Thursday, November 19, 2009

THE Game...Ohio State vs. Michigan!

Here is the game preview, some history, and lots and lots of information! My prediction for the game is Ohio State-34 Michigan-7.

Buckeye going for sixth straight win over the Maize and Blue Saturday in Ann Arbor
#9/8 Ohio State (9-2, 6-1) at Michigan (5-6, 1-6)
Saturday, Nov. 21, 2009 - Noon ET
Michigan Stadium (106,201), Ann Arbor, Mich.

The Broadcasts
Television: Saturday’s game will be televised live on ABC with Sean McDonough (P-by-P) and Matt Millen (analyst) in the booth and Holly Rowe on the sidelines.

Radio: WBNS (FM 97.1 The Fan) is the flagship station for the 73-station Ohio State radio network. The Jim Tressel pregame show airs 30 minutes prior to kickoff. Paul Keels will call the play-by-play with former Buckeye Jim Lachey in the booth and Marty Bannister on the sidelines. The game can also be heard on Sirius satellite radio Channel 122.


Ohio State has won five Big Ten titles in a row and will be looking to win the 2009 title outright with a win at Michigan Saturday
OSU has accepted a bid to the 2010 Rose Bowl
This is the 106th meeting between the schools in football; Michigan leads the series 57-42-6, though Ohio State has won the last five
Coach Jim Tressel is 92-21 in 9 seasons at Ohio State; 227-78-2 in his 24th season overall
Tressel’s 227 career wins ranks third among active FBS coaches, one ahead of Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer (226).
Ohio State has totaled seven team rushing performances for at least 200 yards this season, tying for the most in the Tressel era
Ohio State’s defense has allowed just 10 touchdowns over its past 39 quarters of play
Ohio State’s all-time Big Ten record now stands at 456-190-28 – the best percentage of any Big Ten school
Ohio State ranks among the NCAA Top 10 in five defensive categories
The Buckeyes lead the Big Ten in total defense, rushing defense and turnover margin
The Wolverines are 5-6 (1-6 Big Ten) and are looking for one more win to become bowl eligible. UM started the season 4-0, but have lost 6-of-7 since, including a 45-24 loss at Wisconsin Saturday.

Michigan leads the Big Ten in scoring in all games played with 31.2 ppg. They rank second in rushing with 195.8 ypg, just ahead of Ohio State’s 194.2. Senior running back Brandon Minor is the team’s leading rusher with 502 yards and eight touchdowns. Freshman quarterback Tate Forcier is fourth in the conference in passing efficiency with a 132.85 rating. He has completed 142 of 243 attempts (58.4 percent) with six interceptions and 12 touchdowns.

Defensively, senior Brandon Graham ranks fourth nationally with 1.9 TFL’s per game. The Wolverines give up an average of 28.1 points and 400.2 yards of total offense per game. They also lead the Big Ten and rank second nationally in net punting with 42.1 yards per punt.

Rich Rodriguez is in his second year at Michigan with an overall record of 8-15 and 113-77-2 overall as a head coach.

Michigan leads the all-time series with Ohio State by a 57-42-6 count. *Michigan leads 27-22-2 in games played in Columbus.

Since 1951, the Buckeyes hold a 30-26-2 lead, including victories in seven of the eight games during the Jim Tressel era. Ohio State has won the last five meetings with Michigan.

The two teams first met in 1897 and the rivalry has been continuous since 1918. Since 1935, the game has been the traditional conference finale between the two schools.

Since joining the Big Ten Conference in 1913, Ohio State is 456-190-28 all-time in Big Ten games, and 259-112-18 in conference home games. The Buckeyes’ all-time conference win percentage of 69.6% is the best of any Big Ten school.

The loss at Purdue snapped an Ohio State 16-game win streak in Big Ten road games. That’s the longest such string ever by an Ohio State football team. The conference record is 17 games, set by Michigan between 1988-92.

17 - Michigan (Oct. 29, 1988-Nov. 7, 1992)
16 - Ohio State (Oct. 22, 2005-Oct. 3, 2009)
11 - Ohio State (Nov. 16, 1974-Nov. 5, 1977)
10 - Michigan (Oct. 6, 1945-Nov. 6, 1948)

Ohio State is 197-78-10 (.709) all-time in Big Ten road games. By decades on the road in the Big Ten: 7-4 (1913-19); 12-6-1 (1920-29); 17-6-1 (1930-39); 8-9-2 (1940-49); 17-8-1 (1950-59); 24-6 (1960-69); 30-5-1 (1970-79); 26-14-1 (1980-89); 26-11-3 (1990-99); 30-9 (2000-09). Under Coach Jim Tressel, the Buckeyes are 27-8 (.771) in Big Ten road games overall.

In regular season finales, the Buckeyes are 61-54-5 all-time.

Ohio State is 66-47-6 all-time in final road games of the regular season. Under Coach Jim Tressel, the Buckeyes are 6-2 in those games.

At Michigan, the 19-member senior class enters its final regular-season game with a 42-8 record, four Big Ten titles, three wins over Michigan, two trips to the BCS title game and four BCS bowl invitations to its credit since 2006. The most wins by an Ohio State senior class? 43, in 1995-98, 2002-05 and 2005-08.

