Oct. 10, 2005

Transcript of Press Luncheon
Player Quotes
Depth Chart
Top 25 Polls

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Ohio State returns home this week to host Michigan State. The game Saturday in sold out Ohio Stadium (102,329) is set for 12:10 p.m. on ABC.

This is Homecoming weekend in Columbus and the 1955 and 1975 Ohio State football teams are holding reunions and will be introduced at halftime. Additionally, the annual Captains’ Breakfast will be held Saturday morning at the Blackwell Hotel. Jim Langhurst, the captain of the 1940 team, will be one of the captains in attendance.

The game this week pits the Big Ten’s No. 1 defense (Ohio State) against the league’s most prolific offense (Michigan State). The Buckeyes, who enter the game at 3-2 and 1-1 following the 17-10 loss at unbeaten Penn State last week, are allowing 166 yards a game. They lead the Big Ten in total defense, scoring defense and rushing defense and are second in passing defense. The Spartans, who are 4-1 on the year and 1-1 in conference play, are averaging 560 yards and 46 points a game. They lead the league in rushing, passing, scoring and total offense. MSU was idle last week on the heels of a 34-31 overtime loss to visiting Michigan two weeks ago. WBNS Radio, the flagship station of the 73-station Ohio State radio network, carries all OSU games and begins network programming 30 minutes before kickoff with the Jim Tressel pregame show.

Ohio State has completed its 2006 football card with the addition of Bowling Green. The two teams will play Oct. 7 in Ohio Stadium, giving the Buckeyes seven home games next year. The Buckeyes and Falcons have met three times previously. Ohio State leads the series 3-0. All three games have been played in Columbus. The most recent game was in 2003.

MSU Team comparison OSU
4-1 Records 3-2
45.4 Points Per Game 24.8
23.4 Opp. Points Per Game 13.5
252.4 Avg. Rushing Yards 171.0
314.0 Avg. Passing Yards 183.4
566.4 Avg. Total Offense 354.4
119.8 Opp. Avg. Rushing Yards 56.2
285.6 Opp. Avg. Passing Yards 182.0
405.4 Opp. Avg. Total Offense 238.2
32/59 Third Down Conversions 39/77
30/246 Pen./Yards 27/253
30:12 Avg. Time of Poss. 33:50
12 Sacks By 16
5 Sacks Allowed 10
6-4, 310 Avg. Ht./Wgt. Off Ln 6-5, 305
6-3, 303 Avg. Ht./Wt. Def Ln 6-3, 284

Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel meets with the media each Tuesday at the Woody Hayes Athletics Center. Lunch is served at 11:30 a.m., followed by Coach Tressel’s comments and a question-and-answer session at about 12:15 p.m. Selected players are available at the luncheon and again after practice on Tuesday. Tressel also meets with the media following practice each Wednesday during the season.

Two Ohio State assistant coaches (one from each side of the ball) are available in the atrium of the Woody Hayes Athletics Center after practice each Thursday during the season to preview the upcoming game. The experts this week are wide receivers coach Darrell Hazell and defensive backs coach Paul Haynes.

The Buckeyes are ranked 15th in the Associated Press and Coaches polls and 15th in the Harris poll. Ohio State is tied for fifth in the Big Ten and is one of seven conference teams with one loss behind the unbeaten Nittany Lions.

The Buckeyes have held each of their last three opponents under 200 yards in total offense, limiting San Diego State to 179, Iowa to 137 and Penn State to 195.

Led by All-American linebacker A.J. Hawk, the Buckeyes are allowing 11.5 points and 54 rushing yards per game. Hawk leads the Buckeyes in tackles with 49, including a team-high eight tackles-for-loss. Ohio State has given up just 68 points on the year, including just three rushing touchdowns.

The Buckeyes continue to lead the country in rushing defense, have moved up to fourth in total defense and are ninth in scoring defense.

Offensively, the Buckeyes are averaging 354 yards and 24.8 points per game. Quarterback Troy Smith has thrown for 557 yards and three touchdowns and tailback Antonio Pittman leads the rushing attack with 462 yards on 92 carries. Split end Santonio Holmes has a team-high 22 receptions, good for 325 yards and two of the Buckeyes’ five passing touchdowns.

