Oct. 1, 2002
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Football Luncheon Quotes
Top 25 Polls
Buckeyes At Northwestern In Big Ten Road Opener
Unbeaten Ohio State opens Big Ten road play Saturday at Northwestern. The fifth-ranked Buckeyes are 5-0 for all games and 1-0 in league action. Northwestern is 2-3 on the year and 0-1 in the conference. The Buckeyes are trying for their first 6-0 start since 1998 when they jumped out to an 8-0 mark and finished the season with an 11-1 record.
Saturday’s contest, which gets underway at 7:06 p.m. (EDT) at Ryan Field (cap. 47,130), will be televised by ESPN2 and broadcast by WBNS Radio, the flagship station for the Ohio State radio network.
The Buckeyes will hold a walk-through at home on Friday and then have dinner at the OSU Golf Course before departing via private charter for Chicago. The team will stay at the Radisson Northshore in Lincolnwood and will return home immediately following the game.
Records and Results
Ohio State opened the 2002 Big Ten season Saturday by defeating visiting Indiana, 45-17, before a crowd of 104,194 in Ohio Stadium. The Buckeyes led 21-10 at the half and then scored 24-unanswered points to build a 45-10 lead with 5:43 to play. OSU freshman tailback Maurice Clarett, who sat out last week’s game with Cincinnati following knee surgery, appeared to be 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, who rushed for 244 yards, also passed for 217, with quarterback Craig Krenzel completing 11 of 16 passes for 152 yards and one touchdown. Backup signal caller Scott McMullen enjoyed his best showing of the year, completing all seven of his aerials for 65 yards and a TD. Before exiting, Krenzel connected on his last six passes.
Michael Jenkins led the receiving corps with seven receptions for 93 yards and both touchdown catches. The Buckeyes also scored on a 43-yard reverse by Chris Gamble and a career-long 51-yard field goal by Mike Nugent. Nugent is now a perfect nine-for-nine in the field goal department and has made 10 in a row dating back to last year.
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.
Northwestern dropped a 39-24 decision at Michigan State Saturday. The loss ended a two-game winning streak for the Wildcats, whose game against the Buckeyes is the lone home game in a five-game span that concludes with visits to Minnesota and Penn State the next two weeks.
Running back Jason Wright ran for 134 yards and the Wildcats averaged 5.9 yards per rush against the Spartans. Northwestern also threw for a season-high 265 yards.
Michigan State led 20-10 at the half and 27-17 after three quarters. The Spartans put the game away with 12 points in the final stanza.
The loss was Northwestern’s sixth-consecutive setback in conference play.
A Quick Look At The Coaches
Jim Tressel is in his second year at Ohio State, where his record is 12-5 for all games and 6-3 in the Big Ten. Under Tressel, the Buckeyes have posted a 4-3 record away from home, including a 3-1 record in conference play last year. Tressel, now in his 17th season as a head coach, has a career record of 147-62-3. He is 1-0 against Northwestern, with that win coming last year, 38-20, in Columbus. 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.
Randy Walker is in his fourth year at Northwestern. His record with the Wildcats is 17-22 and his career record is 76-57-5. He is 0-1 against Ohio State. A native of Troy, Ohio, Walker is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He was head coach at his alma mater from 1990 to 1998, leaving there with more victories than any previous Miami coach.
Buckeyes Now Fifth In Both Polls
On the heels of Saturday’s win over Indiana and Louisville’s upset of previously fourth-ranked Florida State, Ohio State has moved up from sixth to fifth in both major polls. That is the highest ranking for a Buckeye team under Jim Tressel and the highest ranking for the Buckeyes since they held down the No. 5 slot going into week six of the 2000 campaign. Ohio State finished the 1998 season at No. 3. The Buckeyes began this season ranked 12th and 13th, respectively, in the polls. OSU has been in the Top 10 in each of the past four weeks.
Ohio State leads the all-time series 53-13-1 and has won 22 straight against Northwestern, last losing in 1971 by a count of 14-10 in Columbus. The Buckeyes’ last loss in Evanston was a 21-0 reversal in 1958 to the Ara Parseghian-coached Wildcats. Since that setback, Ohio State has won 13 in a row, giving the Buckeyes a 23-5-1 edge over the Wildcats in Ryan Field.
