Sept. 1, 2014

QB J.T. Barrett completed 12 of 15 passes for 226 yards and 2 TDs vs. Navy in his first collegiate game.
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  • Ohio State enters Saturday with the nation’s longest regular-season winning streak at 25 games.
  • Ohio State and Virginia Tech are meeting for the first time Saturday.
  • Ohio State has won 35 consecutive home openers; the last loss coming in 1978 to Penn State.
  • The Buckeyes are 112-8-4 all-time in home openers since 1890.
  • Ohio State is 39-22 all-time in night games (games 5 p.m. or later) and have won its last five night games at Ohio Stadium.
  • Ohio State has not lost a night game at Ohio Stadium since 2009 (USC).
  • Ohio State is 74-7 overall at Ohio Stadium since the start of the 2002 season.
  • Ohio State has won 64 consecutive regular-season home games against unranked, non-conference opponents. The last loss: 34-17 to Florida State, Oct. 2, 1982.
  • Redshirt freshman QB J.T. Barrett was named the Big Ten co-Freshman of the Week for his performance in the win vs. Navy.
  • Head coach Urban Meyer is 48-4 in his career in games played in August/September.

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

Official capacity of Ohio Stadium is now 104,944. That total includes only fans in seats. When additional individuals in the stadium – concession workers, ushers, security detail, teams and team staff, cheerleaders, officials and members of the media – are added into the total one can expect a crowd Saturday night near or above 108,000 fans. The old capacity of Ohio Stadium – 102,329 – produced two crowds in excess of 106,000, including the school record of 106,102 vs. Nebraska in 2012.

Top 5 Ohio Stadium crowds
106,102 vs. Nebraska; Oct. 6, 2012
106,033 vs. USC; Sept. 12, 2009
105,899 vs. Penn State; Oct. 26, 2013
105,899 vs. Michigan; Nov. 24, 2012
105,826 vs. Wisconsin; Sept. 25, 2013

Ohio State has had 85 consecutive crowds in excess of 100,000. The last time Ohio State did not have at least 100,000 at a home game in Ohio Stadium: the 2002 season vs. Kent when 98,689 were on hand for the second game of what would become a national championship-winning season.

Ohio State has won 35 consecutive home-opening games with the last loss happening 37 years ago – Sept. 16, 1978 – when Joe Paterno’s No. 5 Penn State team defeated No. 6 Ohio State, 19-0, to open what would ultimately be Woody Hayes’ final season as head coach.

The Ohio State Department of Athletics sold more than its allotment of student season tickets this year and as a result more than 29,000 students will be in the stands for home games this season. Students were allotted 28,333 season ticket packages (full season and Big Ten games-only) but demand prompted the ticket office to keep selling and an additional 1,281 season ticket packages were sold for a total of 29,614.

Ohio State student ticket packages sold
2014 Season – 29,614 ticket packages sold
2013 Season – 26,304 sold
2012 Season – 25,798 sold
2011 Season* – 22,797 sold
2010 Season* – 29,701 sold
2009 Season* – 27,960 sold
*Packages these years, when Ohio State was on the quarter system and classes didn’t start until mid-September, consisted only of last four or five games of the season.

Archie Griffin, the president of the Ohio State Alumni Association and the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner, will be honored in between the first and second quarters Saturday. The 2014 season marks the 40th anniversary of his winning his first Heisman Trophy; and he will also be honored for being named as the Rose Bowl’s 100th Anniversary all-time player.

The 1974 team will also be honored during the Virginia Tech game. This team, coached by Woody Hayes and captained by Archie Griffin, Steve Myers, Arnold Jones, Neal Colzie and Pete Cusick, went 10-2 overall and claimed a share of the Big Ten championship with a 7-1 league mark. The Buckeyes’ won their first eight games of the season and were the No. 1-ranked team for seven weeks before a 16-13 loss at Michigan State. The team rallied, though, with wins over Iowa and Michigan to earn a Rose Bowl berth.

Virginia Tech started the season with a 34-9 win over visiting William & Mary Saturday. The Hokies are coming off a 2013 season where they finished 8-5 and 5-3 in the ACC Coastal Division. They ended their season with a 42-12 loss to UCLA in the Sun Bowl and return nine starters on offense and five on defense.

