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.

Friday, October 30, 2009

PREVIEW: BUCKS NOT HOLDING BACK AGAINST AGGIES

COLUMBUS — "We're going out all guns blazing."

That is the reply Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel gave when asked if the No. 17 Buckeyes would be using this Saturday's out-of-conference game against 3-5 New Mexico State as a preseason type contest — you know, limiting the starter's playing time, running base schemes and resting all of the players suffering from those mid-season bumps and bruises.

"No, this is game nine," Tressel said. "We've got to progress."

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

SAINE, HERRON WILL PLAY SATURDAY AGAINST AGGIES IF CLEARED

Photo of Brandon Saine by Darla Dunkle-Hudnell

COLUMBUS — Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel stated at his weekly press luncheon in Columbus that the playing status of running backs' Brandon Saine and Daniel "Boom" Herron, for this Saturday's game against New Mexico State, are still unknown.

Herron — who has been out of commission with an ankle injury the past few weeks — is considered "questionable" for New Mexico State, and Saine, who left last Saturday's game with Minnesota due to a concussion, will remain going through all the tests that ensue following a head injury.

However, Tressel said that if they are able to play, they will.

"If Brandon Saine is cleared, Brandon's playing," Tressel said. "If Boom Herron is cleared, he's going to play. We need (this game), this is an important game."

TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE — According to the university, there are still tickets remaining for this Saturday's game against New Mexico State. They are tickets that have been returned by the visiting school.

Monday, October 26, 2009

PRYOR NAMED OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Photo by Darla Dunkle-Hudnell

COLUMBUS — Ohio State quarterback, Terrelle Pryor, rebounded from his poor performance in the Buckeyes' upset loss at Purdue two weeks ago, with a stellar 343 yard, four touchdown outing against Minnesota on Saturday, garnering the sophomore passer the "Offensive Player of the Week" award, announced on Monday by the OSU coaching staff.

Pryor also ran for 104 yards in the victory.

Thaddeus Gibson was awarded the "Defensive Player of the Week," as the big junior D-end logged a career-high three sacks in the win over the Golden Gophers.

Etienne Sabino was named "Special Units Player of the Week, with two key tackles in the victory.

Offensive tackle, Jim Cordle, received the "Jim Parker Lineman of the Week," while Defensive lineman, Doug Worthington, was awarded the "Attack Force" honor.

SCOUT CHAMPIONS — Ricky Crawford (offense), Nate Ebner (defense) and K.C. Christian (special units).

Sunday, October 25, 2009

OSU UP TO NO. 17 IN BCS STANDINGS

To view the latest BCS college football standings, click on graphic below:

Saturday, October 24, 2009

OBSERVATIONS FROM OHIO STATE'S 38-7 WIN OVER MINNESOTA

Ohio State wide receiver DeVier Posey (8) is congratulated by teammates' Jim Cordle, left, and Zach Boren, following a touchdown during Saturday's win over Minnesota, at Ohio Stadium in Columbus. (Photo by Darla Dunkle-Hudnell)

COLUMBUS — For those people who wanted Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor replaced going into Saturday's game against Minnesota ... well ... they got their wish.

Of course, before he was relegated to the pine, the sophomore signal caller racked up 343 total yards, threw two touchdown passes, and ran for a couple more, in the No. 18 Buckeyes' 38-7 pummeling of the visiting Golden Gophers.

Pryor, who has been under fire for his poor performances in the Buckeyes' past two games — including a miserable outing during last Saturday's upset loss at Purdue — said that his teammates and coaches helped him bounce back with a solid outing against Minnesota.

"I think I got a little bit cocky about myself and last week really humbled me," Pryor said. "Sometimes you get caught up in the moment being the top guy, getting some type of attitude. I was swerving over a little bit to the cocky side. It was good to be brought back down to Earth, having the resources to pull me back down to Earth and treat people right.

"I'm just glad I have the type of teammates I have. I love all of those guys."

Pryor seemed extremely comfortable running the Buckeyes' offense Saturday, beating the Golden Gophers' defense with both his arm and his legs in the victory, while making good decisions with the football for most of the game.

In fact, Pryor — who finished 13-of-25 passing for 239 yards — made just one questionable decision in the game, throwing an interception deep in Minnesota territory with just seconds remaining before halftime.

OSU head coach Jim Tressel, even with the poor decision late in the first half, was very pleased with his young signal caller's performance Saturday.

"I thought he did a good job making decisions," Tressel said of Pryor. "The one interception, he really feels it was a poor decision. I couldn't tell from where I was, it looked like the ball was just a little bit behind Dane (Sanzenbacher) and perhaps if it was thrown on the line it was good, but he feels like he shouldn't have (thrown it). He wishes he had that one back.

"But I really thought he made some good decisions on checkoffs and throwing the ball. He wasn't under duress quite as much, you know, maybe as we were a week ago, and obviously he can make things happen with his feet. He had 104 yards, so he had a good ball game."

Ohio State totaled 509 yards offensively in the win — 38 more than the Buckeyes compiled in their last two games combined.

The Buckeyes were able to move the ball well on Minnesota's defense for much of the first half, but weren't able to cash in on points until the 9:47 mark of the second quarter. When they did cash in, though, it was in spectacular fashion.

Following a personal foul call on the Golden Gophers which gave the Buckeyes a first down at their own 38-yard line, Pryor dropped back to pass and hit a wide-open DeVier Posey for 62 yards and the 7-0 lead.

The duo did it again a quarter later, when Pryor rolled left and uncorked a beautiful spiraling toss that hit Posey in stride for 57 yards and their second touchdown of the afternoon.

The Pryor-to-Posey connection was stellar in the victory, as the two sophomores hooked up eight times on the day for 161 yards and the two TD's.

"We felt like DeVier was always going to end up being a good player and he's steadily done that," Tressel said. "He had a little bit of a hamstring or something in preseason where he missed a bunch of time and didn't develop quite like we'd hoped early on there.

"But, DeVier's going to be a good player. He's got a long way to go, but he's a learner. He studies it. He's an explosive guy. He wants to be good ... he's just got to keep working on it."

Posey agrees with his coach's assessment.

"I feel like I still have a lot of learning to do," Posey said. "The touchdowns feel good but I'm only half of the equation. Terrelle made great passes.

"I feel, personally, that I'm nowhere near where I want to be yet. I haven't reached my full potential, especially because of my hamstring issue early on. I'm learning a lot and really trying to incorporate that knowledge onto the field."