The 2009 seniors: Andre Amos (Middletown, Ohio); Jake Ballard (Springboro, Ohio); Kurt Coleman (Dayton, Ohio); Jim Cordle (Lancaster, Ohio); Todd Denlinger (Troy, Ohio); Joe Gantz (Wooster, Ohio); Tom Ingham (Centerville, Ohio); Andrew Moses (Dublin, Ohio); Aaron Pettrey (Raceland, Ky.); Dan Potokar (Grove City, Ohio); Rob Rose (Cleveland, Ohio); Anderson Russell (Atlanta, Ga.); Ryan Schuck (Selinsgrove, Pa.); Ray Small (Cleveland, Ohio); Austin Spitler (Bellbrook, Ohio); Jon Thoma (Alliance, Ohio); Marcus Williams (Ironton, Ohio); Lawrence Wilson (Akron, Ohio); and Doug Worthington (Athol Springs, N.Y.).

With its 27-24 overtime victory against Iowa, Ohio State has already earned a share of the 2009 Big Ten championship. That marks the fifth season in a row that the Buckeyes have earned a Big Ten title, and the 34th Big Ten football title overall for Ohio State. The most consecutive Big Ten titles by Ohio State is six, from 1972-77.

Ohio State is 130-104-12 all-time when facing a ranked opponent, and 40-41-7 on the road against ranked teams. Under Coach Jim Tressel, the Buckeyes are 36-13 overall and 12-6 on the road against ranked teams.

The Buckeyes have forced 28 opponent turnovers through the first 11 games, an average of 2.5 per contest. Ohio State has forced 19 interceptions and recovered nine opponent fumbles; the Buckeyes also scored a defensive two-point PAT on a Brian Rolle pass interception and runback versus Navy.

Anderson Russell came through with two interceptions, one in overtime, in the victory over Iowa. The last time a Buckeye had two interceptions in a game was Kurt Coleman vs. Troy in 2008.

Ross Homan had an interception against New Mexico State, while Brian Rolle recovered an Aggie fumble in the endzone for a touchdown. Thaddeus Gibson also recovered a New Mexico State fumble. Homan added another interception at Penn State and a 21-yard pick against Iowa.

The Buckeyes picked off two Minnesota passes, with interceptions by Austin Spitler and Kurt Coleman (for a 40-yard return). The Buckeyes also recovered two Gopher fumbles.

Coleman (89 yards) and Jermale Hines (32 yards) each returned interceptions for touchdowns against Wisconsin. That was the first time since Sept. 23, 2006 vs. Penn State, when Malcolm Jenkins (61) and Antonio Smith (55) each returned picks for TDs, that Ohio State had two interception returns for a score in a single game. Coleman’s return was the fifth longest in Ohio State history.

With two picks by Russell and an interception by Homan in the overtime win against Iowa, it was the second time this season Ohio State recorded three interceptions in a game. Three defenders – Rolle, Lawrence Wilson and Hines – also had interceptions against Illinois. The last time the Buckeyes had three interceptions in a game was Sept. 6, 2008, against Ohio.

Chekwa: INT (Pur)
Coleman: INT (Navy, Wisc/TD, Minn); FF (Navy, Tol, Illi); FR (Pur)
Denlinger: INT (Ind)
Domicone: FR (Minn)
Gibson: FF (Navy, Illi); FR (Minn, NMS)
Heyward: FR (Navy)
Hines: INT (Illi, Wisc/TD)
Homan: INT (USC, NMS, PSU, Iowa); FF (Wisc); FR (Tol)
Rolle: PAT INT (Navy); INT (Illi); FR (NMS/TD)
Russell: INT (Ind, Iowa/2), FR (Ind, Minn)
Simon: FF (Minn)
Spitler: INT (Minn)
Sweat: INT (Tol); FF (Ind)
Torrence: INT (Pur); FF (Ind)
Williams: FF (NMS)
Wilson: INT (Illi)
Worthington: FR (Navy)

Ohio State’s defensive squads have held opponents to fewer than 21 points 48 times since 2006, the best among FBS teams. The Buckeyes are 45-3 in those games. Ohio State’s defense has allowed fewer than 10 points 25 times since the start of the 2006 season.

Ohio State ranks among the NCAA Top 10 in five categories in 2009: rushing defense (4th), total defense (5th), scoring defense (6th), turnover margin (7th) and pass efficiency defense (8th). Ohio State ranks 16th among the NCAA leaders in pass defense.

The back-to-back shutouts of Toledo and Illinois were the first time since 1996 that the Buckeye defense recorded consecutive shutouts. In 1996, Ohio State whitewashed Minnesota (45-0 at home) and Illinois (48-0 at Illinois) in November of that season.

The last time Ohio State had three shutouts in a season was 1996, against Pitt (72-0), Minnesota (45-0) and Illinois (48-0). The 1973 and 1977 Ohio State squads each recorded four shutouts, a season record since WWII.

The Buckeye defense had a nine-quarter scoreless streak stopped at Indiana; the Buckeyes have allowed only 10 touchdowns over the past 39 quarters.

The 38-0 shutout of Toledo (which had averaged 42.5 points in its first two games) was the first by the Buckeyes since a 43-0 shutout of Youngstown State in the 2008 season opener and the fourth shutout of the Tressel era. The Buckeyes held the Rockets to just 210 total yards, only 13 of those on the ground.

Against the USC Trojans, Ohio State’s defense did not allow a first down until the 13:15 mark of the second quarter and held the Trojans to only 5 yards of total offense on their first three possessions. The previous week, USC totaled 620 yards of total offense against San Jose State.

THE RUN STOPPERS Ranked fourth nationally in rushing defense, the Buckeyes are giving up just 83.7 yards per game on the ground this season, allowing just 2.7 yards per rush. OSU’s opponents have scored only six rushing touchdowns in 11 games.

