Dec. 10, 2002
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Ohio State Fiesta Bowl Central
Top 25 Polls
Football Quotes Coach Tressel’s Press Conference Audio(12/16/02)
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Unbeaten Buckeyes Make First Appearance In National Championship Game
Following its thrilling 14-9 victory over Michigan, unbeaten Ohio State has been selected to play in the BCS national championship game at the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Jan. 3, 2003. The Buckeyes thus become the first Big Ten team to play in the BCS national title tilt.
Coach Jim Tressel’s Buckeyes will play unbeaten Miami in the championship game. The Hurricanes, under the direction of former OSU assistant Larry Coker (defensive backs, 1993-94), are 12-0 this year and have won 34-consecutive games.
Ohio State finished the regular season with a perfect 13-0 record, the first unbeaten regular season since 1979 for an Ohio State team, and shared the Big Ten title with Iowa at 8-0. In recording a school-record 13 victories, OSU defeated four ranked teams during the course of the season – Washington State, Penn State, Minnesota and Michigan – and wound up second in both major polls and the BCS ranking.
The Buckeyes will be trying for the school’s (and the Big Ten’s) first consensus national championship since 1968. Ohio State also won undisputed national championships in 1942, ’54 and ’57.
Ohio State will be making its second appearance in a BCS bowl. The Buckeyes defeated Texas A&M in the 1999 Sugar Bowl.
The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl will kickoff at 6:20 p.m. MST (8:20 p.m. EST) and will be televised by ABC. Sun Devil Stadium (cap. 73,471) is sold out and Ohio State’s allotment of 16,000 tickets is long gone. Veteran Keith Jackson, the longtime voice of college football, will call the game for ABC, and will be joined in the booth by Dan Fouts and on the sideline by Todd Harris and Lynn Swann.
WBNS Radio, the flagship station for the Ohio State football network, will have exclusive coverage of the game in Columbus and throughout Ohio. Paul Keels and Jim Lachey have the call from Sun Devil Stadium, and Jim Karsatos will provide the insight from the sideline.
Ohio State’s Travel and Practice Plans
The team and official party will leave Port Columbus International via private charter at approximately 5 p.m. on Dec. 26 en route to Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix. Ohio State will stay at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort and will practice at Pinnacle High School.
Ohio State’s Interview Schedule
Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel, co-captains Mike Doss and Donnie Nickey, and quarterback Craig Krenzel will be available for interviews upon the team’s arrival at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix. Players also will be available briefly after practice on Dec. 27 and 28 at Pinnacle High School. On Dec. 29, defensive coordinator Mark Dantonio, safety Michael Doss, linebacker Matt Wilhelm, cornerback Chris Gamble and defensive tackle Kenny Peterson will represent Ohio State at the 9:30 a.m. interview session at the media hotel (Airport Marriott). Offensive coordinator Jim Bollman, tailback Maurice Clarett, split end Michael Jenkins, tackle Shane Olivea and Krenzel will be OSU’s representatives at the 8:30 a.m. briefing on Dec. 30, also at the media hotel. The entire team will be available on Media Day, Dec. 31, in Sun Devil Stadium from 11 a.m.-noon. Six players, to be determined at a later date, will be made available to late arriving media on Jan. 1 at the media hotel. Coach Tressel’s final pre-game media briefing will be at 9 a.m., Jan. 2, at the Airport Marriott.
Ohio State’s Bowl History
Ohio State has played in 33 bowl games over the years and has an all-time bowl record of 14 wins and 19 losses. The Buckeyes have appeared in 10 different bowls, including the 1980 and the 1984 Fiesta Bowls. OSU is 1-1 in those two games, losing to Penn State (31-19) in the former and defeating Pittsburgh (28-23) in the latter.
Ohio State’s National Championships
Ohio State won its first national championship in 1942, posting a 9-1 record under Paul Brown. Legendary Buckeye mentor Woody Hayes guided OSU to the 1954 national championship and a perfect 10-0 record behind the running of All-American halfback Howard “Hopalong” Cassady. Hayes did it again in 1957, directing Ohio State to a 9-1 mark that began with a season-opening loss to TCU. In 1961, on the heels of an 8-0-1 record, the Football Writers proclaimed the Buckeyes as national champions. Ironically, TCU was the team that tied OSU. In 1968, Ohio State’s super sophomores upset No. 1 Purdue in the third game of the season and went on to post a 10-0 mark. The Buckeyes concluded the season by downing USC in the Rose Bowl and were everyone’s choice as the best team in college football. In 1970, the Buckeyes posted a 9-1 record (their lone loss was to Stanford in the Rose Bowl) and were proclaimed as national champions by the National Football Foundation. Ohio State has been close several times since then, including the 1973, ’74, ’75, ’79, ’95, ’96 and ’98 seasons.
The Ratings Game
Ohio State closed out the regular season in the No. 2 spot in both major polls. Following their win over Michigan, the Buckeyes received one first-place vote in the ESPN/USA Today poll and two first-place ballots in the Associated Press voting. Ohio State began the season ranked 12th by the coaches and 13th by the writers. This is Ohio State’s highest ranking since the 1998 campaign, when the Buckeyes were ranked No. 1 for the first nine weeks of the season. The Buckeyes defeated four ranked teams this year – Washington State, Penn State, Minnesota and Michigan.