The Buckeyes lead the Big Ten in time of possession at 33:50 minutes per game and in net punting at 40.9.

Since beginning league play in 1913, Ohio State has compiled an all-time Big Ten record of 419-162-24 and captured 29 conference championships. Ohio State’s 29 championships include 15 outright and 14 shared crowns. Between 1972 and 1977, the Buckeyes shared the title six-consecutive times and went to a still unprecedented four straight Rose Bowls.

COACH Jim Tressel
Jim Tressel is now in his fifth season as head coach at Ohio State. His record with the Buckeyes is 43-13 and his career record is 178-70-2 (.716). He is in his 20th year as a head coach.

Tressel took over the Buckeyes in 2001, directing them to a 7-5 record that year. In 2002, he led Ohio State to a 14-0 record and the school’s first consensus national championship since 1968 and was nearly everyone’s choice as National Coach of the Year following the season. In 2003, the Buckeyes won their first five games to extend their winning streak to 19 and finished with an 11-2 record. The squad last year, which had to replace 14 NFL drafted players, won five of its last six games en route to an 8-4 finish.

Tressel’s teams have appeared in four Bowl games and are 3-1 in those contests, including back-to-back BCS wins in the Fiesta Bowl. They also are 3-1 against Michigan in one of the most intense and storied rivalries in all of sport.

Eight of Tressel’s players have won first-team All-America honors and three have won major awards, including kicker Mike Nugent, the recipient of the Lou Groza Award last year as the best place-kicker in college football.

Tressel is a master in close games. Since coming to Ohio State, he is 16-9 in games decided by a touchdown or less and 4-1 in overtime games.

He is at his best against the best with a 17-7 record against teams ranked in the Top 25 and a 5-2 mark against teams ranked in the Top 10.

The 52-year-old Tressel is a 1975 graduate of Baldwin-Wallace College.

Ohio State now has an all-time record of 768-300-53.

The Buckeyes are outscoring their opponents 50-17 in the second quarter and 30-9 in the third.

Ohio State has won 24 of its last 26 home games – the losses coming to Wisconsin in 2004 and Texas earlier this year.

Under Tressel, the Buckeyes are 32-3 when leading at the half and 34-3 when ahead after three quarters.

The crowd of 105,225 vs. Iowa was the 23rd-consecutive Ohio Stadium sellout and the fifth largest in Stadium history.

Ohio State has played in front of at least 100,000 fans in five of the last six games (all but the Alamo Bowl).

The Buckeyes have scored at least one touchdown in 106-consecutive games.

The Buckeyes’ record as a Top 10 team is 281-68-9.

Junior fullback Stan White hauled in his first career reception at Penn State (11 yards).

Eight Ohio State players are listed on the various postseason awards watch lists: linebacker A.J. Hawk (Butkus, Lombardi, Lott, Bednarik, Walter Camp), center Nick Mangold (Rimington, Lombardi), split end Santonio Holmes (Biletnikoff, Walter Camp), linebacker Bobby Carpenter (Butkus), safety Nate Salley (Thorpe), cornerback Ashton Youboty (Thorpe), tight end Ryan Hamby (Mackey) and flanker Ted Ginn Jr. (Walter Camp, Biletnikoff).

Ohio State leads the series with Michigan State 23-12 and has won 12 of the 19 games played in Columbus. The Buckeyes have won three in a row from the Spartans, including a 32-19 decision last year in East Lansing. Michigan State’s last win in Columbus was a 28-24 decision in 1998 that knocked OSU from the unbeaten ranks and out of the national championship picture. MSU also won the following year in East Lansing. Between 1975 and 1984 the Buckeyes ran off eight-consecutive wins, the longest winning streak in the rivalry by either team.

Ohio State jumped out to an early 17-0 lead, then fell behind 19-17 before rallying for the win with a pair of late fourth-quarter touchdowns. Ted Ginn Jr. scored three touchdowns for the Buckeyes, including the go-ahead tally on a 58-yard slant pass from Troy Smith with 1:37 to play. After A.J. Hawk’s diving interception thwarted the host Spartans’ last drive, tailback Maurice Hall went 51 yards around the right end to close out the scoring. Ginn also scored on a 17-yard run and a 60-yard punt return. The win was the third in a row for the Buckeyes.