In last year’s game (the first Big Ten night game ever played in Ohio Stadium), the Buckeyes jumped out to a 21-7 lead at the half and then scored on their first three possessions after the intermission to take control 38-7 on the way to a 38-20 win over the 14th-ranked Wildcats. Tailback Jonathan Wells rushed for 179 yards and three touchdowns, including a 71-yard scoring scamper on OSU’s second play from scrimmage. The OSU defense, led by Michael Doss, forced two turnovers and recorded 10 tackles-for-loss and five sacks.
Top individual performances in the series include 206 rushing yards by Ohio State’s Eddie George in 1994 and 393 yards passing by the Wildcats’ Sandy Schwab in 1982.
From a team standpoint, the 1981 Buckeyes rolled up 639 yards against the Wildcats in a 70-6 victory. Northwestern amassed 497 yards in a 30-9 loss in 1986 in Columbus.
A Look At The Buckeyes
The Buckeyes, whose last 6-0 start was in 1998, are averaging 401 yards per game on offense – 232 rushing and 169 passing – and 6.1 yards per play. OSU has scored 189 points through the first five games for an average of 37.8 points per game. The Buckeyes have topped the 40-point plateau three times this year. By contrast, their high-water mark a year ago was 38 against Northwestern. Ohio State’s best quarter has been the third, when it has outscored opponents 56-7. But the Buckeyes have scored at least 40 points in every quarter and have outscored their opponents in every stanza. OSU has rushed for 15 touchdowns and passed for six and has scored on 20 of 21 opportunities inside the red zone.
Defensively, OSU is giving up 352 yards and 16.2 points a game. The Buckeyes’ first five opponents have averaged 279.6 yards through the air, but just 73.2 on the ground. Only one of the five, Kent State, has rushed for more than 100 yards against the Buckeyes, who have given up just one rushing touchdown. In the second half, Ohio State has given up just 31 points, while scoring 94.
The OSU defense has 36 tackles-for-loss to date, including 16 sacks. The Buckeyes also have picked off seven interceptions and are at +3 in the all-important turnover margin.
The Buckeyes played the Indiana game without three starters – offensive tackle Ivan Douglas, offensive guard Michael Stafford and defensive tackle Tim Anderson. All are expected back this week.
Special Play By The Special Teams
Ohio State’s special teams turned in a number of key plays against Indiana, including a fake field goal in the first quarter that resulted in a 28-yard gain, and a blocked punt (by Dustin Fox) in the third quarter that led to an OSU touchdown. Additionally, punter Andy Groom dropped his only two punts inside the Indiana 20 and kicker Mike Nugent hit a career-long 51-yard field goal. Nugent also repeatedly kicked off deep into the IU end zone. The Buckeyes also had two kickoff returns of more than 25 yards in their best all-around day of special teams play.
Coach Jim Tressel On The Buckeyes
“We wanted to get off on the right foot in the conference race and we did. We have a long way to go, but this team works very hard and we are anxious to get there. After the way we played at Cincinnati, it was important for us to come out and get back to our kind of football. I thought we took control late in the first half and kept it turned up in the second half. Now we have to get ready to go to Northwestern. We learned at Cincinnati how tough it can be away from home, so we need to be focused this week. Our key, both individually and as a team, throughout the year will be managing to stay focused on the task at hand.”
After missing the Sept. 21 Cincinnati game due to knee surgery the previous Tuesday, freshman tailback Maurice Clarett returned to action Saturday against Indiana and responded by running roughshod through the Hoosiers’ defense for 104 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries.
“I try to be tough out there because good teams are made up of tough players and we want to be a good team,” said the 6-0, 230-pound Clarett, who had to have his surgical incision re-stitched at halftime.
In addition to recording his third 100-yard game of the season, Clarett established a school record for touchdowns by a freshman with 10. The old mark of eight was originally set by Cris Carter in 1984 and later tied by Robert Smith in 1990. Nine of Clarett’s scores have come via the rush.
On the season now, Clarett has rushed 84 times for 575 yards, an average of 6.8 yards per carry. He is second in the Big Ten in rushing with an average of 143.8 yards per game. He leads the Big Ten in scoring with 60 points and an average of 15.0 points per game.
Clarett’s top effort of the year was 230 yards against Washington State. He also rushed for 175 yards (and three touchdowns) in the win over Texas Tech.