During a three-game span, Ohio State allowed just 13, 82 and 18 yards rushing vs. Toledo, Illinois and Indiana, an average of only 37.6 yards/game.

It has been 21 games since the Buckeye defense allowed a 100-yard individual rushing performance; that was by USC’s Joe McKnight, who gained 105 yards on 12 carries in the 2008 meeting. That streak is second-longest in the nation, trailing only Alabama (30 games).

Since the beginning of the 2005 season, the Buckeyes have allowed only seven 100-yard rushers during a span of 63 games. That mark is the best record by an FBS school during that time period.

Big Ten Rankings (Big Ten games only) Rank Category
1st Scoring Defense (13.0)
1st Total Defense (273.4)
1st Opp. 3rd Down Conversion % (30.1)
T-1st Sacks (21)
2nd Pass Efficiency Defense (98.6)
2nd Rushing Defense (80.6)
2nd Opponent First Downs (113)
4th Pass Defense (192.9)

NCAA Rankings Rank Category
4th Rushing Defense (83.73)
6th Scoring Defense (12.36)
5th Total Defense (258.27)
8th Pass Efficiency Defense (97.19)
16th Pass Defense (174.55)
32nd Sacks (2.55)

Fewest 100-yd rushers allowed (FBS Teams Since 2005) 1. Ohio State 7
2. Boston College 8
2. Alabama 8
4. Boise State 10
4. Florida 10
4. Penn State 10

Teams That Have Not Allowed a 100-Yard Rusher in 2009
Arkansas State
Ohio State
Oklahoma State
Penn State

Number of Games Allowing Fewer than 21 Points (FBS Teams Since 2005) Team No. Record
1. Ohio State 48 45-3
2. TCU 46 43-3
3. Virginia Tech 45 42-3
3. Florida 45 44-1
5. Penn State 44 41-3

The Ohio State defense is averaging 5.7 three-and-outs per contest this season, second in the nation in that statistic. Ohio State forced New Mexico State to go three-and-out 12 times in that 45-0 shutout. The Buckeyes forced both Toledo and Indiana to go three-and-out seven times, and Penn State eight times. OSU recorded five three-and-outs against both Southern Cal and Illinois; four against Navy, Purdue, Minnesota and Wisconsin; and three against Iowa. Ohio State has 63 total three-and-outs for the 2009 campaign.

Avg. per gm Totals #/gms
Clemson 5.8 58/10
Ohio State 5.72 63/11
Texas 5.70 57/10
TCU 5.70 57/10
Ole Miss 5.6 45/8
Florida 5.5 55/10
Alabama 5.1 41/8
Tennessee 5.0 40/8

Ohio State has allowed 136 points through 11 games this season, an average of 12.3 per game. The record for the fewest points allowed in a season in the Tressel era is 166, both in 2006 and 2007.

The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation has announced the 20 quarter-finalists for the annual Lott Trophy, among them Ohio State safety Kurt Coleman.

A three-year starter, the senior shows 60 tackles in 10 games this season. He has forced three fumbles in 2009, recovering one, and has three interceptions, including an 89-yard return for a touchdown against Wisconsin (the fifth-longest such play in OSU history). His totals against Minnesota put him above the 200-tackle mark for his career; he now shows 211 career stops.

Named after Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott, the Lott Trophy is awarded to college football’s Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year. Now in its sixth year, the Lott Trophy is the first college football award to equally recognize athletic performance and the personal character attributes of the player. Sponsored by The Pacific Club IMPACT* Foundation in Newport Beach, the award is given to the player who exhibits the same characteristics Lott embodied during his distinguished career: Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.

There are eight defensive backs on the quarter-finalist list; six linebackers and six defensive linemen. The Big 12 has six players on the list, the SEC five, the Pac-10 four, the Big Ten three and one each from the Mountain West and WAC.

The finalists will be announced Nov. 24. Those four finalists will be flown to Newport Beach, Ca. for the annual black-tie banquet that will be televised by FOX Sports West.

In five years, the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation has donated more than $650,000 to various charities, including $25,000 to each of the winners’ universities.

Voters for the award include selected members of the national media, previous finalists, the Board of Directors of the IMPACT Foundation, the IMPACT Foundation Board of Advisors comprised of retired NFL players and the Legends Coaches, a distinguished group of former college head coaches.

Coleman, with a tremendous record of community service, is also among the nominees for the Wuerffel Trophy. Named after former Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel, the Wuerffel Trophy is presented annually to the Football Bowl Subdivision player that best combines exemplary community service, with academic and athletic achievement.

Only three times in Ohio State history has a Buckeye quarterback rushed for 100 yards and passed for 200 yards or more in the same game, a feat achieved twice by sophomore Terrelle Pryor already this season. The three times it has happened at OSU:

145 rush/241 pass: T. Smith vs. Michigan (2004)
110 rush/262 pass: T. Pryor vs. Toledo (2009)
104 rush/239 pass: T. Pryor vs. Minnesota (2009)

Completing his sophomore season, Terrelle Pryor has eclipsed 4,000 total offense yards for his career. He is now in 12th place on Ohio State’s all-time list with 4,329 yards, passing Rex Kern (4,158); next on the list are Cornelius Greene (4,414) and Craig Krenzel (5,097).

Pryor totaled 343 yards of total offense in the win over Minnesota, rushing for 104 yards (his third career 100-yard rushing game) with a 15-yard TD run and passing for 239 yards with scoring strikes of 62 and 57 yards to DeVier Posey against the Gophers. That was the ninth-best single game in OSU history.