The Story Line
Ohio State is the first Big Ten team to qualify for the Bowl Championship Series title game. The Buckeyes are the last Big Ten team to win a consensus national championship, claiming that honor in 1968 with a perfect 10-0 mark that culminated with a 27-16 win over the University of Southern California in the 1969 Rose Bowl.
Buckeyes Bag 29th Big Ten Crown
With an 8-0 record this year, Ohio State has now won 29 Big Ten championships since beginning conference play in 1913. The Buckeyes have captured 15 titles outright and shared 14 others, including this year. This year marks the first time since 1943 – and just the fourth time ever – that two teams who are undefeated in conference play, have shared the championship. Ohio State and Minnesota did it in 1935, both teams finishing at 5-0.
Ohio State vs. Miami
This year’s national championship game will mark just the third time that Ohio State and Miami have faced one another on the gridiron. The brief series is tied at 1-1. In the first meeting between the two schools, Ohio State came away with a 10-0 victory in 1977, as veteran Buckeye coach Woody Hayes and the Hurricane’s Lou Saban met for the first time in their storied careers. Fast-forward the clock to 1999 for a rematch in the Kickoff Classic, where 12th-ranked Miami pulled the rug out from under ninth-ranked Ohio State by a final score of 23-12. Following their win in 1977, the Buckeyes went on to play in the Sugar Bowl and post a 9-3 record. The 1999 Buckeyes finished the season with a 6-6 record and did not qualify for a bowl game. Miami head coach Larry Coker is no stranger to Ohio State fans. He was an assistant coach under John Cooper in 1993 and ’94, coaching the Buckeyes’ defensive backs. The Buckeyes were 10-1-1 in 1993 and shared the Big Ten title.
Ohio State vs. The Big East
Ohio State has an all-time record of 32-9-1 against teams from the Big East Conference: 3-0 vs. Boston College, 1-1 vs. Miami, 19-5-1 vs. Pitt, 4-2 vs. Syracuse, and 5-1 vs. West Virginia.
A Look At The Buckeyes
Ohio State has won a school record 13 games this year and is ranked second nationally in both major polls. Dating back to last year, the Buckeyes have won 14-consecutive regular-season and nine-consecutive Big Ten games.
Led by one of the top defensive fronts in college football, and the play of All-Americans Mike Doss at strong safety and Matt Wilhelm at middle linebacker, the OSU defense has played a major role in Ohio State’s meteoric rise to the top.
On the year, the Buckeyes are allowing an average of 12.2 points a game, a total that leads the Big Ten and is second nationally. Only one of Ohio State’s 13 opponents scored more than 20 points this year, and that was in the season opener against Texas Tech. The Buckeyes have been particularly stingy in the second half, allowing a total of 54 points. In the last six games, OSU has given up just 16 points after intermission, with 13 of those points coming at Illinois. OSU ranks fourth nationally against the run, allowing 78.6 yards per game.
On offense, quarterback Craig Krenzel has demonstrated the ability to push all the right buttons at crunch time. The 6-4 junior has repeatedly engineered dramatic come-from-behind wins that almost always seem to go down to the wire.
With the vastly underrated Krenzel at the controls, the Buckeyes have converted 46 of 54 opportunities in the red zone.
Krenzel, who is 14-1 as a starter, has completed 141 of 228 passes for 1,988 yards and 12 touchdowns. Split end Michael Jenkins has been on the receiving end of 57 of those passes, and has accounted for 1,031 yards and six scores. Time-and-again, Krenzel and Jenkins have come up with big plays when the game is still on the line.
In the rushing department, freshman tailback Maurice Clarett has carried the ball 199 times and has set an OSU freshman record with 1,190 yards, even though he has played in just 10 games. When healthy (he has missed three games and played sparingly in two others), the 6-0, 230-pound freshman has the ability to elevate everyone around him to greater heights.
The offensive line has had its share of injuries, including ankle and knee sprains, shoulder strains and an appendectomy. But the Buckeye front six – all juniors – is as healthy right now as it has been all year. Center Alex Stepanovich and tackle Shane Olivea are two players who are certainly worth watching.
The Buckeyes also boast one of the top kicking tandems in college football in punter Andy Groom and place-kicker Mike Nugent. Groom leads the Big Ten in punting with an average of 44.6 and Nugent leads the Buckeyes in scoring (113 points) and the Big Ten in number of field goals made (24). Both have been selected as first-team All-Americans.
Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel
Jim Tressel is in his second year at Ohio State and his17th season as a head coach, Tressel’s impressive resume boasts anall-time record of 155-62-2 and includes a 20-5 mark in his shorttenure with the Buckeyes. He is 13-3 in Big Ten action and has ledthe Buckeyes to nine-consecutive conference victories, including an8-0 record and a share of the Big Ten title this past season. Indirecting Ohio State to a 13-0 record this year, he becomes thefirst coach in Big Ten history to lead his team to the BCS NationalChampionship Game.
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 in Ohio, 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 434 games.