WHOA! LOOK AT THE BIG MAN CHUG — Red-shirt freshman running back, Jermil Martin, helped fill-in for an injured Brandon Saine on Saturday afternoon, and made his presence felt in a huge way.

The 6-0, 227-pound wrecking ball runner from Cleveland (Glenville H.S.), carried the rock seven times for 75 yards in the win, including a bruising 39-yard jaunt to paydirt in the fourth quarter — the first of his career.

"It felt good to score a touchdown," Martin said. "It was a dream come true. It felt great to be able to help the team, I've always had that drive and motivation and it was great to go out and show it today. Terrelle (Pryor) told me 'good job' and that I was finally proving myself."

The big man may need to continue proving himself, as the injury bug bit the Buckeyes backfield once again this week, as Saine had to leave the game with a concussion. Daniel "Boom" Herron has missed the past two games with an ankle injury and his return is still unknown.

True freshman Jordan Hall also had a solid performance, totaling 38 yards and a touchdown in relief of Saine.

DEFENSE HOLDS STRONG — Ohio State's starting defense did surrender some yards early in the game, but held the Golden Gophers' offense from getting any points on the board.

The Buckeyes made Minnesota quarterback Adam Weber's life a living hell on Saturday, sacking the Gophers' passer twice and forcing him into two interceptions and a lost fumble.

Weber ended the game with just 112 yards on 10-of-23 passing and no touchdowns. Weber's backup, Marquise Gray, had a little more success in the loss, throwing for 51 yards and a touchdown — during garbage time — while rushing for 81 yards on 11 totes.

Gray was also sacked twice in the defeat.

OSU defensive end, Thaddeus Gibson, was the catalyst in the Buckeyes assault of the Minnesota passers, logging three sacks, six tackles and a fumble recovery in the victory.

"I don't think I've done anything like that since high school," Gibson said. "It felt great. I Have to credit the rest of my line, they made my job a lot easier."

WHAT'S NEXT — The Buckeyes, now 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the Big Ten, will host New Mexico State in a non-conference tilt at Ohio Stadium next Saturday.

Tressel hopes his team keeps their focus as they jump out of conference play for a week.

"We really have to focus in this coming week," Tressel said. "Sometimes when you leave your conference schedule, when that's really paramount in your mind, you can have the tendency to lose that focus a little bit."

Friday, October 23, 2009

PREVIEW: BUCKS GOAL IS SIMPLE ... HOLD ON TO THE FOOTBALL

COLUMBUS — When you commit five turnovers, rush for 66 yards, surrender five sacks and possess the ball for less than 24 minutes — while going three-and-out five times — upset losses to one-win teams are surely to ensue.

That's exactly what happened last Saturday to the Ohio State Buckeyes, as they fumbled the ball away three times, tossed two interceptions, were dominated at the line of scrimmage and committed costly penalties, en route to being upset by the lowly Purdue Boilermakers, 26-18.

Cutting down on the turnovers is the top priority this Saturday when the No. 18 Buckeyes (5-2, 3-1) play host to Minnesota (4-3, 2-2) at Ohio Stadium. Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel hopes his team now understands just how important holding onto the football means to their success.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

REITZ NEEDS TO STICK TO BACKYARD FOOTBALL IN JEANNETTE

Ray Reitz

Terrelle Pryor's high school football coach, Ray Reitz, spoke to ESPN's Joe Schad and gave his take on why his former quarterback is struggling in his sophomore season at Ohio State.

Reitz, who was the head coach at Jeannette High School in Pennsylvania, when Pryor was a player there, told Schad that "they need Terrelle to run more. They've put the reins on him and they need to let him go free. When I watch Terrelle play right now, I see a robot."

The prep coach also stated that Michigan would've been a better place for Pryor to succeed.

"There is no question that Rich Rodriguez's offense, for example, would be more apt to suit Terrelle's skills," Reitz said. "But Ohio State sold him on the idea that they would prepare him for the NFL and that they don't run 'zone-read' in the NFL."

Pryor would be better off at Michigan? Hogwash!

Terrelle Pryor said when he signed at Ohio State that his goal was to become an NFL quarterback, and that he wanted to go to a place where he would be developed into such.

Ohio State has a quarterback consultant in Joe Daniels, who has a track record of developing quarterbacks for the next level. Don't believe me, just drive to Canton and you'll see one of his pupil's busts there (Dan Marino).

Rodriguez has developed ... well ... no one. Sorry Pat White, but ...

Of course, Pryor's transformation into that pro-style role is coming along slowly — and the main reason is Reitz himself.

Look, Reitz is a high school coach, and with all due respect, most prep coaches are interested in one thing and one thing only — winning. Reitz didn't care about developing Pryor as a passer — and to be honest, I don't think he would know how to. Reitz just drew up plays that would allow Pryor — who was head and shoulders above their competition — to run past the defense for easy scores.

There's no problem with that, Reitz was paid to win games at Jeannette. But, spare us all on the developmental advice on quarterbacking, because he has about as much experience molding players into quality quarterbacks as Jessica Simpson does.

It takes time to develop into a pro-style passer, and even more time when you never had any experience whatsoever doing so.

As former Ohio State all-American LeCharles Bentley said, "They play backyard football over in Jeannette."

Couldn't have said it better myself. Just check out YouTube for all of Pryor's high school highlights and you'll see what kind of quarterback schooling he had coming up. I wouldn't be surprised if Jeannette's playbook was written on toilet tissue.

The truth is, Pryor is getting schooled on how to become a pro-style quarterback at Ohio State. He's just going through an adjustment period, that's all. I mean, he is only a sophomore for crying out loud, with zero experience running such an offense.

Give the kid some time to break through this. He has all of the abilities to do so and his work ethic, from my point of view, seems right where it needs to be.

As for Tressel trying to sell something to Pryor? Tressel was correct in telling him that "they don't run zone-read in the NFL." That's not selling something to a player, Coach Reitz — that's telling him the truth.

"I came here to be a quarterback," Pryor said Wednesday. "I don't know why (Reitz) would say something like that.

"I wouldn't trade where I'm at right now."

Tressel is allowing Pryor to work through his struggles, and in the long run, it will be the best thing for him. The best NFL quarterbacks had to grind their way through college, not "run" away from the problem.

Of course, I wouldn't expect a "backyard football" coach to understand that.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

PRYOR NEEDS WORK, NOT A BENCH

Terrelle Pryor photo by Darla Dunkle-Hudnell

COLUMBUS — Is Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor struggling this season?

Absolutely.