The Buckeyes dropped a hard-fought 17-10 decision to unbeaten Penn State in an old-fashioned defensive struggle. The Buckeyes held the Nittany Lions to 195 total yards, including just 74 in the second half and eight in the fourth quarter, but could not overcome an early 14-3 deficit and a pair of costly turnovers. A 30-yard Josh Huston field goal and a 10-yard run by Troy Smith accounted for all of the OSU scoring.

Santonio Holmes and Ted Ginn combined for seven receptions and 81 yards and Antonio Pittman had 58 yards on 15 carries for the Buckeyes who wound up with 230 total yards.

Linebackers A.J. Hawk and Anthony Schlegel led the team with nine tackles each and Hawk had three of the Buckeyes 11 tackles-for-loss. Hawk has led the Buckeyes in tackles in all five games this year.

Senior kicker Josh Huston continues to lead the Big Ten in field goals made (11), field goal percentage (84.6) and kick scoring (9.2 points per game). Additionally, 15 of his 28 kickoffs have been touchbacks.

With nine tackles at Penn State, senior linebacker A.J. Hawk now has 322 career tackles, a total that places him 10th on the all-time OSU list. Former teammate Mike Doss (1999-2002) holds down the No. 9 spot with 331 stops.

In the receiving department, junior Santonio Holmes has moved up to seventh in career receptions with 109, four of which came at Penn State. Next in line is tight end John Frank (1980-83) with 121. Holmes also has 1,643 receiving yards to rank 12th on the all-time Ohio State list in that category.

Split end Santonio Holmes has caught two or more passes in 23-consecutive games. The fleet-footed junior had four receptions for 41 yards against Penn State. Holmes has 22 catches in the Buckeyes’ first four games and is averaging 14.8 yards per reception and 65 yards per game.

Buckeye quarterback Troy Smith ran (127 yards) and threw (191 yards) his way for 318 yards and four touchdowns (two rushing and two passing) in Ohio State’s 31-6 win over Iowa. It was the second best total offense day of Smith’s career, topped only by his 386-yard showing against Michigan last year. On the year, Smith, who is 6-2 as a starter, is averaging 203.2 yards per game in total offense so far this year.

The Ohio State defense has recorded 16 sacks through the first five games and is second in the Big Ten in that category. The Buckeyes totaled 24 sacks all of last year. Bobby Carpenter leads the Buckeyes in sacks with four, followed by Mike Kudla and A. J. Hawk with 3.5 apiece.

Senior place-kicker Josh Huston tied school records for most field goals in a game and most field goals in a game at Ohio Stadium by booting five treys against Texas. Huston converted from 45, 36, 25, 44, and 26 yards out against the Longhorns, staking OSU to a 22-16 lead. He also narrowly missed from 50 yards away. The five field goals in Ohio Stadium equals the record set by Bob Atha against Indiana in 1981 and matched last year by Mike Nugent, the school’s all-time leading scorer. Atha kicked his five in Ohio Stadium. Nugent’s five came at North Carolina State. Huston’s six field goal attempts against Texas is a school record.

Offensive tackle Steve Rehring is out indefinitely after contracting pneumonia and being hospitalized for nearly a week. Rehring is currently at home in West Chester, Ohio. He had played in three games before becoming ill. Linebackers Mike D’Andrea and Marcus Freeman and tight end Rory Nicol remain sidelined with injuries. None of the latter three has played this year. D’Andrea, out since the Northwestern game last year with a knee, could return this week.

A league best 22 Ohio State football players were named to the Big Ten’s All-Academic team last fall, marking the third year in a row the Buckeyes have led the conference in that area. Additionally, a record 44 Ohio State football players qualified for last spring’s annual OSU Scholar-Athlete Dinner, which requires a grade-point average of 3.00 or better for the past academic year. As a team, the Buckeyes have an overall GPA of 2.82.

Seniors Steve Winner, John Conroy and Rob “Chic” Harley have been put on scholarship by Coach Jim Tressel.

“They have worked hard and deserve it,” said the Ohio State coach. “It is nice to be able to reward players for their work ethic. All three have a passion to be here, so I know this is special for them.”

Winner is from Dublin, Ohio, Conroy from Bay Village, Ohio and Harley from Elmhurst, Ill.