Freshman running back Shai McKenzie led the Hokies on the ground in the win over William & Mary with nine carries for 106 yards and one TD. Sophomore RB Trey Edmunds also is back after rushing for 675 yards and 10 TDs last season. Michael Brewer has replaced the departed Logan Thomas at QB, throwing for 251 yards on 23 of 30 passing with two TDs and one INT in Saturday’s win. Ten different players caught passes for the Hokies Saturday, six of those by freshman tight end Bucky Hodges for 38 yards and one TD.

Defensively, Marcus Harvey and Luke Rhodes led Virginia Tech with 11 tackles each in Saturday’s win.

Head coach Frank Beamer is in his 28th season at Virginia Tech with a record of 225-109-2 entering Saturday. He has led the Hokies to 21 consecutive bowl appearances, four ACC titles, five ACC Coastal Division crowns, three BIG EAST Conference titles, six BCS appearances and a trip to the national championship game. Under his guidance, the Hokies have finished in the Top 20 in 16 of the past 21 seasons, including four top-10 finishes during the last 10 years.

The Buckeyes are 39-16-1 all-time against current members of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Ohio State has never played Wake Forest, Georgia Tech or Virginia Tech before Saturday:

Boston College 3-0
Clemson 0-2
Duke 3-1
Florida State 0-3
Georgia Tech 0-0
Louisville 2-0
Miami (FL 2-2
North Carolina 3-1
North Carolina State 2-0
Pittsburgh 19-5-1
Syracuse 4-2
Virginia 1-0
Virginia Tech 0-0
Wake Forest 0-0
Total 39-16-1

Urban Meyer: 25-2 AT OHIO STATE
Urban Meyer, the two-time national champion coach who has the highest winning percentage – .837; 129-25 – of any active coach with at least 10 years of experience, is in his third season as Ohio State coach. He is 25-2 overall and 16-0 in Big Ten Conference games. His Buckeyes set a school record with a 24-game winning streak (fourth-longest in Big Ten history) and Meyer became the first coach in major college history to win 20-or-more consecutive games on three different occasions. His teams have finished atop the Leaders Division in the Big Ten in each of the past two seasons.

Head coach Urban Meyer is 13-0 all-time in season openers with an average margin of victory of 29.2 points.

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

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

Ohio State’s all-time winning streak may have ended, but the 2014 Ohio State team can make additional winning streak history. The Big Ten Conference records for regular season wins (28; Michigan 1901-03 and Ohio State 2005-07) and regular season Big Ten wins (20; Ohio State 2005-07) are each in play with Ohio State idling on 25 consecutive regular season wins and 16 consecutive Big Ten wins. These won’t be easy streaks to top: unbeaten Ohio State would have to win at Maryland Oct. 4 and at Michigan State Nov. 8 to set new marks.

Last season Urban Meyer became the first head coach at the highest level of the collegiate coaching ranks (major college, Division I, FBS, etc.) to have three winning streaks of at least 20 games. A total of 40 head coaches at this level have lead a team to a winning streak of at least 20 games. Nine of those coaches have had two winning streaks of at least 20 wins. Meyer is the first to add a third such winning streak to his name.

The win over Navy snapped a two-game losing streak for coach Urban Meyer’s team. Meyer has had just one losing streak reach three games in his 154-game head coaching career: in 2010 at Florida. He has had only four multi-game losing streaks in all, with all of them two-game streaks except for the 2010 trio while at Florida. The others: in 2002 at Bowling Green; 2007 at Florida; and 2013 at Ohio State.

Ohio State opened its 125th football season with a hard-fought, 34-17 victory over Navy in front of 57,579 fans at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium. The Buckeyes had 11 first time starters line up against a Midshipmen team that has the most wins against the “Power Five” conferences – 21 – than any non-power five school. After trailing at halftime, 7-6, Ohio State outscored Navy, 28-10, in the second half. Red-shirt freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett was solid in his collegiate debut, completing 12 of 15 passes for 226 yards with one interception and two touchdowns. He also led the team with 50 yards rushing. Sophomore safety Tyvis Powell led the defense with a career-high 13 tackles while freshman linebacker Darron Lee took a Joey Bosa forced fumble 61-yards for a score … one of the decisive plays of the game.