Pryor’s 372 yards of total offense against Toledo marked a career high for the sophomore signalcaller, and the best total offense game of his career. His previous high was 232 against Penn State last season. The Toledo win was the first time an Ohio State player had 300+ yards of total offense since Troy Smith had 328 against Michigan in 2006. Pryor’s performance was the fifth best total offense game in OSU history.

412 - Art Schlichter (Florida State, 1981)
408 - Troy Smith (Notre Dame, 2005)
388 - Joe Germaine (Penn State, 1997)
386 - Troy Smith (Michigan, 2004)
372 - Terrelle Pryor (Toledo, 2009)

Against the Rockets, Pryor recorded career highs with 17 completions, 27 attempts and 262 yards. He also rushed 12 times for 110 yards, including a career-long 43-yarder in the third quarter.

Pryor’s 200-Yard Total Offense Games Tot (Run/Pass) Opp
372 (110/262) vs. Toledo, 2009
343 (104/239) Minnesota, 2009
255 (34/221) @ Purdue, 2009
232 (6/226) Penn State, 2008
230 (33/197) @ Northwestern, 2008
222 (63/159) @ Indiana, 2009
218 (83/135) New Mexico State, 2009
213 (36/177) USC, 2009
205 (66/139) Troy, 2008
204 (30/174) Navy, 2009

Ohio State’s top targets in 2009 have been sophomore DeVier Posey and junior Dane Sanzenbacher, with 1,184 yards and 13 touchdowns between them through 11 games. And the two even connected on a 39-yard touchdown pass from DeVier to Dane off a reverse against New Mexico State.

Posey, who shows 47 receptions for 689 yards this year, has scored seven times this season; his long gains were 62-yard TDs against Minnesota and Penn State. Posey’s scoring plays have averaged 37.8 yards per TD catch.

Sanzenbacher, with 26 receptions for 495 yards, is averaging 19 yards per reception this season. His long gain was a 76-yard touchdown from Terrelle Pryor in the win over Toledo.

Sophomore Terrelle Pryor has surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing mark for his career, just the fifth Buckeye quarterback ever to rush for more than 1,000 career yards. He has totaled 1,264 yards on the ground in 24 games, and is averaging 4.82 yards per career carry. Pryor has scored 13 rushing touchdowns at Ohio State.

Cornelius Greene 2,066 from 1972-75
Rex Kern 1,714 from 1968-70
Art Schlichter 1,303 from 1978-81
Terrelle Pryor 1,264 from 2008-present
Troy Smith 1,168 from 2003-06

An Ohio State quarterback has rushed for 100 or more yards in a game 26 times in school history. Pryor’s 104-yard effort against Minnesota was the third 100-yard rushing performance of his career. Only Cornelius Greene, Rex Kern and John Mummey had four career 100-yard rushing games among all-time Ohio State quarterbacks.

Top 10 Rushing Yards for Ohio State Quarterback in a Game Yards Player Opp/Year
146 Cornelius Greene Wisconsin, 1974
145 Troy Smith Michigan, 2004
139 Rex Kern Washington, 1969
129 Rex Kern Stanford (Rose Bowl), 1971
129 Tom Matte Illinois, 1960
127 Troy Smith Iowa, 2005
127 Cornelius Green Illinois, 1974
124 Ron Maciejowski Wisconsin, 1968
121 Rex Kern Northwestern, 1968
120 Cornelius Greene UCLA, 1975

The Buckeyes have totaled seven team rushing performances for at least 200 yards this season. They had seven in 2008, the most under Jim Tressel. The last time that had previously occurred was in 1996.

Four players – Dan Herron, Terrelle Pryor, Brandon Saine and Jordan Hall – have been the Buckeyes’ leading ground gainer in at least one contest this season.

Pryor (110/Toledo and 104/Minnesota) and Saine (113/Indiana and 103/Iowa) have each had a pair of 100+ efforts on the ground during 2009.

This season in the first quarter, the Buckeyes have outscored the opposition 65-20. In the second quarter, the Buckeyes are ahead 102-33, and Ohio State holds an 83-31 advantage in third-quarter scoring. Ohio State has outscored its 2009 opponents 77-52 in fourth-quarter play.

Ohio State has held the opposition scoreless in 25 quarters this year (56.8%).

The Buckeyes are outscoring opponents by 17.6 points per game (30.0-12.4) this season.

Seniors Kurt Coleman, Austin Spitler and Doug Worthington were elected as 2009 captains of the Ohio State football team. An offensive game captain will be selected each week.

Jim Cordle served as captain against Navy, Purdue and Iowa; Jake Ballard was the fourth captain for the USC and Wisconsin contests. Bryant Browning was offensive captain for Toledo, and Dane Sanzenbacher was captain for Illinois and Penn State. Brandon Saine and Dexter Larimore served as game captains at Indiana. Aaron Pettrey was a captain for the Minnesota contest. Andrew Moses served as captain versus New Mexico State.

The last time Ohio State had only defensive players as permanent captains was in 2002, when Mike Doss and Donnie Nickey were captains of the national championship squad.

During the Jim Tressel era, the Buckeyes are 80-6 (.930) when winning or tied at the half. Ohio State is 85-6 (.934) when winning or tied going into the fourth quarter of a game under Tressel.

W/T at Half W/T into 4th
2001 6-2 7-3
2002 9-0 11-0
2003 10-0 10-0
2004 8-0 8-0
2005 9-1 8-1
2006 11-0 12-0
2007 10-0 11-0
2008 8-2 9-1
2009 9-1 9-1
Total 80-6 85-6

The Buckeyes boast an all-time record of 391-107-20 (.774) in Ohio Stadium since that facility opened in 1922.