Dantonio Broyles Award Finalist
Ohio State’s defensive coordinator, Mark Dantonio, was one of five finalists for the 2002 Frank Broyles Award, which goes annually to the leading assistant coach in college football. Under Dantonio’s direction, the Buckeyes allowed just 12.2 points a game this year, a total that led the Big Ten and was second nationally.
Four Buckeyes Earn All-America Honors
Seniors Mike Doss, Matt Wilhelm and Andy Groom, along with sophomore Mike Nugent, have been named to first-team All-America berths.
Doss, the Buckeyes’ hard-hitting strong safety, was named to the Football Writers, Football Coaches, Sporting News, Walter Camp and Associated Press first teams. He thus becomes the seventh three-time All-American in Ohio State history, joining an illustrious group that includes Chic Harley and Archie Griffin.
Wilhelm, who led the team in tackles this year with 111 at his middle linebacker spot, was named to the Football Writers, Sporting News and Associated Press teams.
Groom, a former walk-on who has since been converted to scholarship, was named to the Football Writers team after leading the Big Ten in punting.
Nugent, one of the most pleasant surprises of the season, set seven OSU kicking records in 2002. He was named to the Football Coaches and the Walter Camp teams. Nugent is the first Ohio State place-kicker to win All-America honors.
Over the years, Ohio State has produced 160 first-team All-Americans.
All four of this year’s honorees were major award nominees in 2002.
Doss, Clarett Receive Top Big Ten Accolades
Senior safety Michael Doss has been named as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, and tailback Maurice Clarett has been selected as the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Doss was selected by a vote of the Big Ten’s coaches, while Clarett was the choice of the coaches and the media electors.
Seven Buckeyes On All-Big Ten Team
Seven Ohio State players were named to first-team spots on the 2002 All-Big Ten team. Tailback Maurice Clarett (Media), strong safety Mike Doss (Media and Coaches), cornerback Chris Gamble (Coaches), punter Andy Groom (Media/Coaches), kicker Mike Nugent (Media), defensive tackle Darrion Scott (Coaches) and linebacker Matt Wilhelm (Media/Coaches) all earned first-team berths.
Quarterback Craig Krenzel was accorded a second-team berth (M/C), as were offensive tackle Shane Olivea (M/C), split end Michael Jenkins (M/C), defensive tackle Tim Anderson (C), defensive tackle Kenny Peterson (C), defensive end Will Smith (M,/C), and linebacker Cie Grant (C).
Krenzel, Gamble Share MVPs
Junior quarterback Craig Krenzel, who helped engineer aperfect 13-0 regular season for the Buckeyes in his first season asa starter, and sophomore flanker/cornerback Chris Gamble, the firsttwo-way starter for OSU in more than 30 years, have been selectedby their teammates as co-Most Valuable Players for the 2002 OhioState football team. Krenzel threw for 1,988 yards and 12touchdowns and repeatedly came up with big plays to spark the OhioState offense. Gamble, who started the last five games of theregular season on both offense and defense, led the team ininterceptions with four and was the second leading receiver with 29receptions. He played in 100 or more plays in three of the Buckeyeslast four games.
Grant Wins Bo Rein Most Inspirational Award
Senior linebacker Cie Grant is the winner of the Bo Rein Award as this year’s Most Inspirational Player. Grant, a starting linebacker for the Buckeyes, was selected by a vote of his teammates. Grant, who started at cornerback in 2001, moved to linebacker this year and finished the season with 64 tackles, fourth on the team. Rein is a former player (1964-66) and graduate assistant coach for the Buckeyes. He was killed in a plane crash shortly after being named head coach at LSU in 1980.
Krenzel Keeps Buckeyes On The Winning Track
Junior quarterback Craig Krenzel is now 14-1 as a starter, with that one loss coming in the Outback Bowl, where he played briefly in two series. With the 6-4, 225-pound Krenzel at the controls, the Buckeyes posted a 13-0 record in 2002, shared the Big Ten title with an 8-0 mark and became the first Big Ten team to qualify for the BCS title game. The heady redhead, who is majoring in molecular genetics and will one day attend medical school, has completed 61.8 percent of his passes and has thrown for 1,988 yards and 12 touchdowns. He has been intercepted just five times (twice each against Cincinnati and Penn State and once at Purdue) and ranks second in the Big Ten in passing efficiency with a 148.1 rating (he is eighth nationally). Krenzel has rushed for 287 yards and a touchdown and has a pair of 29-yard runs to his credit. Earlier this year, he tied an Ohio State record by completing 12-consecutive passes (his last throw against Texas Tech and his first 11 against Kent State). At Purdue, with Ohio State trailing 6-3 and facing fourth-and-one with 1:42 to play, he connected with split end Michael Jenkins on a 37-yard touchdown pass that propelled the Buckeyes to a 10-6 victory. At Illinois, his 14-yard scramble in overtime set up the Buckeyes’ winning touchdown. He is the first Ohio State quarterback since Cornelius Greene in 1974 and ’75 to lead the Buckeyes to consecutive victories over Michigan.