The OSU freshman rushing record of 1,126 yards belongs to Smith, who also had five 100-yard games in 1990. Both marks appear to be in jeopardy.
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. Junior center Alex Stepanovich will serve in that capacity against Northwestern. Offensive captains to date have been: Craig Krenzel (Texas Tech), Mike Stafford (Kent State), Ben Hartsock (Washington State), Ivan Douglas (Cincinnati) and Chris Vance (Indiana).
Head Coach Jim Tressel
Ohio State is under the second-year direction of Jim Tressel. The49-year-old mentor led the Buckeyes to a 7-5 record last year,including a 5-3 mark in the Big Ten and an appearance in theOutback Bowl Jan. 1. Now in his 17th year as a head coach,Tressel’s impressive resume includes an all-time record of 147-62-,including a 12-5 mark with the Buckeyes. Prior to coming to OhioState, Tressel spent 15 years at Youngstown State, where he guidedthe Penguins to four Division 1-AA national championships (1991,’93, ’94 and ’97) and 10 appearances in the playoffs. He was afour-time pick as the national coach of the year, winning thathonor in each of his championship seasons. Prior to taking over atYSU in 1986, Tressel spent three years as an assistant to EarleBruce at Ohio State. In that role, he coached the quarterbacks,receivers and running backs and went to three bowl games, includingthe Rose Bowl. His list of star pupils during that time includesMike Tomczak, Cris Carter and Keith Byars. Prior to Ohio State,Tressel also served apprenticeships at Akron, Miami (Ohio) andSyracuse. Tressel, the 22nd head coach in Ohio State annals, wasnamed to his present position Jan. 18, 2001. Jim’s father, the lateLee Tressel, enjoyed a very successful coaching career at BaldwinWallace College, where he won the 1978 Division III NationalChampionship. His brother, Dick Tressel, is a former head footballcoach at Hamline University in Minnesota and currently serves asassistant director of football operations at Ohio State. As afamily, the Tressels have won 426 games.
Buckeyes Prominent on Awards “Watch Lists”
Two-time All-America strong safety Michael Doss is on the Walter Camp Player of the Year “Watch List” that was released at the start of the season. Doss, who was picked as the Big Ten’s preseason defensive player of the year, also is on the Thorpe Award watch list. The latter, of course, goes to the top defensive back in college football.
Additionally, senior punter Andy Groom is on the Ray Guy Award watch list, while junior split end Michael Jenkins is on the Biletnikoff Award watch list and senior linebacker Matt Wilhelm on the Butkus Award watch list.
Based upon their early-season play, junior defensive end Will Smith, junior offensive tackle Shane Olivea, sophomore kicker Mike Nugent and freshman tailback Maurice Clarett will all be in the running for postseason honors.
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.
Wilhelm, Doss Pace OSU Defense
Senior linebacker Matt Wilhelm leads the OSU defense with 29 total tackles, including a team-high 9 tackles for loss. Strong safety Mike Doss is next with 26 tackles and has a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown to his credit. Ends Will Smith and Darrion Scott have combined for 13 tackles for loss (8 by Smith ) and seven sacks (4 by Scott).
|WR Chris Gamble|
This Gamble Paying Off For OSU
Chris Gamble is Ohio State’s starting flanker and second leadingreceiver. The 6-0, 180-pound sophomore also returns punts andkickoffs for the Buckeyes. In fact, he does just about everythingbut play defense. Oops, turns out he does that too. AgainstCincinnati, Gamble was inserted at cornerback. On his firstdefensive play, he intercepted a pass in the end zone. Later, onthe Bearcats’ final drive, he broke up a fade route in the cornerof the end zone that would have given Cincinnati an upset win.Instead, the Buckeyes held on for a 23-19 victory.
“Chris is a tremendous athlete,” said OSU Coach Jim Tressel. “He doesn’t know all our coverages yet, but he can cover man-to-man. We are going to take advantage of his talents.”
Gamble did not play any defense against Indiana. He did catch a pair of passes for 42 yards and he scored his first collegiate touchdown on a 43-yard reverse.