The crowd of 106,033 against Southern California was the largest ever to watch a game at Ohio Stadium, besting last year’s crowd of 105,711 against Penn State. The attendance of 105,092 against Navy was an opening day record for Ohio Stadium.

Ohio State has hosted 55 consecutive crowds of 100,000 or larger at Ohio Stadium; three of this year’s crowds ranked among the top 15 all-time. Ohio State’s all-time record in Columbus is 534-154-35 in 722 games.

When the Ohio State-Michigan game kicks off, the Buckeyes will have a total of 38 players with at least one game of starting experience.

Those are: Anderson Russell (36); Kurt Coleman (34); Doug Worthington (33); Jim Cordle, Cameron Heyward (31); Bryant Browning, Chimdi Chekwa (25); Jake Ballard, Mike Brewster, Thaddeus Gibson, Terrelle Pryor (21); Ross Homan (17); Jermale Hines (14); Todd Denlinger, Dane Sanzenbacher (13); Dane Sanzenbacher (12); Justin Boren (11); Brian Rolle, DeVier Posey (10); Austin Spitler, Lawrence Wilson, Devon Torrence (9); Dexter Larimore, Zach Boren, J.B. Shugarts, Brandon Saine (8); Dan Herron, Ray Small (7); Rob Rose (5); Mike Adams (4); Andrew Miller (3); Andre Amos, Tyler Moeller, Jake Stoneburner (2); Aaron Gant, Duron Carter, Nathan Williams, Marcus Hall (1).

Getting their first Ohio State start against Navy were six players: Andre Amos, Justin Boren, Zach Boren, Andrew Miller, DeVier Posey and Brian Rolle. Jake Stoneburner made his first start against USC. Devon Torrence, Duron Carter and J.B. Shugarts were first time starters vs. Toledo. Mike Adams was a first-time starter against Illinois, and Nathan Williams made his first start vs. New Mexico State. Marcus Hall got his first start in the Iowa game.

The Boren brothers – Justin (OG) and Zach (FB) - products of Pickerington, Ohio, are the first siblings to start in the same game for the Buckeyes since John (LB) and Mike (NG) Sullivan from Mentor, Ohio, started nine games together during the 1988 season.

The Buckeyes boast an all-time record of 286-132-19 in November games. Ohio State is 180-78-11 in November home games and 106-54-8 on the road that month.

Eleven members of the Buckeye roster have birthdays this month: Bo DeLande, Scott Sika, Jermale Hines, Etienne Sabino, Andrew Miller, Brian Rolle, Grant Schwartz, Don Matheney, Rocco Pentello, Travis Howard and Aaron Gant.

Here’s a breakdown of how the 2009 Ohio State offense is operating on first, second, third and fourth down.

On first down, the Buckeyes have run a total of 308 plays, gaining 1,926 yards for an average of 6.2 yards per play. On second down, OSU has tried 234 plays for 1,231 yards, a 5.3 average. On third down, the Buckeyes have run 151 plays, gaining 1,014 yards for a 6.7 average. Ohio State has tried only seven fourth-down attempts, gaining 14 yards.

Ohio State’s touchdowns this season have come 14 times on first down (nine rushing and five passing TD), 13 times on second down (four passing and nine rushing), seven times on third down (six passes and one rush) and once on a fourth-down pass.

Ten true freshmen have seen action for the Buckeyes in 2009. Seven Ohio State true freshmen made their first collegiate appearance in the opener against Navy: DB C.J. Barnett, FB Zach Boren, WR Duron Carter, TE Reid Fragel, FB Adam Homan, LB Storm Klein and DT John Simon. Tailback Jordan Hall, another true freshman, saw his first action against Toledo, and LB Jonathan Newsome played for the first time against Illinois. OL Marcus Hall played for the first time at Indiana.

During the Jim Tressel era at Ohio State, in the games following the Buckeyes’ 21 losses, OSU has a 19-2 record. Thirteen of those games were at Ohio Stadium, where the Buckeyes under Tressel are 12-1 in the game following a loss. Only once during the Tressel era has Ohio State recorded back-to-back losses, a three-game stretch with losses at Northwestern, to Wisconsin and at Iowa in October, 2004.

Under Jim Tressel, the Buckeyes are 25-2 at Ohio Stadium versus non-conference teams, the only loss coming to USC earlier this season and 25-22 to No. 2 Texas in 2005. The Buckeyes are 30-4 overall in regular season non-conference games since 2001.

Three Ohio State seniors received scholarship aid for the 2009 autumn quarter that began Sept. 23: Marcus Williams, who is in physical therapy school; Andrew Moses, who is working toward a second bachelor’s degree after earning his first in political science; and Jon Thoma, who is completing his degree in communication. Three additional seniors – Ryan Schuck, Joe Gantz and Tom Ingham – will receive scholarship aid for the winter quarter.

Six members of the 2009 Buckeye squad have already earned their bachelor’s degrees: Andrew Moses (political science), Aaron Pettrey (social and behavioral sciences), Anderson Russell (communication), Austin Spitler (communication), Marcus Williams (health sciences), Lawrence Wilson (communication). Nine more members of the team are expected to graduate following the autumn quarter.

Four members of the Ohio State football squad have been selected to the ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA academic all-district team for District 4.

