Saturday, October 31, 2009

BUCKEYES HAD A FEW TRICKS FOR THE AGGIES IN SATURDAY'S 45-0 WIN

Photo of DeVier Posey by Darla Dunkle-Hudnell

COLUMBUS — In the spirit of Halloween, Ohio State head coach, Jim Tressel, had a few tricks in his bag for the New Mexico State Aggies on Saturday afternoon in Columbus.

Following Ohio State's first touchdown with 14:56 to play in the second quarter, Tressel decided to run an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff — which would be converted by Aaron Pettrey. The 'trick' kick ultimately resulted in a touchdown for the Buckeyes.

As for Tressel's other trick play? Well, that one was even more of a treat for the 104,719 screaming fans in the stands.

With the Buckeyes ahead 14-0, and well in control, Tressel called a reverse play to wide receiver DeVier Posey. But, instead of Posey tucking the ball under his arm and running for yardage, the sophomore wideout set his feet, read the defense and threw a 39-yard strike to fellow receiver Dane Sanzenbacher in the back of the end zone for a touchdown — and a 21-0 advantage.

That score was one of four second quarter touchdowns for the Buckeyes, who went on to spank the visiting Aggies, 45-0, improving their season record to 7-2 overall.

Tressel said the "tricks" had nothing to do with it being October 31st.

"Really the reverse pass was because of what we'd seen (on film)," Tressel said. "Louisiana Tech had run a lot of that formation, and when the toss was run to that formation, there really wasn't anyone backside, and we really were looking to throw it back to the quarterback, but their corner was doing a good job staying home, so DeVier found (Sanzenbacher) over him and threw a good ball in there."

Earlier in the week, Tressel stated that his Buckeyes would come out with "all guns blazing" against the Aggies. And they did just that, as quarterback Terrelle Pryor connected with Posey for 43 yards over the top on the opening play of the game.

However, for much of the first quarter, the Buckeyes' "guns" were shooting mostly blanks, as they were unable to put any points on the scoreboard in the opening stanza.

It didn't take long, though, for the Buckeyes to get points on the board in the second quarter of play, as Pryor scored on an 8-yard run, just four ticks into the period.

Moments later, following the Pettrey onside kick — which gave the ball to Ohio State at their own 41 — Pryor would show off his aerial talents, hitting passes of 16 and seven yards to Posey, before capping off the 61-yard drive with a laser beam strike to Sanzenbacher from 19 yards out, for another Ohio State touchdown.

Pryor had his second straight solid outing for the Buckeyes in the win, finishing 11-of-23 for 135 yards and a TD in the air, while rushing for 83 yards on nine carries and another score on the ground — in just one half of play.

Tressel decided to rest Pryor in the second half, giving backup Joe Bauserman the reps the rest of the way. The Buckeyes coach said that with Penn State, Iowa and Michigan remaining on the docket, risking an injury to Pryor wasn't something he wanted to chance.

"Terrelle got I don't know how many throws in the first half, but we thought it was a good number," Tressel said. "He probably had more runs in the first half than we might have designed for this game and we felt as if he'd had enough of that.

"(Pryor" had been tackled and banged around a little bit and we had a significant lead and didn't want to wait to put Joe (Bauserman) in until the lead was even greater ... We know what we've got staring us in the face come November."

As great as the Buckeyes were offensively Saturday — 559 total yards, including 310 on the ground — it was the Ohio State defense which made New Mexico State's visit to the Horseshoe a real Halloween nightmare.

The Buckeyes held the Aggies' offense — the worst in the nation — to only 62 yards and two first downs in the victory. The Aggies never possessed the football in Ohio State territory, went three-and-out nine times, fumbled the football twice, threw an interception, and only had one offensive play gain more than five yards all game long — a 13 yard scramble play by quarterback Jeff Fleming in the second quarter.

The Ohio State defense even outscored the Aggies in the win, as Buckeyes linebacker Brian Rolle recovered a New Mexico State fumble in the end zone late in the third quarter, for his first collegiate touchdown.

Ohio State senior linebacker, Austin Spitler, said that the defense really set the tone for the blowout win.

"We were unbelievable today," Spitler said. "It just seems like we were playing sky high. It seems like we play at a high level it carries over to the offensive side of the ball and boosts their confidence as well."

BUCKEYES RUN WILD — OSU running backs' Brandon Saine and Dan "Boom" Herron were back in action Saturday for the Buckeyes.

Saine, who left last week's win over Minnesota with a concussion, was cleared to play Saturday, but didn't seem to have his game in full stride, as the junior back rushed for just 13 yards on seven carries.

Herron, who has missed the past few games with a bad ankle, looked a bit more sharp in Saturday's win, as the sophomore toted the rock six times for 66 yards, including a 53-yard jaunt to the end zone late in the third quarter.

Herron looked a little stiff running the ball such a long distance on the play, but it didn't prevent the Buckeye tailback from taking it to the house.

"The guys were teasing (Herron) down in the locker room just now that he was looking a little creeky going down there, that he needed to stretch it out a little bit," Tressel said. "He hadn't played in a while, but it was good to get him back in there."

True freshman, Jordan Hall, led the Buckeyes rushing attack — which gained 310 yards in the game — with 90 yards on 10 carries, including a career-high run of 39 in the third quarter.

KICKING GAME WOES — The Buckeyes had some serious problems in the kicking game Saturday, as they missed four field goals in the win.

However, that was the least of their problems, as starting kicker Aaron Pettrey, was helped off the field after suffering a knee injury during a second quarter kickoff play.

Third-string junior, Devin Barclay, came in relief of Pettrey and made just one of three field goals for the Buckeyes the rest of the way. Backup kicker, Ben Buchanan, missed the game due to an illness.

As for the extent of Pettrey's injury, Tressel said the prognosis doesn't look good.

"Based upon what I saw right in front of me, it looked like he got banged up pretty good," Tressel said.