Ohio State had 11 players make their first collegiate start in the Navy game: six on offense and five on defense. The offensive line featured four new starters (although LG Pat Elflein had one previous start) with C Jacoby Boren, RG Billy Price and RT Darryl Baldwin making their first starts along with QB J.T. Barrett, WR Michael Thomas and RB Ezekiel Elliott.

Making their first starts on defense were three red-shirt freshmen – LBs Darron Lee and Chris Worley and CB Eli Apple – along with senior DE Steve Miller and sophomore safety Cam Burrows.

Just over 45 percent of Ohio State’s players in its season opener were either freshman or sophomores (22 of 48). The total number included 12 true or red-shirt freshmen. True freshmen seeing playing time: RB Curtis Samuel, LB Raekwon McMillan and K Sean Nuernberger.

J.T. Barrett’s 226 passing yards in his first start represents the third-highest total in an Ohio State quarterback’s debut start. The most: fifth-year senior Kenny Guiton’s 276 yards vs. California in the third game last year.

Most passing yards in first start
1. 276 – Kenny Guiton vs. California, 2013
2. 243 – Steve Bellisari vs. Ohio, 1999
3. 226 – J.T. Barrett vs. Navy, 2014
4. 182 – Art Schlichter vs. Penn State, 1978
5. 180 – Joe Germaine vs. Illinois, 1996

J.T. Barrett had the Buckeyes deep inside of Navy territory midway through the second quarter and looking for the go-ahead touchdown when he threw an interception on first-and-goal from the 8. He wasn’t fazed by the miscue. From that point forward he was 4-of-4 passing for 130 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown pass to Devin Smith to give the Buckeyes the lead for good, and a 9-yard touchdown pass to Michael Thomas to complete the scoring. He was named the Big Ten Conference’s co-freshman of the week for his efforts. Sharing the honor: Penn State receiver DaeSean Hamilton (11 receptions for 165 yards).

Freshmen and sophomores on offense accounted for 189 of the team’s 194 rushing yards vs. Navy, for eight of the 12 receptions (for 108 yards) and scored three of the team’s four touchdowns. In addition to J.T. Barrett’s team-leading 50 rushing yards, freshman Curtis Samuel rushed for 45, sophomore Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 44 with one score and sophomore Dontre Wilson rushed for 43 yards.

Michael Thomas (three receptions for 39 yards and one score), Wilson (two for 46, respectively) and Jalin Marshall (two for 19) each had multiple receptions for the Buckeyes.

Devin Smith: 19 CAREER TDs AT 41.7 YARDS PER SCORE
Devin Smith has caught 19 career touchdown passes at an average distance of 41.7 yards per score. Smith, who has 90 career receptions for 1,666 yards, is tied for fifth all-time with Joey Galloway and Dane Sanzenbacher at Ohio State with his 19 TD receptions.

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

Navy rushed for 370 yards vs. the Buckeyes, but it’s what they do. The last six years the Midshipmen have ranked 2nd, 6th, 4th, 6th, 1st and 1st nationally among major schools in rushing offense. The 370 yards marked a school-record seventh-consecutive game for Navy of over 300 yards rushing. The total did not even crack Navy’s Top 50 rushing games.

Ohio State gave up four rushes of 20-or-more yards vs. the Midshipmen, but after the last of those runs – a 67-yarder on a drive to put Navy up 14-13 early in the third quarter – the Buckeye defense limited Navy to just 117 yards on its final 30 attempts of the game, including just 36 yards on 10 fourth-quarter carries.

Tyvis Powell wondered aloud after the game why he was sore; it’s probably because he recorded a career-high 13 tackles to lead the Buckeye defense. Eight of his stops were solo. He had help on a day when the Buckeyes had 84 total solo and assisted tackles: junior LB Joshua Perry had nine while sophomore SAF Vonn Bell, freshman LB Darron Lee and senior LB Curtis Grant all had seven.