Named to the all-district academic second team were offensive guard Bryant Browning, defensive tackle Todd Denlinger, offensive guard Andrew Moses and running back Marcus Williams. Browning, a junior from Cleveland, Ohio, is a 3.33 marketing student; Moses, from Dublin, Ohio, graduated with a 3.86 gpa in political science. Denlinger, a senior from Troy, Ohio, holds a 3.33 average in construction systems management. Williams, from Ironton, Ohio, has a 3.64 gpa in the physical therapy graduate program.

District 4 includes all colleges in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama.

In 2008, 27 Buckeyes were named to the Big Ten’s all-academic team; the Buckeyes have led the conference over the past seven years. Additionally, 46 Ohio State football players qualified for the annual OSU Scholar-Athlete Dinner in May, which requires a grade-point average of 3.00 or better for the past academic year.

Ohio State’s Dan Potokar is the weekly nominee for the 2009 FedEx Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award, to be announced at the end of the season. Potokar, from Grove City, Ohio, has battled several rounds with cancer and is currently helping the Buckeyes as a student assistant.

Though a walk-on, Potokar had been impressive as a wide receiver during spring practice in 2007 and was part of the Ohio State track team’s 400-meter relay team. But in the fall of 2007, he became ill and was diagnosed with testicular cancer that had spread to his lungs and abdomen.

Despite surgery and chemotherapy, the lesions remained on his lungs. Potokar underwent several weeks of intensive treatments in Indianapolis, including two stem-cell transplants. Several months later, five tumors were discovered in Potokar’s brain, necessitating full-brain radiation and something similar to laser surgery.

Last winter, tests indicated the cancer was gone.

Potokar, a student assistant coach, is on track to earn a business degree and is scheduled to be married next May. Potokar has also reached out to other athletes who have been diagnosed with cancer.

For the fourth straight year, the Football Writers Association of America and the FedEx Orange Bowl will announce a weekly nominee each Wednesday during the season. A blue-ribbon panel will determine the winner from all of the nominees. The winner of the FedEx Orange Bowl/FWAA Courage Award will be announced in December and be presented with the trophy.

2009 FedEx Orange Bowl Courage Award Nominees
Sept. 23: D.J. Williams, Arkansas
Sept. 30: Mark Herzlich, Boston College
Oct. 7: Darius Nall, UCF
Oct. 14: Ricky Rosas, USC
Oct. 21: Derrick Coleman, UCLA
Oct. 28: Connecticut Huskies
Nov. 4: Antoine “Shaky” Smithson, Utah
Nov. 11: Dan Potokar, Ohio State

Two-time Ohio State All-American linebacker Chris Spielman, the 28th Buckeye inducted into the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame, was recognized at halftime of the Navy game. The four-year letterwinner (1984-87) and the winner of the 1987 Lombardi Award will be inducted at a ceremony in South Bend, Ind., in the summer of 2010.

Spielman, hailing from Massillon Washington High School, ranks third all-time in tackles (546) at Ohio State and first in solo stops (283). Perhaps the most notable performance by Spielman was his 29-tackle day against Michigan in 1986.

Tenacious and hard-hitting on the field, the linebacker is just as strong away from the field, as is his wife, Stefanie. In 1998, the couple learned that Stefanie had breast cancer. Despite the physical and emotional strain of dealing with such a disease, and the unthinkable worries, the couple has been tireless advocates for cancer research and they have helped to raise millions to fight the disease.

After his playing days in Columbus, Spielman was drafted in the second round by Detroit in 1988 and went on to play for the Lions and Buffalo Bills before finishing up his career with the Cleveland Browns. The 12-year NFL veteran and four-time Pro Bowler then made the move to the broadcast booth where he is a college football analyst for ESPN and co-hosts The Big Show on WBNS radio in Columbus. He and Stefanie are the parents of four children.

Buckeye freshmen Storm Klein (LB, Newark, Ohio) and Jack Mewhort (OL, Toledo, Ohio) spent three weeks this summer as part of USA Football’s Junior National Team in the inaugural IFAF Junior World Championships held in Canton, Ohio. Team USA won the gold medal with wins over France (78-0), Mexico (55-0) and Canada (41-3) in the championship game. Klein (who was also a team captain) and Mewhort were both named to the all-tournament team.

NOT SINCE 1922-24
Ohio State ranks second among all NCAA Div. I programs with 84 consecutive seasons since last posting back-to-back losing records. The Buckeyes have not been under .500 for two or more consecutive seasons since 1922-24, which trails only Tennessee; the Vols have not had back-to-back losing seasons since 1909-11, a span of 97 consecutive seasons.

School Years Last
Tennessee 97 1909-11
Ohio State 84 1922-24
Southern Miss 74 1933-34
Arizona State 61 1946-47
Alabama 51 1854-57

Ohio State is now 6-3 at home (27-13 away from home) in night games (games starting 5 p.m. or later local time) since 1959 and 33-16 in night games all-time. Under Coach Jim Tressel, the Buckeyes are 15-10 in night games and 8-3 in Big Ten night games away from Ohio Stadium. Tressel’s teams are 2-3 at home in night games.

The Ohio State-Michigan game is the regular-season finale for both teams.


Captains Talk "The Big Game"


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio State had to beat Penn State to stay in the Big Ten race. The next week the Buckeyes needed to beat Iowa to win the conference and go to the Rose Bowl.

With those missions accomplished the last two weeks, the ninth-ranked Buckeyes now face another big game against archrival Michigan on Saturday.

What's on the line for Ohio State this week?

''I don't think I can have a good Thanksgiving without winning this game,'' defensive tackle Doug Worthington said Monday.