Has Pryor progressed this season the way everybody in Columbus would've liked him to?

Absolutely not.

Should Pryor be benched in favor of backup quarterback, Joe Bauserman?

Ok, there's a better, more telling adjective that I would like to express in my answer, but instead, I'll just say — shoot no!

Sure, Pryor has made more turnovers this season than Pepperidge Farm, and his decision-making out on the field has been extremely erratic. But, to pull the plug on a sophomore who is going through some serious growing pains just doesn't seem to be in the best interest of the player or the program.

Such a decision seems like something a myopic fan would make, and as we all know, if a coach begins to listen to the fans in the stands — then it won't be very long until he's sitting there with them.

Buckeyes head coach, Jim Tressel, agrees that sitting Pryor just doesn't make sense at this point in time.

"I've only done that once with a young guy because I didn't think he really believed how important it was and all he could remember was the couple passes he completed," Tressel said Tuesday about benching a young quarterback. "(The young player) had amnesia about his turnovers. So only once have I really felt that that's what was needed, and it worked because he didn't throw another pick the rest of the year and it was a good deal.

"But that's what I thought was needed. I don't think that's what Terrelle needs. No one has a disdain for turnovers any more than Terrelle."

Yes, I know, most fans only care about one thing and that's winning, and if their beloved team isn't doing so ... then heads must roll.

Now, I have always been taught never to try reasoning with idiots, in fact, I think it's mentioned in the bible somewhere — maybe not verbatim. Nonetheless, I would like to ask all of the OSU myopians out there a few questions before handing them a laptop, and letting them email Tressel and the university until they're itty, bity wrists are stricken with carpal tunnel syndrome.

Question: Is Ohio State really that good of a football team this year?

Answer: No, not really. Now, don't get me wrong, the Buckeyes are not exactly Eastern Michigan or Rice — but they're not exactly Florida or Alabama, either.

Question: Is Pryor the reason why Ohio State's offense is ranked 91st in the nation?

Answer: I'll say he's a reason, not the reason. The offensive line — which has more holes than a golf course and less quickness than a golf cart — and the offensive play calling, actually have more to do with OSU's struggles this season than Pryor does. In fact, all of the big games losses the Buckeyes have suffered in recent years can be directly attributed to the men up front and the offensive X's and O's.

Question: Is Pryor getting the proper coaching at OSU to be a quality quarterback?

Answer: No! Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, Troy Smith, developed from an athletic running quarterback (sound familiar) into an outstanding collegiate signal caller, and he did it under the tutelage of former OSU quarterbacks coach, Joe Daniels — the same man who helped mold Dan Marino and Ken O'Brien into first round NFL draft picks.

Pryor, on the other hand, is being coached by Nick Siciliano — a man whose only experience working as a QB coach prior to this season came at North Carolina A&T — for only one season. I'm not saying that Siciliano is a bad coach, he's just an inexperienced one, and when you throw a young, inexperienced quarterback into the fray — one can't expect instant results.

Question: Would OSU be better off with Bauserman at the controls?

Answer: Again — shoot no! Pryor is bigger, faster, stronger, has a better arm, more experience and brings way more of a big play threat to the table than Bauserman does. With the offensive line's porous pass protection this season, could you really see an immobile player like Bauserman surviving under center?

Question: If Pryor had been unable to play this season for OSU, would the Buckeyes be 5-2 at this point in the season?

Answer: Um ... well ... SHOOT NO!

The Buckeyes would be at best 3-4. Ohio State without Pryor would have more than likely lost to Navy and Wisconsin, on top of USC and Purdue. And perhaps would've fell to Indiana without Pryor's four touchdowns.

Don't believe the Buckeyes would be that bad without Pryor? Just ask Oklahoma how losing their offensive leader can affect your team's season.

Final Question: Would you trade Pryor for Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen?

Answer: Most would say yes. But, do you remember what was being said about Clausen during his freshman and sophomore campaigns? Many of the same things being said about Pryor right now — overrated, poor decision maker, needs to be benched, etc ...

Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis chose to stick with Clausen during his growing pains, and now, the Irish QB is a leading Heisman Trophy candidate and the top NFL prospect at the position.

Look, whether you like it or not, Pryor is the best option the Buckeyes have at quarterback and he's here to stay.

If OSU fans take a deep breath, relax (even meditate) and accept that the Buckeyes are not a championship-caliber football team right now, they will realize that Pryor is a young player who just needs work — not a bench.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

FIRST BOWL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES STANDINGS RELEASED; OSU NO. 19

To see the complete standings, click on graphic below:

BUCKEYES STILL IN TOP 20; ALABAMA NEW NO. 1 IN AP POLL

Alabama Photo by the Associated Press

Ohio State, even after falling to a one-win Purdue squad Saturday, still remained in the top 20 of all the major college football polls released on Sunday.

The Buckeyes fell to No. 18 in the Associated Press and No. 17 in both the USA Today and Harris Interactive polls.

Alabama leaped ahead of Florida to No. 1 after rolling past South Carolina on Saturday night. However, the Gators remained at the top spot in the USA Today and Harris polls.

The first Bowl Championship Series (BCS) standings will be announced later tonight.

Listed below are the latest polls:

AP (first place votes)
1. Alabama (39) 7-0
2. Florida (20)
3. Texas 6-0
4. USC 5-1
5. Cincinnati 6-0
6. Boise State 6-0
7. Iowa 7-0
8. Miami (FL) 5-1
9. LSU 5-1
10. TCU 6-0
11. Georgia Tech 6-1
12. Oregon 5-1
13. Penn State 6-1
14. Oklahoma State 5-1
15. Virginia Tech 5-2
16. Brigham Young 6-1
17. Houston 5-1
18. Ohio State 5-2
19. Utah 5-1
20. Pittsburgh 6-1
21. Texas Tech 5-2
22. West Virginia 5-1
23. South Carolina 5-2
24. Kansas 5-1
25. Oklahoma 3-3

USA TODAY (first place votes)
1. Florida (49) 6-0
2. Alabama (9) 7-0
3. Texas (1) 6-0
4. USC 5-1
5. Boise State 6-0
6. Cincinnati 6-0
7. TCU 6-0
8. Iowa 7-0
9. Miami (FL) 5-1
10. LSU 5-1
11. Penn State 6-1
12. Oklahoma State 5-1
13. Georgia Tech 6-1
14. Oregon 5-1
15. Virginia Tech 5-2
16. Brigham Young 6-1
17. [tie] Ohio State 5-2
17. [tie] Houston 5-1
19. Pittsburgh 6-1
20. Utah 5-1
21. Kansas 5-1
22. West Virginia 5-1
23. South Carolina 5-2
24. Texas Tech 5-2
25. Mississippi 4-2