Jenkins “Mr. Clutch” For The Buckeyes
Michael Jenkins, the Buckeyes’ silky-smooth split end, who heads into the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl with at least one catch in 25-consecutive games, leads the team in receptions (57), receiving yardage (1,031) and touchdown catches (6). His reception total is the eighth best in Ohio State history and his yardage figure ranks as the fourth best in OSU annals. Additionally, with 106 career receptions, the 6-5 junior is tied for eighth (with Ken-Yon Rambo, 1997-2000) on the all-time OSU receptions list. Jenkins, who has 2,019 career receiving yards, is just the sixth Ohio State receiver to top the 2000-yard mark.
Nugent Assaults Records Book
Ohio State sophomore kicker Mike Nugent, one of threefinalists for the Lou Groza Award as college football’s bestplace-kicker, has set seven school records this year: most pointsby a kicker (113), most field goals in a season (24), mostconsecutive field goals made (24), most consecutive field goalsmade in a season (23), most consecutive field goals in Ohio Stadium(15), most consecutive games with at least one field goal (12), andmost field goals of 40 or more yards in a season (9). He also tiedthe school mark for 40-yard field goals in a game (3 vs. WashingtonState).
He leads the Big Ten in field goals made and is second in field goal percentage.
Nugent’s string of 24-consecutive makes came to an end at Illinois when he missed from 37 yards out. He had made 23 in a row this year, just two shy of the NCAA record.
Mike Nugent’s 2002 Records
Most Season Points/Kicker – 113
Most Field Goals in a Season – 24
Consecutive Field Goals Made – 24
Consecutive Field Goals/Season – 23
Consecutive FG Made At Home – 15
Consecutive Games with a FG – 12
40-yard Field Goals in a Season – 9
40-yard Field Goals in a Game – 3*
*Ties record (Washington State)
Gamble Tops The Century Mark Again
Chris Gamble, Ohio State’s super sophomore who started the last five games of the regular season at both flanker and cornerback, has taken part in 100 or more plays in each of the past three games, including an incredible 128 in Ohio State’s 23-16 overtime win at Illinois. The 6-2, 180-pound Gamble leads the team in interceptions with four and has six passes broken up and 18 tackles. On offense, he is the Buckeyes’ second leading receiver with 29 catches. He also averages 8.6 yards per return on 34 punt returns.
Three Buckeyes Win Academic Honors
Quarterback Craig Krenzel (molecular genetics), tight end Ben Hartsock (biology) and cornerback Dustin Fox (communications) have been named to the Verizon Academic All-District IV Football Team and have been placed on the national ballot for Academic All-America. To be eligible for consideration, a player must be a starter or key reserve and have a grade point average of 3.2 or better.
Clarett Sets Single-Season OSU Frosh Rushing Mark
With 119 yards in the win over Michigan, freshman tailback Maurice Clarett has set the OSU single-season record for rushing yards by a freshman with 1,190. Clarett, who sat out three games this year and played sparingly in two others, had seven 100-yard games, including a career-best 230 against Washington State. The Buckeye rookie joins Robert Smith as the only true Ohio State freshmen to top the 1,000-yard barrier. Smith totaled 1,126 yards in 1990
Ohio State’s Top Five Freshmen Rushers Name Yards Year Games Robert Smith 1,126 1990 12 Maurice Clarett 1,190 2002 10 Archie Griffin 872 1972 11 Jaymes Bryant 656 1986 13 Dean Sensanbaugher 633 1943 9
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 Sensanbaugher 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
Clarett Semifinalist for Walter Camp Award
Freshman tailback Maurice Clarett was one of 10 finalists for the Walter Camp Award, given annually since 1967 to the nation’s outstanding college football player. Named after the founder of modern American football, the award has been won three times by Ohio State players. Archie Griffin claimed the honor in 1974 and ’75 and Eddie George was the 1995 recipient. Clarett has set several Ohio State freshman records this season, including most yards rushing (1,190), most touchdowns (16) and most points (96).
Strong safety Michael Doss and free safety Donnie Nickey, both seniors, were 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. Offensive captains to date have been: Krenzel (Texas Tech, Penn State and Michigan), Mike Stafford (Kent State), Ben Hartsock (Washington State and Illinois), Ivan Douglas (Cincinnati), Chris Vance (Indiana), Alex Stepanovich (Northwestern and Purdue), Michael Jenkins (San Jose State), Shane Olivea (Wisconsin), Andy Groom and Bryce Bishop (Minnesota).
Ohio State All-Time
Ohio State heads into the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl with an all-time record of 745-292-53 in this, its 113th season of football. The Buckeyes’ very first football team posted a 3-1 record in 1890. Ohio State also has an all-time Big Ten ledger of 408-155-24 since beginning league play in 1913. The Buckeyes have won or shared 29 Big Ten championships.
Scouting the Hurricanes
The University of Miami owns a 34-game winning streak after closing the regular season with a 56-45 victory over Virginia Tech at the Orange Bowl, Dec. 7. The victory secured the No. 1 position in the final BCS rankings for the 2001 national champions, which will play for a second consecutive national championship Jan. 3, 2003 against Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl. The Hurricanes, who will be going for their sixth national championship, all since 1983, won the Big East this season with a perfect 7-0 record and finished 12-0 overall.