The month of November has brought three consecutive high-pressure games for the Buckeyes (9-2, 6-1), who have wrapped up at least a share of their fifth consecutive Big Ten title.

When offensive tackle Jim Cordle walked into Ohio State's practice facility on Monday morning, he was greeted by the team's strength and conditioning director, Eric Lichter. Lichter looked at Cordle, still limping slightly from a midseason foot injury and said, ''I think you peaked last week.''

Cordle looked at him with a smile and responded, ''No, I still have one more game in me and this team has one more game in us.''

The Buckeyes can lock up an outright conference crown by beating their bitter rivals, but that's about it.

Michigan (5-6, 1-6) has much more at stake. The Wolverines need a win to qualify for a bowl game, to end a five-game losing skid in conference play, to snap a five-game losing skid to Ohio State, to avoid the basement in the Big Ten and to take some of the heat off embattled second-year head coach Rich Rodriguez.

Ohio State's players and coaches swear they haven't been beaten down by the past two grueling games against the best the Big Ten can throw at them. The Buckeyes needed overtime to beat Iowa 27-24 in Columbus on Saturday.

''Someone described this month as tough, tougher and toughest,'' coach Jim Tressel said. ''We've battled through the tough and the tougher, and now we're excited about the toughest.''

With two-thirds of those hurdles behind them, the Buckeyes find it easier to concentrate on the task at hand.

''We knew that this was how our November was going to go,'' wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher said. ''We talked about it - all three are huge games and we were going to have to take them one at a time. The week leading up to (each) game we knew it was going to be the most important game of our year. (We were) able to take care of the Penn State and Iowa games, and now all the focus goes onto Michigan.''

Having come through so much, the Buckeyes recognize they have just one game left before getting some time off to nurse their bruises and to catch up on their sleep.

''It wears you down, that tough stretch, but what energizes you is this game,'' Cordle said. ''There's no way we won't be up for this game.''

The wear and tear has been as much mental as physical. After losing at Purdue on Oct. 17, the Buckeyes have had no margin for error in the Big Ten race.

''We couldn't turn the ball over, we could miss assignments. We had to be perfect,'' tight end Jake Ballard said. ''We did just about everything to come out with a win against Iowa and Penn State.''

Players and coaches who are a part of Ohio State teams that beat Michigan receive a small, gold charm in the shape of a pair of football pants. It's a prized possession for a Buckeye.

In addition to getting yet another one of the trinkets for beating their rivals, the Buckeyes would like nothing more than to deprive the Wolverines of a bowl trip.

''I don't think we're going to have any problem with this game as far as getting up for it or being ready for it,'' Worthington said. ''It's something that we need, something we want. We're hungry for it. ... Their seniors will go to a bowl game if they beat us, so we don't want to be the guys who lose those gold pants or catapult them to a nice little sunny trip.''

Friday, November 6, 2009

-Ohio State at Penn State Game Preview-

Ohio State at Penn State Game Preview


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Two teams, both looking for a signature win, and neither can afford a loss.

No. 15 Ohio State travels to No. 11 Penn State in a showdown that may not determine the Big Ten champion but will almost definitely decide who it won't be.

''We know how important all these games are,'' Buckeyes wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher said. ''It's come to a point in a season where we have to win out and we have to play well in November to be a great team.''

Each team has played one ranked opponent this year and lost. The Nittany Lions (8-1, 4-1) fell at home to unbeaten Iowa, 21-10, in their Big Ten opener. Since then, they have won five in a row.

Ohio State (7-2, 4-1) lost to Southern Cal 18-15 way back on Sept. 12. The Buckeyes followed that by winning six of seven games, the lone setback a stunning 26-18 defeat at Purdue.

The Buckeyes follow up the game against Penn State with one at home against Iowa (9-0, 5-0). So they still control their own destiny in their quest to capture a fifth consecutive Big Ten title.

''Maybe fans out there think Ohio State hasn't beaten anybody, a great opponent,'' Buckeyes linebacker Austin Spitler said. ''And neither has Penn State. But we're going to find out Saturday who the best is between Penn State and Ohio State.''

To beat the Nittany Lions, the Buckeyes will have to play perhaps their best game of the season and do it in the most hostile environment.

''There's so much energy and electricity,'' coach Jim Tressel said about the atmosphere in Beaver Stadium. ''It's a fun place to play. There's noise. There's excitement.''

Sometimes, the Nittany Lions faithful might carry that to the extreme. That becomes evident when visiting teams almost have to run a gauntlet down a walkway underneath the stadium to get to the field.

''It's something. They're throwing stuff at you, spitting on you, yelling everything you can think of at you,'' Spitler said, smiling. ''But it doesn't bring you down, it really fires you up and gets you going. I think it's a positive in a way for us.''

The focal point of most of that venom figures to be Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor. He was heralded as the nation's No. 1 quarterback recruit while playing his high school ball in Jeannette, Pa. - about a 65-mile drive from Happy Valley. Pryor narrowed his final choices down to Michigan, Ohio State, Oregon and Penn State before deciding to be a Buckeye.

Pryor knows he'll be a marked man. He was already talking about it moments after the Buckeyes polished off overmatched New Mexico State 45-0 last Saturday.

''I'll probably get booed as soon as I go out to warm up,'' he said. ''I'm happy here, and we'll be ready to go.''

Tressel said on Tuesday that he didn't feel the need to prepare Pryor for the fans.

''I'm sure he's very aware of that,'' Tressel said. ''I'm sure as we go through the preparation for the week, we'll talk a lot about poise and patience because that's what you have to do. You have to be a poised guy. ... That's what being part of a great environment is all about.''