Brandon Smith, a redshirt freshman from Euclid, Ohio, has moved from linebacker to tight end and has switched from No. 54 to No. 87. Smith’s move was necessitated by the loss of Rory Nicol, who is out with a foot injury. The 6-3, 240-pound Smith currently is listed behind starter Ryan Hamby. Additionally, a slimmer and trimmer Brandon Schnittker (250 down to 235) has moved from fullback to tailback, and redshirt-freshman Shaun Lane from cornerback to tailback. Senior Robbie Sims, the Buckeyes starting left tackle the past two years, has moved to left guard.

Kicker Josh Huston was one of 23 Ohio State student-athletes to receive an undergraduate degree Aug. 28. With a degree in real estate and urban development already completed, Huston began work on another undergrad degree in psychology when fall classes started in late September.

Ohio State enters this week with an all-time record of 768-300-53 since first fielding a football team in 1890. That includes a Big Ten record of 419-162-24 since 1913, an Ohio Stadium slate of 358-102-20 since 1922 and a bowl mark of 17-19.

Linebacker A.J. Hawk, center Nick Mangold, safety Nate Salley and offensive guard Robbie Sims are the 2005 captains. The four seniors were elected by a vote of their teammates. Hawk and Mangold are both from Centerville, Ohio (as is Mike Nugent who was one of last year’s co-captains and Kirk Herbstreit, who captained the 1992 team). Salley is from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Sims from Macedonia, Ohio.

Seven true freshmen – offensive tackle Alex Boone, cornerback Malcolm Jenkins, linebacker James Laurinaitis, safety Jamario O’Neal, flanker Brian Robiskie, tailback Maurice Wells and defensive end Lawrence Wilson – have seen action this year for the Buckeyes.

Cornerback Malcolm Jenkins became the first true OSU freshman to start this year, getting the nod against San Diego State when the Buckeyes opened the game with five defensive backs. Jenkins, a native of Piscataway, N.J., is listed as a back-up cornerback in the two deep. He has played in all five games thus far and has 12 tackles and a pass broken up. He equaled his season high – set earlier against San Diego State – with three tackles at Penn State.

There are two new faces on the Ohio State coaching staff this year, both on the defensive side of the ball. Tim Beckman has taken over as the cornerbacks coach and Paul Haynes has assumed the role of safeties coach. Beckman comes to Ohio State from Bowling Green, where he spent the past seven seasons. Haynes, who grew up in Columbus and played at DeSales High School, was at Michigan State the past two years.

With the departures of defensive coordinator Mark Snyder for Marshall and Mel Tucker for the Cleveland Browns, veteran OSU assistant Jim Heacock has been elevated to defensive coordinator and Luke Fickell to co-defensive coordinator. Additionally, wide receivers coach Darrell Hazell will now serve as assistant head coach. This marks the second-consecutive year the Buckeyes have started the season with a new defensive coordinator, but Heacock is a former head coach who is in his 10th season at Ohio State and Fickell is in his fourth year on Tressel’s staff.

Offensive coordinator Jim Bollman and quarterbacks coach Joe Daniels will be in the press box for the Buckeyes during the game as will cornerbacks coach Tim Beckman and co-defensive coordinator Luke Fickell.


Miami 0 0 0 14 14 Ohio State 10 10 14 0 34

The Buckeyes opened the season with a 34-14 win over the RedHawks before an Ohio Stadium crowd of 104,695. The Buckeyes led 20-0 at the half and 34-0 after three quarters before giving up two late touchdowns.

Quarterback Justin Zwick completed 17 of 23 passes for 155 yards and one touchdown and Antonio Pittman rushed for 100 yards on 14 carries to pace a balanced OSU attack. Four different receivers caught five passes from Zwick and backup Todd Boeckman, including Santonio Holmes and Ted Ginn Jr., both of whom were on the receiving end of touchdown tosses.

The OSU defense, meanwhile, was its same aggressive and productive self, limiting Miami to just 159 yards through the first three periods, recording five sacks and scoring on a 26-yard interception return by Donte Whitner that put the Buckeyes ahead 20-0 with one minute, 21 seconds to play in the half and took most of the starch out of the visitors.