Miami is averaging 41.9 points and 475.4 yards of offense per game. That total includes 192.8 yards on the ground and 282.6 yards in the air per game. Senior quarterback Ken Dorsey, who owns an efficiency rating of 147.98, has completed 55.4 percent of his passes (194-350) for 26 touchdowns for a total of 3,073 yards while throwing 10 interceptions. Nine different receivers have caught 30 TD passes, including nine by Andre Johnson, who leads the Hurricanes with 94.4 yards per game. He has 48 catches for 1,038 yards. Dorsey’s secondary target is Kellen Winslow Jr., who has 46 catches for 604 yards and seven scores to go with his 50.3 yards per game.
When not throwing the ball, Miami hands off to sophomore running back Willis McGahee who is averaging 140.5 yards per game. He has carried the ball 262 times for 1,686 yards and 27 touchdowns, a school record six of which came against the Hokies in the regular season finale. Three other backs have five rushing touchdowns, but none have near the carries of McGahee.
Jonathan Vilma has 119 tackles to lead Miami defense in tackles. He has seven tackles for a loss of 13 yards, a figure that includes two sacks. Vilma has forced one fumble and has recovered two. D.J. Williams also gives the Hurricanes a second defender with 100 tackles or more. Williams has an even 100, including 13 tackles for loss (43 yards) and four sacks. A total of seven have more than 50 total tackles. Jamaal Green is the team leader with nine sacks and William Joseph is the best on the team with 15 tackles for loss. As a unit, the Miami defense is allowing just 18.1 points and 290.9 yards per contest with 46 sacks and 10 interceptions.
Kicker Todd Sievers is second on the team in scoring, behind McGahee with 12 field goals and 63 PATs. He is 12-of-20 (60 percent) on field goals, converting all three attempts inside of 30 yards. He is 5-of-7 from 30 to 39 yards and is 4-of-10 from beyond 40 yards with a season-long make of 53 yards. Handling punting duties is Freddie Capshaw, who is averaging 41.0 yards on 50 punts. He has pinned 14 inside the 20 with a season long of 59 yards and has had three blocked. The return team consists of Roscoe Parrish and Ethenic Sands handling punt returns and Jason Geathers on kick returns. Parrish has returned 25 punts for 336 yards, an average of 13.4 yards, while Sands has 17 returns for 169 yards, an average of 9.9 per return. Geathers has had 24 kick returns for 521 yards for a 21.7 average per return. Only one punt and no kicks have been returned for a score.
Miami Head Coach Larry Coker
Second-year head coach Larry Coker has a 24-0 (1.000) record at Miami. His 24-0 record includes a 14-0 mark in Big East play, along witha 12-0 mark at the Orange Bowl and a 12-0 record on the road. Coker’s start at Miami is the best of any first-time head coach in the “modern era” of college football (post-1950) for wins without a tie or loss. Oklahoma’s Barry Switzer started out 21-0-1 in 1973-74, but suffered a tie in his second game as head coach. Coker’s unbeaten/untied start is the best by a first-time Division I-A head coach since Walter Camp of Yale led the Bulldogs to 28 consecutive victories before a loss in the 1888-89 seasons.
Buckeyes Enjoy Record Attendance
A record total of 827,904 fans flocked through the gates of Ohio Stadium this year to see the Buckeyes play. This year’s eight-game total easily eclipsed the old record of 654,500, set in 1991 in seven games. The Buckeyes’ average attendance this year of 103,488 is the second highest in OSU history, surpassed only by a 103,532 figure in six games in 2001. A single-game record crowd of 105,539 was on hand for this year’s Ohio State-Michigan game.
Freshman Class Has Immediate 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, when healthy, is the starting tailback. Sims has started four 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.
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.
Texas Tech – The Buckeyes open the 2002 campaign with a 45-21 win over Texas Tech. As it turns outs, the Red Raiders are the only team all season long to score more than 20 points against the Buckeye, and 14 of those come in the fourth quarter, long after the outcome has been decided. In their earliest-ever season debut, the Buckeyes score six rushing touchdown, three by freshman tailback Maurice Clarett.
Washington State – Freshman Maurice Clarett rushes for 230 yards, the sixth highest one-season total in Ohio State history. Mike Nugent ties a school record with three field goals of 40 or more yards in a 25-7 win over Cougars.
At Cincinnati – Lydell Ross fills in for injured Maurice Clarett at tailback and rushes for a career-high 130 yards. The OSU defense comes up with three turnovers on the Bearcats final three possessions. Chris Gamble intercepts a pass on his first play as a defensive back.
San Jose State – Craig Krenzel throws for 241 yards and three touchdowns in 50-7 win, both career highs for the junior signal caller. The 50 points is a season high for the Buckeyes.
At Wisconsin – OSU Coach Jim Tressel records career win No. 150 in 19-14 victory in Madison. Mike Nugent nails a pair of field goals, giving him 17 in a row and breaking the old mark of 15 that he had tied the previous week against San Jose State. Wisconsin gets zero rushing yards in the fourth quarter.
Penn State – Chris Gamble returns an interception 40 yards for Ohio State’s lone touchdown in a 13-7 win. The OSU defense holds Penn State to 58 total yards in the second half.