The visiting team has won the last two games in the heated series.

''The last time they came here (in 2007) it wasn't very fun, because it was a night game and they really put it to us,'' Penn State linebacker Sean Lee said. ''We weren't even able to make their offense punt (in a 37-17 loss). ... But the atmosphere at both stadiums, especially Beaver Stadium, is unbelievable. It's something you dream of as a young kid, and finally as a fifth-year senior, now that I'm healthy, it's going to be great.''

A season-ending knee injury to kicker Aaron Pettrey, the Big Ten's leading scorer, puts a damper on some of the excitement for Ohio State.

Pettrey was blocked on a first-half kickoff last week, tearing the medial collateral ligament in his right (kicking) leg. He was scheduled to undergo surgery on Tuesday.

In his place, the Buckeyes will go with 26-year-old former Major League Soccer player Devin Barclay, a former walk-on who beat out scholarship kicker Ben Buchanan for the No. 2 spot behind Pettrey. Barclay missed two of his three field-goal attempts in his college debut last week after Pettrey went out.

Buchanan, sick last week, is expected to battle him for the job this week.

''We were very comfortable with Aaron from anywhere,'' Tressel said of Pettrey's range. ''These guys aren't quite there.''

Monday, November 2, 2009

Ohio State wins 45-0!

Ohio State won 45-0 Saturday at the Horseshoe vs. New Mexico State. Here are the post game notes.

No. 17/15 Ohio State (7-2) 45, New Mexico State (3-6) 0
Ohio Stadium
Columbus, Ohio
Oct. 31, 2009
Attendance: 104,719

• Ohio State is 815-308-53 in its 120th season of play. The win total ranks fifth all-time among FBS schools.
• Jim Tressel's record with the Buckeyes is 90-21 and his career record is 225-78-2. Tressel's 225 victories rank fourth among active FBS coaches.
• Ohio State is 51-5 at home since the start of the 2002 season and 55-7 overall under Jim Tressel.
• Ohio State boasts a record of 359-126-28 in games played in October.
• The Buckeyes are 429-131-14 all-time as a Top 25 team.
• Jim Tressel is now 78-6 when leading at the half and 83-6 when leading going into the fourth quarter in his Ohio State career.
• The Buckeyes have won 70 games since the start of the 2003 season, the sixth best among FBS schools.
• Ohio State is 53-0 when scoring 30 or more points in the Jim Tressel era (since 2001).

• Saturday was the first meeting between Ohio State and New Mexico State on the football field.
• The Buckeyes are 4-0 all-time against members of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC): 2-0 against Fresno State and 1-0 against San Jose State and New Mexico State.

• Ohio State scored a season-high 45 points, the most since scoring 45 in 2008 at Northwestern.
• The 45-point margin of victory was the largest since defeating Northwestern by 51 in 2007 (58-7).
• Ohio State scored 28 points in the second quarter. The last time the Buckeyes scored 4 TD's in a quarter was Oct. 17, 2007 against Kent State.
• With 83 yards rushing (in the first half only), Terrelle Pryor moved into fourth place on Ohio State's all time rushing list among quarterbacks with 1,185 yards.
- Cornelius Greene (2,066 from 1972-75)
- Rex Kern (1,714 from 1968-70)
- Art Schlichter (1,303 from 1978-81)
- Terrelle Pryor (1,185 from 2008-present)
- Troy Smith (1,168 from 2003-06)
• Terrelle Pryor is 15-3 as Ohio State's starting quarterback (note: Pryor did not start at QB in the 2009 Fiesta Bowl).
• Terrelle Pryor has accounted for 37 of Ohio State's 60 offensive touchdowns (61.6 percent) since becoming the starter in the fourth game of the 2008 season (25 passing, 11 rushing, 1 receiving).
• True freshman Jordan Hall rushed 10 times for a career-high 90 yards, including a career-long 39-yard run in the third quarter.
• Sophomore wide receiver DeVier Posey threw the first TD pass of his career in the second quarter, a 39-yarder to Dane Sanzenbacher. It marked the first time an Ohio State WR threw a TD pass in a game since Ted Ginn Jr. on Oct. 21, 2006 against Indiana - a 38-yarder to Rory Nicol.
• The offensive line did not allow a sack for the second time this season. It previously kept the quarterback safe vs. Illinois.

• OSU has held opponents to fewer than 21 points 47 times since 2006, the best among FBS teams. Ohio State is 44-3 in those games.
• The Buckeyes have secured three shutouts in 2009 (vs. Toledo, Illinois and New Mexico State), marking the first time since the 1996 season (vs. Pittsburgh, Minnesota and Illinois)
• Ohio State has allowed only seven 100-yard rushers since the start of the 2005 season (61 games). That mark is the best among FBS schools during that span.
• Ohio State has not allowed a 100-yard rusher over its past 19 games, the second-longest streak in the nation. Alabama is first at 27 games.
• Ohio State's defense has allowed just seven touchdowns over its past 31 quarters of play.
• Junior linebacker Ross Homan intercepted his second pass of the season and the third of his career in the second quarter.
• Junior linebacker Brian Rolle recorded his first career touchdown in the third quarter when he recovered a NMSU fumble in the end zone.

• Junior kicker Devin Barclay kicked his first career field goal in the third quarter, a 29-yarder at the 7:05 mark.

• Ohio State's fourth captain was senior offensive lineman Andrew Moses.
• Ohio State's honorary captain was former Buckeye defensive lineman Tim Anderson (2000-03).