Linebacker A.J. Hawk led the defense with 10 tackles. The Buckeyes’ starting linebacker corps of Hawk, Bobby Carpenter and Anthony Schlegel all had sacks. So did Whitner and defensive end Mike Kudla, who forced a fumble that led to OSU’s final touchdown – a 42-yard Boeckman-to-Ginn pass. The Buckeyes ended the afternoon with 382 yards (220 passing, 160 rushing) on offense. Miami finished with 298.


Texas 10 3 3 9 25 Ohio State 0 16 6 0 22

The first meeting between the two football giants was everything it was supposed to be and then some. With a national television audience looking in and a record Ohio Stadium crowd on hand, the teams battled back-and-forth in an epic struggle that will go down in history as one of the classic games ever played in the Horseshoe.

After falling behind 10-0 at the end of the first period, the Buckeyes led 16-13 at the half and 22-16 after three quarters. But the Longhorns took a 23-22 lead with 2:37 to play and then added a safety with 19 seconds remaining to close out the scoring.

Led by All-America linebacker A.J. Hawk, the Buckeye defense forced three turnovers, including a pair of interceptions. Hawk, who seemed to be everywhere, had one of those picks and also recovered a fumble. The Buckeyes’ starting linebacker trio of Hawk, Bobby Carpenter and Anthony Schlegel combined for 31 tackles.

Josh Huston tied the school record with five field goals and narrowly missed on a sixth. The Buckeyes’ only touchdown came on a 36-yard pass from Troy Smith to Santonio Holmes, tying the score at 10-all with 8:11 to play in the first half. In addition to catching four passes for 73 yards, Holmes also returned three kickoffs for 109 yards.

Sophomore Antonio Pittman led the Buckeyes in rushing for the second-consecutive week, finishing with 75 yards on 17 carries and repeatedly picking up additional yards with extra effort.


San Diego State 6 0 0 0 6 Ohio State 7 7 3 10 27

After San Diego State registered a 6.0 on the Ohio Stadium Richter scale by scoring on an 80-yard pass on its first play from scrimmage, it was all Ohio State defense the rest of the way. Led by the brilliant linebacking corps of All-American A.J. Hawk, Bobby Carpenter and Anthony Schlegel, the OSU defense completely shut down the Aztec offense for the next 59 minutes and 49 seconds. After their opening drive, the Aztecs could manage a meager 99 yards the rest of the day, including just 44 in the second half. Eleven of their 14 possessions ended with a punt – the other three were the lone score, the end of the half and a fumble. SDSU managed just 13 yards rushing.

Hawk again led the team in tackles with eight, including a tackle-for-loss. Carpenter had two sacks and Schlegel was credited with half a sack and also recovered a fumble. It was Schlegel’s pressure that forced the Aztec fumble, which he recovered on the SDSU 1-yard line on the final play of the third quarter. Brandon Schnittker scored on the next play to put OSU up 24-6.

Quarterback Troy Smith accounted for 235 yards in total offense and ran for a pair of touchdowns. Seven different receivers caught at least two passes, led by Santonio Holmes and Roy Hall with four catches each.

Kicker Josh Huston added a pair of field goals, connecting from 25 and 39 yards out to complete the scoring.

A number of young players saw their first extended playing time, including true freshmen Mo Wells, who carried the ball nine times for 32 yards, and Brian Robiskie, who gathered in his first career reception and then spun his way up field for 13 yards. Redshirt freshman Erik Haw made his debut and responded with one carry for 6 yards and two receptions for another 6.

The Buckeyes rolled up 375 yards in total offense on 82 plays.


Iowa 0 0 3 3 6 Ohio State 7 10 7 7 31

The Buckeyes were masterful on both sides of the ball against the Hawkeyes. With junior quarterback Troy Smith and sophomore tailback Antonio Pittman both enjoying their best outings of the year, the Buckeyes amassed a season-high 530 yards – 314 rushing and 216 through the air. Smith completed 13 of 19 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 127 yards and a pair of scores on 18 carries, rolling up 318 yards in total offense. Pittman sliced and diced his way through the Hawkeye defense for 171 yards on 28 carries, both of which were career highs.

The OSU defense, meanwhile, limited the Hawkeyes to 137 yards and an average of 2.4 yards per play on 57 plays. Iowa had 13 yards at halftime, compared to Ohio State’s 331. The Buckeyes also converted 13 of their 18 third down opportunities, including nine-of-10 in the first half. Iowa converted just one-of-12 third downs.

