set by Dan Stultz in 2000.
With 18 straight this year, Nugent is approaching the NCAA single season mark of 25 set by Chuck Nelson (University of Washington) in 1982. Nugent, a strong candidate for the Lou Groza Award as the nation’s best collegiate place-kicker, already has set five records this year: most consecutive field goals made (19), most consecutive field goals made in a season (18), most consecutive field goals in Ohio Stadium (13), most consecutive games with at least one field goal (9), and most field goals of 40 or more yards in a season (8). He also tied the school mark for 40-yard field goals in a game (3 vs. Washington State).
The Centerville, Ohio, product is second in the Big Ten in kick scoring with an average of 9.6 points a game, a figure that ranks fourth overall scoring.
Mike Nugent’s 2002 Records
Consecutive Field Goals Made – 19
Consecutive Field Goals/Season – 18
Consecutive FG Made At Home – 13
Consecutive Games with A FG – 9
40-yard Field Goals in a Season – 8
40-yard Field Goals in a Game – 3*
*Ties record (Washington State)
Clarett Now Over 1,000
Freshman tailback Maurice Clarett carried the ball just four times Saturday against Penn State before leaving the game with a shoulder injury. But those four carries, which resulted in 39 yards, were enough to get Clarett a place in the Ohio State records book as just the second true freshman to rush for 1,000 or more yards in a season. The 6-0, 230-pound Clarett now has 1,019 yards on the year, an average of 127.4 yards per game and an average of 6.2 yards per carry on 165 attempts. He is the eighth freshman in NCAA Division I history to top the 1,000 mark. Robert Smith is the only other OSU frosh to do so, finishing the 1990 campaign with 1,126 yards, meaning Clarett needs 114 yards to set the OSU freshman rushing record.
Clarett is second in the Big Ten in rushing and even though he has not scored a touchdown the last two games, still leads the conference in scoring with an average of 11.2 points a game. He also is third in all-purpose running with an average of 136.2 yards per game.
Ohio State’s Top Five Freshmen Rushers Name Yards Year Games Robert Smith 1,126 1990 12 Maurice Clarett 1,019 2002 8 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 is the Buckeyes’ second leading tackler with 63 total stops, including a season-high 14 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 151-62-2, including a 16-5 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 430 games.
Wilhelm Butkus Award Semifinalist
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 total tackles with a career-high 69, including a team-best 45 solo stops. He also has a team-high 12.5 tackles for loss and is tied for the Big Ten lead in that all-important category.
M.J. Leads OSU Receiving Corps
Junior split end Michael Jenkins has at least one reception in 21-consecutive games dating back to the 2001 season opener against Akron. Jenkins had three receptions against Penn State and now has 40 receptions on the year. He leads the team in receiving yardage (684), yards per catch (17.1) and touchdown receptions (4). He ranks ninth in the Big Ten in both receptions per game (4.44) and eighth in receiving yards per game (76.0).
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. Senior punter Andy Groom and junior guard Bryce Bishop will serve in that capacity against Minnesota. Offensive captains to date have been: Krenzel (Texas Tech and Penn State), 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 62.7 percent of his passes for the Buckeyes and currently ranks second in the Big Ten in passing efficiency with a rating of 150.1. The 6-4 Krenzel, who is 10-1 as a starter (actually 10-0 in games where he has played extensively), has completed 99 of 158 passes for 1,387 yards and nine touchdowns. He has been intercepted four times (twice at Cincinnati and twice vs. Penn State). 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 Penn State, Ohio State now has an all-time record of 741-292-53 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 404-155-24 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.
All are in the two deep and have played at crunch time. Clarett, of course, is the starting tailback. Sims has started three times at left tackle and Underwood twice at corner. Hawk started the Penn State game and had five tackles and an interception (his second of the year) against the Nittany Lions.
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-Minnesota Series
Ohio State has a commanding 36-7 lead in the series, which began in 1921 in Columbus. The Buckeyes won that game 27-0 and have since gone on to win 18 of the 21 contests held in Columbus. Minnesota’s first win in Columbus came in 1940 on the Gophers’ initial visit to Ohio Stadium. They also won in 1949 in Columbus. But win No. 3 did not come until 2000, when the visiting Gophers upset the No. 5 Buckeyes 29-17 in the Horseshoe, ending a string of 15-consecutive losses in Columbus. The 2000 game also snapped a streak of 16-consecutive Ohio State wins over the Gophers dating back to 1982. Between 1969 and 1999, Ohio State won 27 of the 28 games played between the two teams. In last year’s game in Minneapolis, the Buckeyes prevailed 31-28.