HARRIS POLL (first place votes)
1. Florida (77) 6-0
2. Alabama (33) 7-0
3. Texas (4) 6-0
4. USC 5-1
5. Boise State 6-0
6. Cincinnati 6-0
7. Iowa 7-0
8. TCU 6-0
9. LSU 5-1
10. Miami (FL) 5-1
11. Penn State 6-1
12. Oregon 5-1
13. Georgia Tech 6-1
14. Oklahoma State 5-1
15. Virginia Tech 5-2
16. Brigham Young 6-1
17. Ohio State 5-2
18. Houston 5-1
19. Utah 5-1
20. Pittsburgh 6-1
21. Kansas 5-1
22. Texas Tech 5-2
23. West Virginia 5-1
24. South Florida 5-1
25. Oklahoma 3-3

Saturday, October 17, 2009

OBSERVATIONS FROM SATURDAY'S 26-18 UPSET LOSS AT PURDUE

Photo by the Associated Press

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — When Ohio State needed a stop, they got it.

Then the laundry came flying in.

With Purdue up by eight points and facing a third-and-9 at their own 39-yard line, the No. 7 Buckeyes had to get the Boilermakers off the field in order to give their offense one final crack at pushing the game into overtime.

The Buckeyes got the stop, preventing Purdue quarterback Joey Elliott's pass to Aaron Valentin from gaining any yardage.

However, the great defensive stop was all for not, as Ohio State defensive end Doug Worthington grasped the face mask of the Purdue receiver on the play, drawing a 15-yard penalty flag — which gave the home team an automatic first down, and in turn, a 26-18 upset victory over the Buckeyes at Ross-Ade Stadium in West LaFayette, Indiana.

"It's a hard pill to swallow," Worthington said of the penalty and the loss. "It's unbelievable."

That penalty by Worthington may or may not have cost the Buckeyes (5-2, 3-1 Big Ten) the victory, but it was definitely a metaphor for the way things went for them on Saturday. What they didn't fumble away or threw away — they just flat out gave away.

The Buckeyes committed five turnovers in the loss to Purdue (2-5, 1-2 Big Ten), never got anything going on the offensive side of the ball — for the second straight week — and defensively, they didn't have an answer for the Purdue offensive attack.

The Boilermakers recorded 361 total yards in the win, and their wide receiving duo of Keith Smith and Valentin were a nightmare for the Buckeyes defense all game long. The tandem combined for 22 receptions and 222 yards in the win.

Valentin, who caught 10 of those receptions for 97 yards, gashed the Buckeyes defense for scores of 15 and 23 yards — both coming in the third quarter when the Boilermakers jumped ahead 23-7.

"I followed the game plan and ran the routes I was supposed to," Valentin said. "I just tried to make something happen when I got the ball, and it worked well for us."

Smith hauled in 12 grabs for 125 yards — his fourth consecutive 100-yard game — and displayed why he may be the best pass catcher in the Big Ten.

"I knew they were going to do some things to try to limit my catches," Smith said. "But we had a great game plan that worked all day long."

The Boilermakers took advantage of the aggressive Buckeyes' defense early on, by converting quick-hitters to Smith and Valentin with superb effectiveness. After keeping the Buckeyes defense on the field for the majority of the game — over 36 minutes — those "quick-hitters" began to turn into touchdowns later in the game, when the OSU defense was gasping for air.

Elliott was the orchestrator of the Boilermakers' offensive attack, throwing for 281 yards and two touchdowns in the win, while regularly escaping the OSU pass rush to make plays.

The senior signal caller was ecstatic after the game.

"This win was huge," Elliott said. "Our senior class stuck with it, and I love every single one of them. We knew we were going to have a big win this year, and this created a memory we'll have for the rest of our lives."

Yes, the Buckeyes defense didn't bring their A-game, that's for sure, but the real blame for the loss can be laid on the ineffectiveness of the OSU offense — once again.

After being unable to get much going in last week's game against Wisconsin, the Buckeyes offense answered their poor performance with an encore.

Through the first three quarters of Saturday's game against Purdue, the Buckeyes offense managed just seven points, 120 yards and six first downs, while fumbling the ball away twice and tossing two interceptions.

The Buckeyes also went three-and-out five times in the first three quarters.

It was ugly — we're talking circus-ugly.

Of course, much of the blame will be lumped on OSU sophomore quarterback, Terrelle Pryor — and deservedly so — but a good portion of it should also be laid at the feet of the offensive line.

Sure, Pryor was once again ineffective throwing the ball, but the time he received in the pocket from his offensive line was ... well ... pathetic, to say the least.

You could see it by the way Pryor carried himself that he was somewhat defeated out on the field, and the Purdue defense could sense that.

The Boilermakers dared Pryor to pass the ball down-field by continuously having all 11 defenders within eight yards of the line of scrimmage. They blitzed him, got in his face, and exploited the Buckeyes weak offensive pass protection, especially on the ends.

"(Purdue) brought pressure from a whole different level," Pryor said. "It was nothing like I saw on film. They just kept jumping the line. That pressure was totally unexpected, and I couldn't quite get a handle on them.

"I'm sure teams next week, they're going to bring some blitzes like that."

Purdue head coach Danny Hope said that was the plan — pressure Pryor into some bad situations.

"That was one of our keys to victory," Hope said. "We wanted to stop the run and force them into some third-and-long situations. At this point in his career, Pryor struggles in those situations. He's a great athlete and a great runner, but we knew we'd have the edge in third-and-long."

The only bright spot for the Buckeyes came in the final quarter of play, when Pryor and the offense scored 11 points, and put together drives of 73 and 71 yards for a field goal and a touchdown, respectively.

Pryor went 7-of-10 passing in the fourth quarter, for 111 yards and a 25-yard touchdown pass to DeVier Posey. He also ran the ball five times in the final period for 43 yards and ran in a 2-point conversion to pull the Purdue lead to within eight points, with 7:14 to play in the game.

Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, though, Pryor was just 10-of-21 passing for 110 yards and two interceptions in the previous three quarters of play. In those first 45 minutes of action, Pryor also carried the ball 16 times for minus-9 yards, with two lost fumbles.

Pryor and the Buckeyes did have another opportunity to tie the game in the fourth quarter, but were unable to get it into pay dirt, as the Purdue defense turned up the intensity and kept the Buckeyes offense from getting into serious contention for a score.