Minnesota – For the fourth-consecutive week, the Ohio State defense does not allow a point in the second half. Minnesota is held to 112 yards on the day, just 7 in the second half.
At Purdue – Craig Krenzel and Michael Jenkins hook up on fourth-and-one 37-yard touchdown pass with 1:36 to play. Chris Gamble then preserves the win with his fourth interception of the year.
At Illinois – Ohio State plays in its first-ever overtime game and wins 23-16 on an 8-yard run by Maurice Hall. The Buckeyes set a school record with their 12th win. After Ohio State takes the lead in overtime, defensive tackle Tim Anderson bats down a fourth-down pass to preserve the win. Flanker/cornerback Chris Gamble plays in 128 plays.
Michigan – Ohio State’s 13 seniors come away with a 14-9 victory and earn a share of the Big Ten title and an invitation to play in the National Championship Game at the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 3. Coach Jim Tressel records his 155th career win, equaling the victory total of his late father, Lee Tressel, at Baldwin Wallace College. For the second consecutive week, Mo Hall scores the winning touchdown.
Game 1 Recap – Texas Tech
Texas Tech 7 0 0 14 – 21 Ohio State 14 7 17 7 – 45
Ohio State opened the 2002 campaign Aug. 24 with aconvincing 45-21 victory over Texas Tech in the Pigskin Classic. Itwas the earliest season debut for the Buckeyes.
Freshman tailback Maurice Clarett started the game and rushed for 175 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries. Clarett, who scored on runs of 59, 45 and 1 yards, was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week.
Clarett had plenty of help from sophomore sidekicks Maurice Hall and Lydell Ross. Hall finished with 74 yards on 13 carries and Ross had 40 yards and two touchdowns to show for his 16 carries.
As a team, the Buckeyes rolled up 317 yards on the ground and finished with 477 yards in total offense. OSU averaged 6.4 yards per carry, did not have a turnover and had just two offensive penalties.
Quarterback Craig Krenzel completed 11 of 14 passes for 118 yards before giving way to backup Scott McMullen, who scored OSU’s sixth rushing touchdown of the day.
The OSU defense, meanwhile, threw up a curtain around Texas Tech quarterback Kliff Kingsbury. Kingsbury finished with 341 yards and three touchdown passes, but much of the yardage and two of the scoring tosses came in the fourth quarter, long after the outcome had been decided.
Led by defensive end Will Smith, the Buckeyes recorded seven sacks and generally harassed Kingsbury all afternoon. Smith had four tackles-for-loss and two of the sacks.
Linebacker Cie Grant was credited with five tackles, including two sacks of his own, and was selected by the OSU coaching staff as the Buckeyes’ defensive player of the game.
The Buckeyes also fared well in the kicking department. Ray Guy Award candidate Andy Groom averaged 48 yards per punt on four kicks and place-kicker Mike Nugent converted all six PATs and hit a career-best 45-yard field goal.
Ohio State had just five penalties on the day, converted 10-of-15 third-down attempts and had the ball for 36 minutes. The Buckeyes were four-of-four in the red zone, while Texas Tech was 0-for-2.
Game 2 Recap – Kent State
Kent State 0 14 0 3 – 17 Ohio State 21 17 3 10 – 51
The Buckeyes jumped out to a 21-0 lead at the end of thefirst quarter and were ahead 38-0 with 7:31 to play in the firsthalf 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
Washington St. 7 0 0 0 – 7 Ohio State 3 3 12 7 – 25
The Buckeyes trailed 7-6 at the half, but responded with19-unanswered points after intermission to down visiting WashingtonState, 25-7. The victory over the 10th-ranked Cougars was theBuckeyes 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
Ohio State 0 7 7 9 – 23 Cincinnati 9 3 7 0 – 19
Ohio State ran its record to 4-0 with a 23-19 win overCincinnati in a game that was even closer than the final scorewould indicate. Cincinnati led most of the day and was on top 19-17late in the fourth quarter. The Buckeyes took the lead for good at23-19 on a 6-yard scamper by quarterback Craig Krenzel at the 3:44mark and then held off a final charge by the Bearcats that endedwith Will Allen’s interception in the end zone with 26 seconds toplay.
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
Indiana 0 10 0 7 – 17 Ohio State 7 14 17 7 – 45
The Buckeye opened their Big Ten season with a 45-17 winover visiting Indiana. Ohio State took control early, jumping outto a 21-10 lead at the half, and then put the game away by scoring24-unanswered points after intermission on the way to a 45-10advantage 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 Northwestern
Ohio State 0 14 10 3 – 27 Northwestern 6 3 7 0 – 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 theirfirst two possessions of the second half to take a 24-9 lead. Butit wasn’t until OSU safety Donnie Nickey recovered a Northwesternfumble in the final minute of play that the Buckeyes couldcelebrate 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 State
San Jose State 0 7 0 0 – 7 Ohio State 7 17 17 9 – 50
Riding the hot hand of junior quarterback Craig Krenzel andbuoyed by four defensive takeaways, Ohio State celebratedhomecoming 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
Ohio State 10 3 0 6 – 19 Wisconsin 7 7 0 0 – 14
The Buckeyes survived what could best be described as a10-round slugfest with the Badgers in Camp Randall Stadium.Flanker-turned-cornerback Chris Gamble delivered the knockout punchfor OSU, picking off an interception in the corner of the end zonemidway through the fourth quarter to blunt the Badgers’ finalscoring 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.