Top individual performances in the series include 362 yards passing and three touchdowns by Ohio State quarterback Greg Frey in 1989, a wild-and-wooly shootout won by the Buckeyes 41-37 after Minnesota had taken a 31-0 lead in the early going. In 1981, Minnesota QB Mike Hohensee set a school record by passing for 444 yards and five touchdowns in a 35-31 upset of the Buckeyes in Minneapolis.
The Buckeyes best offensive output in the series was 585 yards in 1998. Minnesota amassed 505 yards against OSU in 1979. OSU’s most decisive victory was in 1983, 69-18, in Columbus. The Gophers’ most lopsided win was a 27-0 blanking in 1949.
Recapping Last Year’s Game
Steve Bellisari threw for a pair of touchdowns and tailback Jonathan Wells ran for two more as the Buckeyes held off the host Gophers 31-28 in the Metrodome. Mike Nugent’s 35-yard field goal with 4:17 to play in the game put OSU on top 31-20 and offset a final touchdown by Minnesota signal caller Asad Abdul Khaliq. Minnesota led 20-14 midway through the third quarter, but OSU scored 17-unanswered points before a 2-yard run by Abdul-Kahliq with 1:55 to play. OSU’s Chris Vance recovered the on-side kick attempt by the Gophers and OSU was able to run out the clock. Bellisari accounted for 269 yards in total offense and Wells carried 24 times for 152 yards. Defensive tackle Tim Anderson forced two fumbles and recorded a pair of sacks for the Buckeyes.
Scouting the Golden Gophers
Minnesota is off to its best start since the 1961 season, when the Golden Gophers also opened the season with a 7-1 record. This season, Minnesota opened with four-consecutive wins against Southwest Texas State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Toledo and Buffalo before getting surprised by Purdue in West Lafayette. Since then, the Golden Gophers are riding a three-game win streak and have climbed as high as No. 19 this week in the polls after wins against Illinois, Northwestern and Michigan State.
On offense, Minnesota is averaging 441.5 yards and 33.5 points per game, that total includes a lofty 271.1 yards on the ground. Terry Jackson II leads the Gophers with 1,031 yards, an average of 128.9 per game, and three touchdowns. Thomas Tapeh leads the team with seven rushing touchdowns and is second on the team with 90.5 yards per game. Quarterback Asad Abdul-Khaliq is completing nearly 54 percent of his passes (88-of-164) for 1,241, an average of 177.3 yards per game, and 14 touchdowns. His primary target is Ben Utecht, who has 25 grabs for 324 yards and five TDs.
Defensively, Minnesota is holding opponents to 314.6 yards and 17.0 points per game. The Golden Gophers are giving up 125.8 yards rushing and 188.9 yards passing. The defense has forced 10 fumbles, has four interceptions and has sacked opposing quarterbacks 22 times for a loss of 135 yards. Linebacker Ben West is the leading tackler for Minnesota. He has 69 tackles, including 49 solo tackles and five tackles for losses totaling 11 yards. Defensive end Charlton Keith has seven sacks for losses of 45 yards.
Preston Gruening is averaging 40.9 yards on his 37 punts this season. He has downed 12 inside the 20-yard line with a long of 61 yards and has yet to be blocked. Dan Nystrom has made 10-of-11 field goals with his only miss (from 36 yards) coming in the 13-point loss to Purdue. His season long of 49 was on his next kick. Danny Upchurch has returned 31 punts for the Gophers for 241 yards, an average of 7.8 per return. Eight different players have returned 22 kicks for Minnesota, with Antoine Burns leading the team with nine returns for 190 yards, an average of 21.1 yards.
Minnesota’s Last Game
Minnesota won its seventh game of the season with a 28-7 decision at Michigan State Oct. 19. The Spartans got on the board early, scoring a touchdown on the first drive of the game, but the Golden Gophers shut out Michigan State for the remainder of the contest. Terry Jackson made history as the first Minnesota running back to rush for 200 yards in back-to-back games, finishing with 29 carries for 238 yards, following a 239-yard effort against Northwestern last week. Jackson’s effort was part of a 390-yard rushing effort by the Gophers on the ground.