Obviously, that was the final chance the Buckeyes' offense had, as the costly face mask penalty by Worthington, prevented OSU from getting the ball back for one last miracle try.

Ohio State junior tailback, Brandon Saine, who carried the football just seven times for 32 yards in the loss, said that the Buckeyes can't begin to panic.

"We have to realize there's still a lot more games left to play," Saine said. "We're only halfway through the season. We have to get back to practice and focus on our next game."

Yes, the Buckeyes still have plenty of season left, but after losing their second game of the year, and this time to a team that had only one victory coming into the contest, the questions this week are surely to be — when will Pryor be yanked?

"I didn't think he was rattled, and I didn't consider sitting him," Tressel said of Pryor. "We just weren't executing, and at the beginning of the game, we weren't protecting the quarterback.

"We're still in it, but there's very little margin for error. We need to worry about getting better every day, and not worry about the next five games as a whole."

Well, it may not be time to abandon ship with Pryor at quarterback just yet, but the reality is, the Buckeyes' boat is beginning to drop below the water line — and there's no land in sight.

These next five games shouldn't be designed to win the conference title, it should be geared toward developing the young players, most notably Pryor, for next season.

If they don't, then the program better get used to more of these upset losses in the future.

Friday, October 16, 2009

PREVIEW: BUCKS OFFENSE OWES ITS DEFENSE BIG TIME

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Ohio State's lack of offense in last Saturday's game against Wisconsin was ... well ... offensive.

The Buckeyes' offense managed just 10 points and 184 total yards against a less than stellar Wisconsin defense, and yet, they still found a way to blow out the visiting Badgers, 31-13.

The men on the offense have an opportunistic defense — which outscored Wisconsin by themselves — to thank for saving their behinds after producing such an abysmal performance last Saturday against the Badgers.

To read the rest of the story, click here.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

HERRON OUT AGAINST PURDUE

Ohio State tailback, Dan "Boom" Herron walks off the field with assistant coach Nick Siciliano, left, prior to last Saturday's game with Wisconsin, in Columbus. (Photo by Darla Dunkle-Hudnell)

COLUMBUS — Ohio State sophomore tailback, Dan "Boom" Herron will not play this Saturday at Purdue, according to Buckeyes head coach Jim Tressel.

Tuesday at his press luncheon in Columbus, the Buckeyes coach said that Herron, who injured his ankle in last week's win over Wisconsin, would not be in the backfield when OSU heads to West Lafayette and perhaps the week after that, when Ohio State hosts Minnesota.

"I don't think we'll have Boom (Herron) this week," Tressel said. "I think we probably got set back a week or two ... "

That means the Buckeyes will start junior tailback, Brandon Saine, once again this week, with true freshman Jordan Hall coming off the bench.

Saine leads the Buckeyes in rushing this season with 349 yards on 63 carries (5.5 avg.). However, the junior from Piqua has yet to score a touchdown in six games this season.

With Herron out of the game for the this week and possibly beyond, there may be a chance that heralded true freshman, Jaamal Berry, could see some action.

Of course, that's a big maybe.

"I keep waiting for Jaamal Berry to be healthy because when he's been healthy he's been very, very good," Tressel said. "But right now, it's Brandon and Jordan (as the primary runners)."

This week should tell the tale whether Berry is to see action in 2009 or be fitted for a big ole red-shirt.

To be continued ...

Monday, October 12, 2009

BUCKEYES WEEKLY AWARDS

Photo of Kurt Coleman by Darla Dunkle-Hudnell

COLUMBUS — Ohio State senior safety, Kurt Coleman, made up for his one-game suspension during Saturday's 31-13 win against Wisconsin, by recording a career-high 14 tackles, to go along with an outstanding 89-yard interception return for a touchdown — the fifth longest in OSU football history.

The great performance by Coleman earned himself the "Defensive Player of the Week" by the Ohio State coaching staff on Monday.

Senior Ray Small, who added a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Wisconsin, was awarded the "Special Units Player of the Week."

There was no "Offensive Player of the Week" awarded for the Wisconsin game.

OTHERS AWARDS: Linebacker Ross Homan received the "Attack Force" award. Homan compiled a team-high 15 tackles and a pair of sacks in the win over the Badgers.

SCOUT TEAM CHAMPIONS: Spencer Smith (offense), Taylor Rice (defense) and Ricky Crawford (special units).

Sunday, October 11, 2009

BUCKEYES MOVE TO NO. 7 IN AP, USA TODAY AND HARRIS POLLS

Ohio State receivers' Duron Carter, left, and DeVier Posey celebrate following Posey's 32-yard touchdown in the second quarter of Saturday's 31-13 win over Wisconsin. The Buckeyes moved up to No. 7 in the AP, USA Today and Harris Polls, released Sunday. (Photo by Darla Dunkle-Hudnell)

Ohio State moved up to No. 7 in all three of the major college football polls (Associated Press, USA Today, Harris Interactive) this week, after their 31-13 victory over unbeaten Wisconsin.

Alabama leap-frogged Texas for the No. 2 spot after their dominating victory at Mississippi.

Listed below are the latest polls:

AP (first place votes)
1. Florida (50) 5-0
2. Alabama (10) 6-0
3. Texas 5-0
4. Virginia Tech 5-1
5. Boise State 5-0
6. USC 4-1
7. Ohio State 5-1
8. Cincinnati 5-0
9. Miami (FL) 4-1
10. LSU 5-1
11. Iowa 6-0
12. TCU 5-0
13. Oregon 5-1
14. Penn State 5-1
15. Nebraska 4-1
16. Oklahoma State 4-1
17. Kansas 5-0
18. Brigham Young 5-1
19. Georgia Tech 5-1
20. Oklahoma 3-2
21. South Florida 5-0
22. South Carolina 5-1
23. Houston 4-1
24. Utah 4-1
25. Notre Dame 4-1

USA Today (first place votes)
1. Florida (53) 5-0
2. Texas (1) 5-0
3. Alabama (5) 6-0
4. Virginia Tech 5-1
5. USC 4-1
6. Boise State 5-0
7. Ohio State 5-1
8. TCU 5-0
9. Cincinnati 5-0
10. LSU 5-1
11. Miami (FL) 4-1
12. Iowa 6-0
13. Penn State 5-1
14. Oklahoma State 4-1
15. Kansas 5-0
16. Oregon 5-1
17. Nebraska 4-1
18. Oklahoma 3-2
19. Brigham Young 5-1
20. Georgia Tech 5-1
21. South Florida 5-0
22. South Carolina 5-1
23. Houston 4-1
24. Missouri 4-1
25. Notre Dame 4-1