Jenkins Leads Receiving Corps
Junior split end Michael Jenkins has caught at least one pass in 17-consecutive games dating back to the 2001 season opener against Akron. Jenkins, who has 21 receptions so far this year and is averaging 16.0 yards per catch, had a season-high seven receptions for 93 yards and two touchdowns against Indiana. He has 12 catches in the Buckeyes’ last two games.
Nugent Extends Consecutive Field Goal String to Ten
Sophomore kicker Mike Nugent has made all nine of his field goal attempts this year and has a string of 10 straight going back to last year’s Michigan game. Nugent was good from 51 yards out against Indiana, bettering his previous personal long of 45 yards, which he accomplished on three separate occasions earlier this year. Nugent’s string of 10 in a row ties him for the second longest mark in OSU history, surpassed only by Vlade Janakievski’s 15 straight in 1979 and ’80. He has made all eight of his attempts at home this year, two off the record, which also belongs to Janakievski. Seven of his 10 field goals have been from 40 or more yards out, shattering the old OSU single-season mark of five shared by Dan Stultz (1999) and Rich Spangler (1985). Nugent is also a perfect 22-for-22 in the PAT department this year and has now made 44 in a row.
Big Ten Leaders
Freshman tailback Maurice Clarett continues to lead the Big Ten in scoring at 15 points a game. He is also second in rushing at 143.8 yards per game and third in all-purpose running with a 157.2 figure. Clarett has a league best average of 6.8 yards per carry, but has 14 fewer attempts and 38 fewer yards than Iowa’s Fred Russell who is the league leader.
Punter Andy Groom continues to pace the Big Ten with an average of 44.8 on 16 attempts. Place-kicker Mike Nugent is second in kick scoring at 9.8 points a game and fourth in overall scoring. He is also tied for the lead in field goal and PAT percentage.
With 12 catches in the last two games, junior split end Michael Jenkins has scratched his way into the top 10 in terms of receptions with an average of 4.2 per game. That average is good for 10th place.
Defensively, linebacker Matt Wilhelm and end Will Smith rank one-two in tackles-for-loss with totals of 8.5 and 8.0 respectively. End Darrion Scott is fourth in sacks with four.
As a team, the Buckeyes lead the league in red-zone offense (20-21) and red-zone defense (7-15), and are second in scoring offense (37.8), rushing offense (232.0), rushing defense (73.2), sacks (16) and field goals made (9).Those figures are based on the Buckeyes’ first five games. In conference action only, quarterback Craig Krenzel leads the league in passing efficiency with a rating of 169.2 after one game.
Krenzel Ties Ohio State’s Consecutive Completion Record
Junior quarterback Craig Krenzel carved a niche for himself in the Ohio State records book against Kent State by completing his first 11 pass attempts. That string, coupled with a successful toss on his last attempt at the end of the Texas Tech game, gave Krenzel 12 completions in a row, tying the school record set by Bill Mrukowski in 1962 and later equaled by Mike Tomczak (1983) and Jim Karsatos (1985). Krenzel goes into the Northwestern game with a string of six-consecutive completions.
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.
The 6-3, 280-pound lineman did not play against Indiana because of an ankle sprain, but is expected back this week.
Ohio State All-Time
With the win over Indiana, Ohio State now has an all-time record of 737-292-53 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 401-155-24 since beginning league play in 1913. Since 1960, the Buckeyes have experienced just three losing seasons in Big Ten play (1966, 1988, 1999).
|RB Maurice Clarett|
Freshman Class Has Early Impact
Ten members of Ohio State’s highly touted freshman class have seengame action. Maurice Clarett, Tyler Everett, Mike D’Andrea, NateSalley, Bobby Carpenter, A.J. Hawk, E.J. Underwood and Mike Kudlaall played against Texas Tech in the season opener. Offensivelinemen Robbie Sims and Nick Mangold debuted in the Kent Stategame. In the latter, Clarett scored a pair of touchdowns, one on a2-yard run and the other on a 7-yard pass reception, while Hawktallied his first collegiate six-pointer on a 34-yard interceptionreturn. Other notable showings include a special teams tackle byBobby Carpenter on the opening kickoff against Texas Tech and arally-killing interception by Everett against Washington State. Inthe win over Cincinnati, Underwood played most of the game atcornerback and was credited with five tackles and two passes brokenup. Against Indiana, Rob Sims started at left tackle in place ofinjured Ivan Douglas.