Darron Lee finished off one of the decisive plays of the Navy game when he picked up a Keenan Reynolds fumble, caused by a hard-charging Joey Bosa, and raced 61-yards into the end zone for a momentum-swinging touchdown that gave the Buckeyes their first lead of the game. Lee’s big day also featured two tackles-for-losses of three yards and a quarterback hurry.


Curtis Grant, though, produced arguably the defensive play of the game. Midway through the third quarter it’s Navy’s ball – after stopping the Buckeyes on fourth-and-2 from the Navy 45 – facing a second-and-12 from the OSU 34. If Navy scores on this drive, the Buckeyes are in a bad situation. Grant sacks Keenan Reynolds for an 11-yard loss and following an incompletion, Navy punts into the end zone and the Buckeyes take over on their own 20. J.T. Barrett hits Devin Smith for the 80-yard score on the next play and the Buckeyes have the lead for good.

Offense – Player of the game: Ezekiel Elliott. Also: Devin Smith, Evan Spencer, Dontre Wilson, Jeff Heuerman, Nick Vannett, Taylor Decker and Darryl Baldwin.

Defense – Darron Lee, Doran Grant, Tyvis Powell.

Special Teams – Player of the game: Armani Reeves. Also: Devin Smith, Craig Fada, Rod Smith, Vonn Bell and Sean Neurnberger.

Ohio State received fine performances from its Australian punter Cameron Johnston and its half-German kicker Sean Nuernberger (his father, Kai, was born in Germany, immigrated to the U.S. in the 1980s and was an outstanding point guard for the Southern Illinois Salukis). Johnston averaged 55.5 yards on two punts, including one downed at the 1.

Neurnberger was 2-for-2 in field goals, including a 46-yarder for Ohio State’s first points of the season. He also had a 28-yard field goal in the first half for Ohio State’s only other points of the half. He was also good on four extra points for a 10-point game.

850 – The win over Navy was the 850th victory in school history. Ohio State ranks fifth all-time in NCAA Division I history in wins.

14 – The win was also the 14th consecutive in a season opener for Ohio State, a streak that is fifth-longest nationally.

63 – Number of rushing attempts for Navy, the most by an Ohio State opponent in 26 years, or since Pittsburgh rushed the football 64 times in 1988.

3 – Ohio State scored touchdowns on its last three offensive possessions against Navy.

9:48 – Ohio State’s possession time in the decisive fourth quarter vs. Navy. The Buckeyes outgained and outscored the Midshipmen by margins of 150-36 and 14-3, respectively, in the quarter.

0 – Fumbles and fumbles lost for the Buckeyes.

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

Ohio State has an all-time record of 411-109-20 in Ohio Stadium and the stadium has an official capacity of 104,944. The Buckeyes have not played before fewer than 100,000 fans in the last 85 games. Ohio State has played before more than 105,000 fans 48 times with a record crowd of 106,102 vs. Nebraska on Oct. 6, 2012.

NOTE: Week two polls will be available Tuesday
Ohio State is ranked No. 5 in the preseason Associated Press and No. 6 USA Today/Coaches Top 25 polls of the 2014 season. The Buckeyes, who have been ranked by the AP more times (822) than any other school, are appearing in the AP preseason poll for the 26th consecutive season, the longest streak in the nation. It also marks the 47th consecutive season Ohio State has appeared in the AP poll, tying Alabama for the longest active streak.

Since the start of the 2002 season, Ohio State has been ranked in the AP Top 10 more times than any other school (144). Oklahoma and LSU are tied for second with 121.

Senior quarterback Braxton Miller re-injured his right shoulder attempting a short pass in practice Aug. 18 and will miss the 2014 season. Miller, who was not hit on the play, was in the process of returning from off-season surgery in February for an injury sustained in the 2014 Discover Orange Bowl.

“My thoughts and prayers are with Braxton and his family,” Coach Meyer said. “This is an unfortunate injury to a young man who means so much to this program and to Buckeye nation.”

“I love Ohio State and Buckeye nation, and my goal is to come back from this injury stronger and better than ever,” Miller said. “I am on course to graduate in December and I want to attend graduate school, and then return to lead the Buckeyes next season. In the meantime, I want to give all the support I can to my coaches and teammates as they chase a championship this season.”