Harris Poll (first place votes)
1. Florida (99) 5-0
2. Texas (2) 5-0
3. Alabama (13) 6-0
4. Virginia Tech 5-1
5. Boise State 5-0
6. USC 4-1
7. Ohio State 5-1
8. Cincinnati 5-0
9. LSU 5-1
10. TCU 5-0
11. Iowa 6-0
12. Miami (FL) 4-1
13. Penn State 5-1
14. Oregon 5-1
15. Oklahoma State 4-1
16. Kansas 5-0
17. Brigham Young 5-1
18. Oklahoma 3-2
19. Nebraska 4-1
20. Georgia Tech 5-1
21. South Florida 5-0
22. South Carolina 5-1
23. Houston 4-1
24. Auburn 5-1
25. Notre Dame 4-1

Saturday, October 10, 2009

WHAT A STRANGE AND UNUSUAL WIN

Ohio State linebackers' Ross Homan (51) and Brian Rolle (36) bring down Wisconsin running back Zach Brown (30) during Saturday's 31-13 Buckeyes' victory in Columbus. (Photo by Darla Dunkle-Hudnell)

COLUMBUS — How does a team that gets doubled up in total offense, scores only one offensive touchdown, has possession of the football for just a little more than 17 minutes, and still comes away with an 18-point victory?

Well ... when that team's defense prevents the opposing offense from punching one across the chalk, scores two touchdowns of their own on interception returns, and then that team's special units takes a 96-yard kickoff return to the house ... well ... that's how that team wins that game.

Saturday in Columbus, ninth-ranked Ohio State (5-1, 3-0) — powered by an opportunistic defense — handed the visiting Wisconsin Badgers (5-1, 2-1) their first loss of the 2009 season, as the Buckeyes defensive unit outscored the Badgers by themselves in the 31-13 victory.

The first defensive touchdown for the Buckeyes came with 3:48 remaining in the first quarter, when senior safety, Kurt Coleman — who was suspended for the Indiana game last Saturday — intercepted Badgers' quarterback, Scott Tolzien, at the OSU 11-yard line, took off down the home sideline behind a convoy of blockers and raced 89 yards to paydirt for the 7-0 lead.

"The interception, it really started with the D-line," Coleman said. "I knew they had a great pass rush which is why they kind of forced the high throw on the wide receiver. And for the pick, it was an easy pick for me, I was just standing right there, happened to be in the right spot.

"I had great blockers, my team led me all the way down the field. I did the easy part, they did all the work, so I give all the credit to them."

Coleman finished the game with 14 tackles, a pass break up — and off course, a pick six.

The other defensive touchdown for the Buckeyes came on the opening series of the third quarter, when Coleman's fellow safety, Jermale Hines, made an acrobatic interception at the Wisconsin 32, and weaved his way to the end zone for the touchdown and a 21-10 lead.

The Buckeyes defense out-scored the Badgers 14-13 in the win.

And boy the home team needed those defensive points, as well, because the OSU offense just wasn't on their game Saturday, scoring just 10 points in the game.

OSU quarterback, Terrelle Pryor, managed just five completions on 13 attempts for 87 yards and an interception — which set up the Badgers first and only touchdown (on a fake field goal) in the second quarter.

The sophomore signal caller looked very uncomfortable under center (and in the gun) during Saturday's game, and basically did all of his damage on the Buckeyes final series just before the half.

Pryor had runs of 27 and six yards, and pass completions of six and 22 yards, before connecting with DeVier Posey down the right sideline for a 32-yard touchdown toss to give the Buckeyes the lead for good.

Other than that, Pryor's and the OSU offensive unit's performance was quite pedestrian, to say the least.

"We hit some plays," Tressel said about his offense's final series of the first half. "(Wisconsin) over pursued on the one play and (Pryor) cut back and made, I don't know, 20-plus yards. Then we hit a couple plays that were somewhat misdirectioned, because they were fine with the ball and they overran some things and (Pryor) threw a dig backside and (the Badgers) were kind of crowding our receivers a little bit and he threw one over top of them."

Tressel said he wasn't able to pin point what went wrong Saturday, but nonetheless, the offense has to pick it up a notch if they want to continue winning games down the stretch.

"I don't think you could point to one particular thing like everyone always tries to," Tressel said. "Were we asking them to do the right things? Were they executing what we were asking them to do? What was Wisconsin doing that we needed to adjust to? It makes it hard when you're going three and out to figure it out because there's not that much data there ...

"We didn't do as well as we need to do. We've got to get better."

As for the defense, the extra time on the field didn't wear them down a bit. Sure, Wisconsin did manage to compile 368 total yards on the Buckeyes defense. But, when you take into account that they ran 89 plays in the game — that big number doesn't seem as impressive. In fact, the Buckeyes offense, as poor as they were, still averaged more yards per play in the victory.

The Buckeyes defense didn't allow a touchdown in the game — again, Wisconsin's only TD came on a fake field goal against the special teams. They held the Big Ten's leading rusher, John Clay, to just 59 yards on 20 carries (3.0 avg.) and punished the most efficient passer in the conference, Tolzien, for six sacks and two interceptions.

OSU linebacker Ross Homan was the catalyst in the Buckeyes' assault of the Badgers, recording a team-high 15 tackles, two sacks and two tackles for losses. Fellow linebacker, Brian Rolle, was also a monster for the Buckeyes' attack, compiling 14 tackles of his own in the win.

The OSU special teams excelled as well.

Senior returner, Ray Small, who has had a long and winding road during his career in Columbus, finally gave fans that massive explosion that they've been waiting for, fielding a third quarter kickoff at the 4-yard line, started to his left, then cut it up the middle and blazed 96 yards to the house, with nothing left but a vapor trail.

Tressel said Small looked very reminiscent to another former Buckeye and Cleveland Glenville standout — Ted Ginn Jr.

"Yeah, it was almost like he was shot out of a gun," Tressel said of Small's kickoff return. "I saw him take that thing and he downshifted and he was gone. It did look a little bit like Teddy (Ginn) and I was teasing him in the locker room. I said, 'you got one,' and he said, 'yeah, it took till I'm awfully old.'

"But it was a great thing for him and just a great lesson on perseverance and hanging in there and figuring it out and he made a nice play last week on a little reverse on the kickoff and has been doing a great job at receiver as well."