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
Big Ten Players Of The Week
The Buckeyes claimed two of the Big Ten’s three weekly awards following their win over Washington State.
Tailback Maurice Clarett was named Offensive Player of the Week after shredding the Washington State defense for 230 yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries.
Clarett also won the award following Ohio State’s win over Texas Tech Aug. 24. He is the first Ohio State player since David Boston in 1998 to win such recognition twice in one season.
Sophomore Mike Nugent was named Special Teams Player of the Week after nailing field goals of 43, 43 and 45 yards against WSU. The latter equaled his career long, which he first hit against Texas Tech and later matched against Kent State. Nugent is just the second OSU kicker to hit three field goals of 40 or more yards in a game. Tom Klaban was good from 47, 25, 43 and 45 yards out in the Buckeyes’ 12-10 win over Michigan in 1974.
Clarett and Nugent join senior safety Michael Doss, who was selected as the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Week following the Kent State game.
On This Day in Buckeye Lore
Ohio State is 16-1 when playing on Oct. 5. The lone loss in those 17 games was a 31-28 setback at Illinois in 1985, the Illini kicking the winning field goal as time expired. In Big Ten play, OSU is 4-1 on Oct. 5, including a 38-7 win over Penn State in 1996. The Buckeyes were ranked third and the Nittany Lions fourth heading into that game.
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.
Scouting the Wildcats
Northwestern is 2-3 on the year and 0-1 in the Big Ten after its 39-24 loss at Michigan State last weekend. The Wildcats have wins against Navy and Duke, but have fallen to Air Force and TCU in addition to last week’s loss to the Spartans. The Wildcats were 4-7 a year ago to tie for 10th place in the Big Ten standings.
On offense, Northwestern is averaging 25.2 points and 389.6 yards per game. On the ground, the Wildcats are averaging 165.8 points per game, while passing for an average of 223.8. The top ground gainer is Jason Wright, who is averaging 96 yards per game. On 98 carries this season, the junior running back has accumulated 480 yards and three touchdowns. Sophomore running back Noah Herron has scored four TDs, but is averaging only 34 yards per game.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Brett Basanez has completed 76-of-138 passes (54.7 percent) for 915 yards or an average of 183 yards per game. He has thrown for two touchdowns. One of those touchdowns was to senior wide receiver Jon Schweighardt, who is averaging 67.6 receiving yards. He has 24 catches for 338 yards, picking up an average of 14.1 yards per catch. The other passing score was to junior receiver Kunlee Patrick, who is averaging 53.8 yards per game.
On the other side of the ball, the Northwestern defense is allowing 40.0 points and 521.8 yards per game. Opponents are getting an average rush of 308.8 yards on the ground and 213.0 yards through the air. The defensive unit has a total of three sacks (24 yards) and has five interceptions (26 yards) while benefiting from seven fumbles. The top Wildcat tackler is John Pickens who has 43.5 tackles, one tackle-for-loss, a bass break up and one forced fumble.
On special teams, punter Brian Huffman has 32 punts for an average of 40.7 yards. He has kicked eight inside the 20-yard line and has one punt that has been blocked. Field goal kicker David Wasielewski is 5-of-6. Special teams have given up 338 yards on 14 kickoff returns this year and 231 yards on 17 punt returns. On seven kickoff returns, Wright has averaged 40.4 yards, while on four punt returns, Patrick has averaged 6 yards.
Northwestern’s Last Game
Northwestern lost 39-24 at Michigan State last Saturday. The Spartans scored 16 straight points over a span of nearly six minutes during the third and fourth quarters to pull away from the Wildcats in the Big Ten opener for both schools. Michigan State led just 17-10 late in the first half before Northwestern allowed a field goal with 26 second left in the half. Northwestern scored first in the third quarter to come within a 20-17 score, but Michigan State pulled away after that. The Spartans’ Dawan Moses had 26 carries for 191 yards and Charles Rogers set an NCAA record by catching a touchdown pass in his 13th straight regular-season game. Jason Wright led the Wildcats with 22 for 134 yards while quarterback Brett Basanez completed 15-of-36 passes for 178 yards. Michigan State out-gained Northwestern 539 to 477 total yards. Northwestern had a balanced offensive attack with 212 yards on the ground and 265 yards passing.