Miller, who has yet to take a red-shirt season, entered his senior season with 5,292 career passing yards and 3,054 rushing yards to rank ninth and eighth, respectively, in school history and with the prospects of holding close to 20 school records. His 8,346 total yards and 84 touchdowns responsible for are each second in school annals. His 52 touchdown passes are fourth at Ohio State and just six from the school record.

Miller, 26-8 as a starting quarterback, also entered his senior season as a viable contender for all of the major national awards. His seven Big Ten Conference individual awards, including consecutive Chicago Tribune MVPs, Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year awards and Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year awards, are the most in conference history.

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

With the preseason injury to Braxton Miller, Ohio State entered the 2014 season without more than 3,100 yards of total offense from its 2013 squad, on top of losing top playmakers Carlos Hyde (1,521 yards rushing) and Corey “Philly” Brown (771 yards receiving). But as the Buckeyes showed in the win vs. Navy, they will replace those yards by committee with several talented players to spread the ball around to.

The Buckeyes returned just 11 percent of its total offense from a year ago heading into this season, the leading men being sophomore RB Ezekiel Elliott (262 yards rushing) and sophomore H-B Dontre Wilson (250 yards rushing; 210 yards receiving). The Buckeyes do, however, return two senior wide receivers in Devin Smith and Evan Spencer and senior tight end Jeff Heuerman, who have more than 160 catches, 2,600 yards and 28 TDs between them.

The Buckeyes unveiled a new-look offensive line vs. Navy with four new starters in RG Billy Price, C Jacoby Boren, LG Pat Elflein and RT Darryl Baldwin. LT Taylor Decker is the only veteran with 15 career starts; 14 at right tackle last year and is the new leader of the pack at left tackle this season.

Sophomore Pat Elflein, who played well in three quarters vs. Michigan and in a start against Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game, is tested and proven at one guard position. Jacoby Boren and Darryl Baldwin have some game experience the last two seasons at center and tackle, respectively. Nine additional scholarship linemen have been vying for playing time, including Joel Hale, who has moved from the defensive line and saw action along the offensive line at RG in the win vs. Navy. Also: Chad Lindsay, a 20-game veteran and four-game starter for two-time national champion Alabama, has arrived at Ohio State after graduating from Alabama last year.

Ohio State’s offensive linemen have just 25 career starts combined — the fewest in the Big Ten and the second-fewest in the nation behind Tennessee:

Rk. School Starts
1. Tennessee 11
2. Ohio State 25
3. Arkansas State 27
4. San Jose State 28
5. Army 29
Louisiana Tech 29
7. Temple 31
Boise State 31
9. Purdue 35
10. Colorado State 36
Kansas 36

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

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

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

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

2013: CB Eli Apple, QB J.T. Barrett, CB Cam Burrows and DL Tyquan Lewis;
2012: OL Jacoby Boren, OL Taylor Decker, RB Bri’onte Dunn, QB Cardale Jones, LB Joshua Perry, DB Tyvis Powell and WR Michael Thomas; and
2011: OL Joel Hale, TE Jeff Heuerman, QB Braxton Miller.

Urban Meyer’s teams are 21-0 since the 2005 season when blocking a punt. Last season Ohio State blocked three punts: Bradley Roby (2) vs. Indiana and at Northwestern and Doran Grant vs. FAMU.

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

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

Two of the very best players to play their respective positions at Ohio State University — quarterback Troy Smith and cornerback Antoine Winfield — have been elected into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame and will be honored this fall during weekend celebrations centered around the game against Cincinnati on Sept. 27. They join Ralph Wolf and Frank Vogel

Smith and Winfield are part of a 13-member Ohio State Sports Hall of Fame class that includes two other football players: Bob Vogel (1959-62) and Ralph Wolf (1935-37). The class also includes hockey player Tessa Bonhamme, women’s basketball coach Nancy Darsch, fencer Boaz Ellis, track and field performer Rosalind Goodwin, golfer Ralph Guarasci, wrestling coach Russ Hellickson, synchronized swimmer Becky Kim, track and field performer Tami Smith and tennis player Jeremy Wurtzman.