The Buckeyes remain unbeaten in the Big Ten and will look to remain perfect as they travel to West Lafayette this Saturday for a conference tilt with the Purdue Boilermakers.

Friday, October 9, 2009

PREVIEW: BADGERS CAN RUN, WILL BUCKS STOP IT?

COLUMBUS — Wisconsin has the top rushing offense in the Big Ten. Ohio State has the top rushing defense in the Big Ten.

This weekend in Columbus — something has got to give.

To read the rest of the story, click here.

Also, see this week's predictions of all the Big Ten games, including the prime-time tilt in Iowa, between Michigan and the 12th ranked Hawkeyes.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

BUCKEYES BATTLING THE FLU; TRESSEL TALKS RUNNING BACKS

Mike Adams photo by Darla Dunkle-Hudnell

COLUMBUS — The flu bug has bitten the Buckeyes.

During Jim Tressel's weekly press luncheon Tuesday in Columbus, the Ohio State coach stated that quite a few of his players are battling the illness and may not be available for Saturday's showdown with unbeaten Wisconsin.

Tressel didn't have a full report on all of the players who are affected, but he did mention a few, including both of his left tackles, Mike Adams and Andy Miller.

"(Michael) Brewster was out for two days last week. Adams, I think, has got the flu," Tressel said. "Miller's out. I don't have a report with me, but there are at least five or six names."

If Adams can't go Saturday, look for sophomore J.B. Shugarts to move to the left tackle spot and true freshman, Marcus Hall, to get the call on the right side.

Many teams across the country — most notably Florida and Wisconsin — have been hammered hard by the flu this season, and Tressel stated that in order for his guys to keep this problem from turning into an epidemic, his players must continue to use preventative measures, like the "elbow bump" — alternative to shaking hands — that he introduced a few weeks back.

"I don't think it's under control," Tressel said of the flu. "Because the problem is it's not under control with the general population. You're sitting in a lecture hall and the class before someone (may have been infected).

"So, you try to get your rest and try to take care of yourself and wash your hands as much as you can. They didn't take my elbow bump thing, I mean, they must have been shaking hands."

RUNNING BACKS A PLENTY — After being sidelined last week due to a sprained ankle, Dan "Boom" Herron should be good to go this week against the Badgers.

However, the player who filled in for Herron last week in his absence, — junior Brandon Saine — performed at a star-level, running for a career-high 113 yards on 17 carries (6.6 avg.) in the 33-14 win at Indiana. Saine is averaging 2.4 yards more a carry than Herron has this season, forcing the question — will Herron get his starting job back?

Tressel gave his best Eric Mangini impersonation when answering.

"Saine/Herron, however you want to call it," Tressel said. "Herron/Saine, doesn't matter."

Another tailback that has been out due to injury, true freshman Jaamal Berry, seems to be ready for action after missing the first five games of the season. In fact, Tressel said that Berry could've been called upon in last week's game against the Hoosiers.

However, with Saine, Herron and another true freshman, Jordan Hall, all healthy and playing well, there doesn't appear to be much of a spot in the backfield for the highly touted runner out of Miami.

But don't expect a red-shirt for Berry, just yet.

"(Berry) was probably at 90, 95 percent and we took him, and had we gotten banged a little bit at tailback in the course of the game, he was probably the next guy to go in the game," Tressel said. "He got (Monday) off, so I'm hoping that he's above 95 percent today.

"As far as our thinking with him from a red-shirting and all that standpoint, we try not to think about that a whole bunch with tailbacks because you can be thinking for a moment that you're just fine and two turned ankles later, you're not so fine, so we want (Berry) preparing as if he's got to be ready to play."

LARIMORE OUT — Junior defensive tackle, Dexter Larimore will not play this week against Wisconsin, after suffering a knee injury last Saturday night at Indiana.

Tressel did say, though, that it was "a little bit of a sprain" and that he will not need surgery.

Senior Todd Denlinger will fill-in for Larimore while he is out. Denlinger has recorded two sacks and an interception this season for the Buckeyes.

Monday, October 5, 2009

OSU WEEKLY FOOTBALL AWARDS

Anderson Russell photo by Darla Dunkle-Hudnell

COLUMBUS — Senior safety, Anderson Russell, was named "defensive player of the week," and junior tailback, Brandon Saine received the "offensive player of the week" honors by the Ohio State coaching staff Monday for their outstanding play in Saturday night's 33-14 win at Indiana.

Russell led the Buckeyes with six tackles in the win and also recorded an interception and a fumble recovery. Russell replaced the suspended Kurt Coleman as the starter in the victory over the Hoosiers.

Saine, who was also filling in as a starter (for an injured Dan Herron), took full advantage of his opportunity by rushing for a career-high 113 yards on 17 carries.

Punter Jon Thoma, who downed three punts inside the 20 against Indiana was named the "special units player of the week."

OTHER AWARDS — Linebacker Austin Spitler received the "Attack Force" award and offensive lineman, Bryant Browning, won the "lineman of the week" award.

Scout team champions were: James Georgiades (offense), Jamie Wood (defense) and Ryan Schuck (special units).

OSU MOVES UP IN USA TODAY, STAYS PUT IN AP, HARRIS POLLS

Photo by Darla Dunkle-Hudnell

Ohio State moved up a spot to No. 8 in the latest USA Today Coaches Poll released on Sunday.

Following their 33-14 victory over Indiana, and Oklahoma's loss at Miami (FL), the Buckeyes were able to gain ground according to the coaches.

However, in the Associated Press poll, the Buckeyes remained at No. 9. Cincinnati, which was ranked tenth last week, leaped ahead of Ohio State at No. 8.

The Buckeyes remained No. 8 in the second edition of the Harris Interactive poll.