Game 9 Recap – Penn State
Penn State 7 0 0 0 – 7 Ohio State 0 3 10 0 – 13
With sophomore Chris Gamble starting both at flanker andcornerback – the first Ohio State player to start both ways innearly 40 years – the Buckeyes downed visiting Penn State in atitanic defensive struggle 13-7.
The 6-2, 180-pound Gamble recorded the Buckeyes’ only touchdown of the day, returning an interception 40 yards to pay dirt at the start of the third period. That score put OSU on top 10-7, a lead the Buckeyes would never relinquish. It was the third interception of the year for Gamble, who also had a reception on offense and logged a total of 95 plays.
The Buckeyes played the game without starting right tackle Shane Olivea, who underwent an emergency appendectomy. Additionally, starting linebacker Cie Grant missed the game because of an ankle sprain suffered 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. Penn State had just 58 yards in the second half and finished the day with 179 yards, well below its season average of 440 per game.
Game 10 Recap – Minnesota
Minnesota 3 0 0 0 – 3 Ohio State 0 10 17 7 – 34
The Buckeyes trailed 3-0 after the first quarter, but thenscored 34-unanswered points on the way to their 10th victory of theyear.
The Ohio State defense again played superbly, limiting the Minnesota offense to 112 total yards, including just 7 in the second half. The Gophers, who had entered the game averaging 271 yards rushing (sixth nationally), managed just 53 yards against the Buckeyes. Tailback Terry Jackson, the Big Ten’s leading rusher at 128 yards a game, finished a long afternoon with 49 yards on 16 carries. Minnesota’s longest play of the day was 11 yards.
The OSU defense recorded nine tackles-for-loss and kept constant pressure on Minnesota quarterback Asad Abdul-Khaliq, who managed just 44 yards in total offense and was sacked four times.
Linebacker Matt Wilhelm had a team-leading seven tackles, one more than cornerback Chris Gamble and All-America safety Mike Doss. Tackle Darrion Scott had four tackles and two sacks.
The OSU offense, bolstered by the return of right tackle Shane Olivea, finished with 322 yards on the day, including 178 rushing against the Big Ten’s top statistical defense.
With freshman tailback Maurice Clarett sidelined with a shoulder injury, sophomore Lydell Ross ran for 89 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. Maurice Hall, another sophomore, added 93 yards off the bench, including his second touchdown of the year.
Quarterback Craig Krenzel threw for 128 yards and his 10th touchdown of the year. Krenzel’s scoring strike was a 30-yard pass to flanker Chris Vance. Krenzel also hooked up with split end Michael Jenkins on a 49-yard pass to set up OSU’s first score – the longest pass play of the year for the Buckeyes.
Mike Nugent added a pair of field goals for Ohio State.
Game 11 Recap – at Purdue
Ohio State 0 3 0 7 – 10 Purdue 3 0 0 3 – 6
Trailing 6-3 and facing a fourth-and-one with 1:42 to play,the Buckeyes scored on 37-yard pass from Craig Krenzel to MichaelJenkins. Then, as he has made a habit of doing in recent weeks,sophomore Chris Gamble saved the day with a leaping interceptionthat allowed the Buckeyes to run out the clock and escape with a10-6 win.
The Buckeye defense was again superb, holding the Boilers, who had entered the game averaging 29 points a game, to a pair of field goals.
Cornerback Dustin Fox and linebacker Matt Wilhelm also had interceptions for Ohio State. The pick by Fox came in the end zone after Purdue had driven to the OSU 15 on its opening possession. Wilhelm’s diving grab set up Ohio State’s first score, a 22-yard Mike Nugent field goal as time expired in the first half. Nugent’s kick knotted the score at 3-all.
Wilhelm also came up with a big play in the fourth quarter, a tackle-for-loss of Purdue quarterback Brandon Kirsch at the OSU 10-yard line that forced the Boilers to settle for a field goal rather than a touchdown. Wilhelm finished the game with eight tackles, one behind All-America Mike Doss.
The game-winning drive, which covered 46 yards in four plays, was OSU’s longest drive of the day and included a 13-yard completion to tight end Ben Harstock on third down.
Game 12 Recap – at Illinois (OT)
Ohio State 6 0 7 3 7 – 23 Illinois 0 3 10 3 0 – 16
Ohio State ran its record to 12-0, but needed an overtimesession to down Illinois, 23-16, on a cold, windy day in Champaign.It was the first overtime game for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State jumped out to a 6-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, but Illinois narrowed the margin to 6-3 at halftime and took a 10-6 lead early in the third quarter on a 19-yard pass from John Beutjer to Walter Young. Eugene Wilson set up the score with a 52-yard punt return to the OSU 23.
The Buckeyes came right back to take the lead on their next possession – Craig Krenzel teaming up with split end Michael Jenkins from 50 yards out.