Meet Coach Randy Walker
Randy Walker, a 1976 graduate of Miami (Ohio), is in his fourth season at Northwestern. He is 17-22 in Evanston and is 76-57-5 overall in his 13th season as a head coach. Walker coached eight years at his alma mater and was 59-35-5, including a 10-1 record his final year in Oxford. In just his second year at Northwestern (2000), he guided the Wildcats to an 8-4 record and a berth in the Alamo Bowl and a share of the Big Ten championship. The turnaround from a 3-8 team the year prior, helped to earn him Big Ten Coach of the Year recognition. Walker was a previous assistant coach at Miami (Ohio) (1977), North Carolina (1978-87) and Northwestern (1988-89) before landing the head coaching job in Oxford in 1990. He served as the offensive coordinator for the Tar Heels his final three years in Chapel Hill. He is 0-1 against Ohio State, having not played the Buckeyes in his first two years at Northwestern.
Opening Day Streak Extended
The victory over Texas Tech 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.
Attendance Record Falls
An Ohio Stadium record crowd of 104,553 saw the Buckeyes defeat Washington State. The previous single-game record of 104,407 was set last year against Illinois.
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.
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.
The weekly media lunches this year will again be held on Tuesdays at the Buckeye Hall of Fame Caf, located at 1421 Olentangy River Rd. Lunch will be served at 11:45 a.m. Ohio State coach Jim Tressel will begin his portion of the interview session at 12:15 p.m. Selected Ohio State players will be available for interviews following Coach Tressel’s question-and-answer session.
Weekly Interview Schedule
Ohio State players will be available for interviews following the conclusion of practice and meetings on Tuesdays throughout the season. Tuesday practices are open to the media and photographers are permitted to shoot the first 20 minutes, or specific periods as designated by the coaching staff. Photographers covering an open practice should check with a member of the Athletics Communications staff to see which periods are open.
Tressel Show Moves to Thursday
This year, the weekly Jim Tressel call-in show will air from noon-1 p.m. Thursdays on WBNS AM (1460) Radio. The show will be replayed on Thursday nights around the state. The show previously was heard on Tuesday evenings.
Buckeyes Back Home Next Week
Ohio State returns home next week to play San Jose State in the traditional Homecoming game. That game will start at 12:10 p.m. (EDT). A limited number of tickets do remain for the San Jose State game and can be purchased by calling the OSU ticket office at (614/292-2624 or 1-800 GO BUCKS), or by going on line at www.hangonsloopy.com. Following the game with San Jose, OSU returns to conference action at Wisconsin Oct. 19. The OSU-Badger tilt has been selected by ABC-TV and will kickoff at 3:37 p.m. (EDT).
Game 1 Recap – Texas Tech
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
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
The Buckeyes trailed 7-6 at the half, but responded with 19-unanswered points after intermission to down visiting Washington State, 25-7. The victory over the 10th-ranked Cougars was the Buckeyes first win over a Top-10 team since the 1999 Sugar Bowl
Freshman running back Maurice Clarett led the OSU offense by rushing for 230 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Clarett, who carried the ball 31 times, had 194 of his yards in the second half. It was the sixth best rushing effort in OSU history and came despite a first-quarter knee injury that required arthroscopic surgery three days later. The Buckeyes powered through the WSU defense for 292 yards on the ground and finished with 363 yards in total offense.
The OSU defense, meanwhile, pressured Jason Gesser, the Cougars’ talented senior quarterback, into two second-half interceptions and any number of hurried throws. Washington State, which had come into the game averaging more than 440 yards per game (and 40 points), settled for just 280 against Ohio State – 263 passing and 17 on the ground. The Cougars managed just 74 total yards after intermission.
Linebackers Cie Grant (8 tackles, 3 tackles-for-loss) and Matt Wilhelm (5 tackles and a momentum shifting interception) led the OSU defense.
Sophomore kicker Mike Nugent continued his brilliant play by drilling field goals of 43, 43 and 45 yards. Those three kicks of more than 40 yards gave Nugent six on the year, an Ohio State single-season record just three games into the season. Additionally, he is just the second Ohio State kicker to kick three field goals of 40 or more yards in a game. The only other was Tom Klaban in 1974 against Michigan.
Game 4 Recap – Cincinnati
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.