Coach Glen Mason
Glen Mason, a 1972 graduate of The Ohio State University, is in his sixth season as the head coach at Minnesota, where he has a 33-33 record. Now in his 17th season as a collegiate head coach, he is 92-97-1. Prior to arriving in Minneapolis, Mason spent nine seasons at Kansas, where he was 47-54-1, and two seasons at Kent State, where he was 12-10. Mason guided the Golden Gophers to back-to-back bowl appearances (1999 and 2000) for just the third time in school history. His 1999 team finished 8-4 and No. 12 in the nation, the highest ranking for the Gophers in 32 years. Mason began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Ball State and also included stops at Allegheny College, Iowa State and Illinois, before a return to Ohio State from 1978-85, the last six seasons as the offensive coordinator under Earle Bruce.
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. This week’s players are Andy Groom, Dustin Fox and Kenny Peterson.
Weekly Interview Schedule
Ohio State players will be available for interviews following the conclusion of practice and meetings on Tuesdays throughout the season. The first 30 minutes of each Tuesday’s practice are open to the media and photographers are permitted to shoot practice during that time. Coach Tressel and two designated assistant coaches are available for interviews after Thursday practices. This week’s assistants are Jim Bollman and Mark Snyder.
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.
Ohio State At Purdue Next Week
The Buckeyes take to the road next week to play the Purdue Boilermakers in Ross-Ade Stadium. The game will kickoff at noon (ET) and will be telecast by ABC.
Game 1 Recap – Texas Tech (W 45-21)
Ohio State opened the 2002 campaign Aug. 24 with a convincing 45-21 victory over Texas Tech in the Pigskin Classic. It was 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 – at 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 – at N’western (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.
Game 8 Recap – at Wisconsin (W 19-14)
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 somehow wrestled the ball away from two defenders and then held on to it as he slammed to the turf.
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.
BUCKEYES TO WATCH…
Maurice Clarett (Freshman Tailback)
Sensational freshman, who has taken the college football world by storm. Leads the Big Ten in scoring and is second in rushing average. Has recorded 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 1,019 yards and is just the 8th freshman to top the 1,000-yard mark.
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. Team’s second leading tackler. 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. Starts at flanker and cornerback. Second leading receiver with 21 for 336 yards and an average of 16.0 yards per catch. Leads the team in interceptions with three, including a 40-yard TD return against Penn State that was the key play in the Buckeyes’ 13-7 victory. All three of his interceptions have 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 leading candidate for the Ray Guy Award. Averages 45.7 yards and leads the Big Ten. Has been brilliant the past two weeks, averaging 50.2 yards per punt on six kicks at Wisconsin (the third best single-game effort in OSU annals) and 48.6 yards on five punts against Penn State. Had a career-long 74-yard kick at Wisconsin late in the game. Had kicks of 59 and 55 yards in the waning stages of the Penn State game. Is a former walk-on, who has since been converted to scholarship. Also holds on placements. Selected as the Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week each of the past two weeks.
Craig Krenzel (Junior Quarterback)
Has helped lead the Buckeyes to their best start since 1996 and has engineered come-from-behind wins against Washington State, Cincinnati, Northwestern, Wisconsin and Penn State. Is 10-1 as a starter dating back to last year (that one loss was against South Carolina in the bowl game when he played sparingly). Makes few mistakes, has a strong arm and also is a surprisingly effective runner. Has completed 62.7 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. Heady competitor who keeps his team on the left side of the ledger.
Mike Jenkins (Junior Split End)
The Buckeyes leading receiver with 40 receptions and four of the team’s 11 touchdown catches. Has caught at least one pass in 21-consecutive games and has 26 receptions in the past five games. Topped the 100-yard mark in receiving against San Jose State and Wisconsin. 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. Is also surprisingly physical and able to fight for extra yards after being hit by a defender.
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 19 field goals dating back to last year to break the old school mark of 15 (Vlade Janakievski in 1979-8). Has set a record for consecutive makes in Ohio Stadium this year with 13. Is within one 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. Missed the Penn State game after undergoing surgery to remove his appendix.
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 34 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 33 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 earlier this month 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 12.5. Also tops the team in total tackles with 69 and in solos with 45, both career highs. Recorded a season-high 15 tackles in the win at Northwestern. Forced a fumble against Penn State and was the Buckeyes’ leading tackler with eight total stops.