With OSU leading 16-13 in the closing minute of regulation play, Illinois marched from its own 25 to the
Ohio State 31 and kicked a 48-yard field goal to tie the game as time expired.
Ohio State struck first in the extra session, scoring on an 8-yard run by Maurice Hall on third down. Krenzel kept the drive alive with a key 14-yard scramble from the 25.
Illinois then took its turn, but when tackle Tim Anderson batted down a fourth-down Beutjer pass, the Buckeyes were 12-0 for the first time in school history.
Linebacker Matt Wilhelm had 12 tackles for the Buckeyes and was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week following the game.
Game 13 Recap – Michigan
Michigan 3 6 0 0 – 9 Ohio State 7 0 0 7 – 14
Maurice Hall scored the winning touchdown with 4:55 to playand the OSU defense held off two furious Michigan charges in theclosing seconds as the Buckeyes recorded a 14-9 win to remainunbeaten at 13-0. The victory marked the Buckeyes firstback-to-back victories over the Wolverines since the 1981 and ’82seasons.
Hall scored on a 3-yard option play that capped off an 8-play, 57-yard drive by the Buckeyes. Craig Krenzel’s 26-yard pass to Maurice Clarett at the Michigan 6-yard line was the key play.
Clarett, who did not start the game, was like a time bomb waiting to explode once he got the call, shredding the Michigan defense for 119 yards on 20 carries. The 230-pound freshman scored the Buckeyes’ first touchdown on a 2-yard run at the end of the first quarter and continually sparked the Buckeyes and the record Ohio Stadium crowd with his running.
The OSU defense limited the Wolverines to three field goals and came up with a pair of turnovers on Michigan’s final two possessions. Darrion Scott caused the first, forcing a John Navarre fumble that Will Smith recovered at the OSU 36. Nickel back Will Allen got the other, intercepting a Navarre pass on the OSU two as time expired. Allen also batted down a pass on the Wolverines’ final thrust.
Seniors Matt Wilhelm and Mike Doss, two of the 13 seniors playing in their final game in Ohio Stadium, combined for 28 tackles.
BUCKEYES To WATCH…
Maurice Clarett (Freshman Tailback)
Had seen almost no action for four weeks because of a stinger in his left shoulder, but came off the bench against Michigan to spark the Buckeyes to a 14-9 victory and help propel the Buckeyes into the national championship game. Sensational freshman, who has taken the college football world by storm. Second in the Big Ten in scoring average (9.6 points a game) and fourth in average rushing yards per game (119.0). Has recorded seven 100-yard games to date, including 230 vs. Washington State. Has set frosh records for TDs (16), scoring (96 points) and rushing (1,190). Tremendous impact player. Despite his youth, can be “The Difference” in a game. Was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and to the Sporting News Freshman All-America team. Also named to a first-team berth on the All-Big Ten team.
Mike Doss (Senior Strong Safety)
The Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year and a near consensus All-America choice. Is one of just seven three-time All-Americans in Ohio State history. Had 27 tackles in the last two games of the season, 14 at Illinois and 13 against Michigan. Team’s second leading tackler with a career-high 98 total stops. Had a team-best nine tackles at Purdue and has graded out to 85 percent or better in each of the past seven games. Forty-five-yard pick for score against Kent State was his fourth collegiate touchdown. A team co-captain and leader both on and off the field. A finalist for the Thorpe Award.
Chris Gamble (Sophomore Flanker/Cornerback)
Has started the past five games at flanker AND cornerback. A first-team All-Big Ten pick on defense and a second-team All-America on the Sporting News team. The Buckeyes’ second-leading receiver with 29 catches for 430 yards and an average of 14.8 yards per catch. Leads the team in interceptions with four, including a 40-yard TD return against Penn State that was the key play in the Buckeyes’ 13-7 victory. All four of his interceptions have been game savers. Also had a 43-yard reverse for a touchdown against Indiana. Averages 23.0 yards per kick return and 8.6 yards per punt return. Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week following the Minnesota game, and was nominated too for Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week honors after that game. Played 100 or more plays each of the past three games, including 128 at Illinois.
Andy Groom (Senior Punter)
Named to the Football Writers All-America team and a consensus choice for the All-Big Ten team. Led the Big Ten with an average of 44.6 yards per punt. Put on a brilliant performance at Wisconsin, averaging 50.2 yards per punt on six kicks, including a career best 74-yard boot (the third best single-game effort in OSU annals). Averaged 48.6 yards on five punts against Penn State and had kicks of 59 and 55 yards in the waning stages of the 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 after the Wisconsin and Penn State games.
Craig Krenzel (Junior Quarterback)
Has helped lead the Buckeyes to their best start ever and has routinely engineered come-from-behind wins to keep OSU unbeaten. Threw the game-winning touchdown pass at Purdue with 1:36 left on the clock. Had a 50- yard touchdown pass at Illinois and a key run in the overtime to set up the winning touchdown. Is 14-1 as a starter dating back to last year (that one loss was against South Carolina in the bowl game when he played in two series). Makes few mistakes, has a strong arm and also is a surprisingly effective runner. Has completed 61.8 percent of his passes and is second in the Big Ten in passing efficiency (8th nationally). 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