As he has all year, A.J. Hawk led the Buckeyes in tackles with 10. Safety Donte Whitner had seven stops and an interception, and end Mike Kudla, a disruptive force all afternoon, had a sack and a half. Bobby Carpenter and Tyler Everett added sacks for the Buckeyes, who had five on the day.

The Buckeyes led 17-0 at the half and put the game away by scoring on their first possession of the third quarter on a 4-yard run by Smith, who scored earlier on a 16-yard jaunt. Both of Smith’s touchdown passes went to Anthony Gonzalez, who enjoyed his best day as a Buckeye with six receptions for 90 yards. Santonio Holmes had five receptions for 95 yards in a balanced OSU attack.

The 300-yards rushing was the most by the Buckeyes since the 2002 season opener against Texas Tech and the 530 yards in total offense marked the first time OSU had topped the 500 mark since 2002.

The minus-yardage figure by Iowa was the first time since 2003 that an opponent (Indiana, -12 on 32 attempts) had finished on the negative side of the ledger.

Michigan State opened the season with four-consecutive victories before dropping a 34-31 overtime decision to Michigan Oct. 1 at Spartan Stadium. The Spartans were off last week. Michigan State had beaten Kent State (49-14), Hawaii (42-14), Notre Dame (44-41 in overtime) and Illinois 61-14.

The Spartans are averaging 45.4 points and 566.4 yards of total offense. Michigan State is averaging 252.4 yards on the ground and 314.0 yards through the air. Quarterback Drew Stanton has completed 99-of-138 passes (71.7 percent) for 1,466 yards and 14 touchdowns. The junior is averaging 293.2 yards passing per game to go along with 24.6 on the ground. He has rushed for two scores. Four different Spartans have 17 or more receptions, including Kyle Brown, who paces the team with 21 catches for 315 yards and two scores. Matt Trannon has 20 receptions for 337 yards and four touchdowns. The pair is averaging 63.0 and 67.4 yards per game, respectively. Javon Ringer is averaging 80.8 yards rushing per game and has 51 carries for 404 yards and four scores. Jehuu Caulcrick also has four rushing touchdowns.

Defensively, the Spartans are limiting opponents to 23.4 points per game and 405.4 total yards per game. Michigan State is allowing 119.8 rushing yards per game, but is surrendering 285.6 yards per game through the air. Eric Smith leads the Spartans with 43 tackles, including 26 solo stops. He also has one interception. Sir Darrean Adams leads the team with four tackles-for-loss and is second on the team with 36 total tackles. He has one sack and two interceptions. The unit has 28 tackles-for-loss and 12 sacks. Michigan State has picked off five passes and has recovered three fumbles.

Mike Hart ran for 218 yards and a touchdown and kicker Garrett Rivas made up for missing a field goal in the final minute of regulation by kicking a 35-yarder in overtime to give the Wolverines a 34-31 win over Michigan State Oct. 1 at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Mich. Michigan State got the ball first in overtime. John Goss missed a 37-yard field goal that gave Michigan the ball before Rivas booted the game-winner on third down. Drew Stanton was 20-of-30 for 282 yards with a TD pass for the Spartans. Henne was 26-of-35 for 256 yards. Jason Avant caught 10 passes for 96 yards and a TD. The teams combined for 943 total yards of offense, including 488 by Michigan.

John L. Smith (Weber State, 1971) is in his third season with the Spartans and is 17-13 at the school. His first team at MSU finished 8-5 after losing to Nebraska in the Alamo Bowl. MSU finished 5-7 last year. Smith came to East Lansing from Louisville, where he guided the Cardinals to bowl games in each of his five seasons. Smith owns a 127-73 overall record in a career that also includes stops at Idaho and Utah State. In the 1993 Division I-AA playoffs, Smith’s Idaho team lost at Youngstown State (35-16), which was coached by current Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel. Tressel’s team went on to win the national championship that season.

Ohio State travels to Indiana for the first of two-consecutive road games. Saturday’s game with the Hoosiers is scheduled for 12:10 p.m. on ESPN. The Buckeyes are at Minnesota Oct. 29 and then return home Nov. 5 to host Illinois.