The latest polls are listed below:

AP (first place votes)
1. Florida (54) 4-0
2. Texas (1) 4-0
3. Alabama (5) 5-0
4. LSU 5-0
5. Virginia Tech 4-1
6. Boise State 5-0
7. USC 4-1
8. Cincinnati 5-0
9. Ohio State 4-1
10. TCU 4-0
11. Miami (FL) 3-1
12. Iowa 5-0
13. Oregon 4-1
14. Penn State 4-1
15. Oklahoma State 3-1
16. Kansas 4-0
17. Auburn 5-0
18. Brigham Young 4-1
19. Oklahoma 2-2
20. Mississippi 3-1
21. Nebraska 3-1
22. Georgia Tech 4-1
23. South Florida 5-0
24. Missouri 4-0
25. South Carolina 4-1

USA Today (first place votes)
1. Florida (57) 4-0
2. Texas (1) 4-0
3. Alabama (1) 5-0
4. LSU 5-0
5. Virginia Tech 4-1
6. Boise State 5-0
7. USC 4-1
8. Ohio State 4-1
9. TCU 4-0
10. Cincinnati 5-0
11. Miami (FL) 3-1
12. Penn State 4-1
13. Oklahoma State 3-1
14. Iowa 5-0
15. Kansas 4-0
16. Mississippi 3-1
17. Oregon 4-1
18. Missouri 4-0
19. Auburn 5-0
20. Brigham Young 4-1
21. Oklahoma 2-2
22. Nebraska 3-1
23. Georgia Tech 4-1
24. South Florida 5-0
25. Wisconsin 5-0

Harris Poll (first place votes)
1. Florida (97) 4-0
2. Texas (12) 4-0
3. Alabama (5) 5-0
4. LSU 5-0
5. Boise State 5-0
6. Virginia Tech 4-1
7. USC 4-1
8. Ohio State 4-1
9. Cincinnati 5-0
10. TCU 4-0
11. Iowa 5-0
12. Miami (FL) 3-1
13. Penn State 4-1
14. Oklahoma State 3-1
15. Oregon 4-1
16. Kansas 4-0
17. Brigham Young 4-1
18. Mississippi 3-1
19. Auburn 5-0
20. Oklahoma 2-2
21. Nebraska 3-1
22. Georgia Tech 4-1
23. Missouri 4-0
24. South Florida 5-0
25. Wisconsin 5-0

Saturday, October 3, 2009

PRYOR, BUCKEYES THRASH HOOSIERS

Photo by the Associated Press

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — After nearly taking down Michigan the week before and putting up 33 points and 467 yards on the Wolverines' defense, the upstart Indiana Hoosiers were feeling mighty good about themselves going into Saturday night's showdown against the No. 9 Ohio State Buckeyes.


Unfortunately for the Hoosiers — and their faithful fans — they learned two very valuable lessons in their game with the Buckeyes. Michigan isn't Ohio State and Tate Forcier isn't Terrelle Pryor.


The Buckeyes used a smothering defense and a stellar all-around performance by Pryor to bring the Hoosiers back to reality, as OSU riddled Indiana, 33-14, in front of an amped up crowd of 51,500 at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington.


The Buckeyes starting defense held the high powered Hoosiers' offense in check all game long, surrendering just seven points and 228 yards total in the win, including only 18 on the ground. The other Indiana touchdown came in garbage time when the OSU reserves were in the game and the outcome was already decided.


OSU's defense stifled Indiana running back, Darius Willis — who had a huge game last week against Michigan — holding the Hoosiers' red-shirt freshman to only 23 yards on 11 carries, with his longest gain of the night being seven yards. Ohio State has surrendered just 13, 82 and 18 yards rushing in the past three games.


Indiana head coach, Bill Lynch, stated that OSU's defense was as good as advertised.


"(Ohio State's defense) is as good as any in the nation," Lynch said. "You know, if you watch tape, that's how they play everyone. That's how they played USC. We had one drive tonight, that's what USC had against them. (USC) scored on a 1-yard drive after an interception and we kind of put the little thing there at the end.


"(OSU's) front four are very strong. If you have to throw it, it really stresses your protection because they are going to, if not get sacks, they are going to hit the quarterback."


The Buckeyes did hit the quarterback often, and sacked the Hoosiers' signal caller — Ben Chappell — three times. Ohio State's relentless pressure also forced Chappell into throwing two interceptions in the defeat.


"Their defensive line is big and athletic," Chappell said. "I think that is their strength of their defense — and their other guys are good too.


"They are a solid defense, no question."


The Hoosiers did manage to drive one down for a score on the Buckeyes in the second quarter, when Chappell led Indiana on an 8-play, 80 yard drive, capped off by a seven yard TD pass to Tandon Doss, pulling the OSU lead to within three.


However, following the Hoosiers' score, Pryor showed his might — and his cannon for an arm.


The 6-6, 240-pound star — on the ensuing drive — hit Dane Sanzenbacher on an 18-yard strike deep into Indiana territory and then followed it up with a 23-yard laser shot to DeVier Posey for a touchdown and the 17-7 lead.


The scoring drive not only took just three plays, but it eliminated the little momentum the Hoosiers had going at that point in the contest — something that they never regained the rest of the night.


"That was a huge answer," OSU head coach Jim Tressel said. "It was nice to come back down and get that touchdown. Ray Small set it up with the kick return on the reverse. Then it was bang, bang, bang and we scored ...


"Terrelle was glued in there. That was after we had a good drive and missed that field goal. (Pryor) may have been frustrated, but he came back and moved it down. He's a competitor."


Ohio State left guard, Justin Boren, said that Pryor made the quick drive look easier than it really was.


"You want to do that every time but it's never that easy. Terrelle made a couple of really good passes and probably made it look easier than it was," Boren said. "I've said it before — Terrelle is amazing. He's one heck of an athlete and we have all the confidence in the world with him back there.


"It's awesome! He's unbelievable."


Pryor — who is now 12-2 as a starter at Ohio State — threw for 159 yards and three touchdowns in the win, including scoring strikes to true freshmen' Duron Carter and Zach Boren. Pryor also did some damage with his feet, rushing for 63 yards and a score on a sneak play from one yard out in the fourth quarter.


"You know, he's a difference maker," Lynch said of Pryor. "I think that's the best way to put it. I don't know how many times he got them out of situations with his legs to get first downs. It was much the way we thought, he's a very difficult guy to tackle, because he can straight arm, he's allusive, and he never rushes himself either.


"He made some good throws too," Lynch continued. "He's a pretty special football player."


Another bright spot for the Buckeyes was junior tailback, Brandon Saine. Saine — who was starting for the first time in his career because of an injury to starter Dan Herron — ran the ball with great authority, rushing for a personal best 113 yards on 17 carries (6.6 avg.).


Tressel liked what he saw out of his tailback.


"Brandon Saine is 220 pounds and he moves the pounds very fast," Tressel said. "He's got some power."


The Buckeyes improved to 2-0 in the Big Ten with the win and will return home this Saturday for another conference showdown against unbeaten Wisconsin.


Tressel said that his team must continue to play at a high level if they want to remain on track for a sixth straight Big Ten title.


"We made some big plays and our defense is very good against the rush," Tressel said. "We're going to need to be next week against a very good Wisconsin team."