Scarlet Blanks Gray, 13-0, in 2004 Ohio State Football Spring Game

April 24, 2004

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    COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Scarlet defensive unit held the Gray to less than 50 yards of total offense as the Scarlet shutout the Gray 13-0 Saturday in the 2004 Ohio State Spring Game in front 45,074 in Ohio Stadium. Senior tailback Lydell Ross (Tampa, Fla./Gaither) accounted for the only touchdown of the day, while sophomore quarterback Justin Zwick (Massillon, Ohio/Washington), who completed 16-of-26 for 165 yards, and freshman tailback Antonio Pittman (Akron, Ohio/Buchtel), 21 carries for 105 yards, captained the Scarlet offense to three scoring drives as the Scarlet out gained the Gray 260 totals yards to 49.

    The Scarlet defense also turned in a dominating effort Saturday as four players combined for nine sacks and limited the Gray to minus 33 yards rushing. The shutout was preserved late in the game as senior linebacker Thomas Matthews (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./Dillard) helped the Scarlet turn away the Gray after the fourth blocked punt of the day resulted in a Gray possession on the Scarlet 1-yard line. Following two offside penalties, an incompletion on first down and a short gain by Gray quarterback Troy Smith (So., Cleveland, Ohio/Glenville) on second down, the Scarlet held the Gray out of the endzone as Matthews recorded consecutive sacks on third and fourth down to preserve the shutout.

    The Gray turned in its best offensive series on the opening drive of the game as Smith completed his first four passes in leading the Gray inside the Scarlet 30-yard line. The drive stalled after a fumble by freshman tailback Matt Johnson (Upper Arlington, Ohio/Upper Arlington). Senior safety Nate Salley (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas) recovered the fumble, turning away the Gray's only trip across midfield in the first half. After the turnover, Zwick connected on two of his first three passes and combined with a several solid runs by Ross to the move the Scarlet inside the Gray 15-yard line. After an encroachment foul on the Gray, Zwick found sophomore receiver Santonio Holmes (Belle Glades, Fla./Glades Central) for an 8-yard gain to set up first-and-goal at the 1-yard line. Ross scored on a one-yard dive through the middle on the ensuing play, giving the Scarlet an early 6-0 lead. Junior placekicker Josh Huston (Findlay, Ohio/Findlay) converted the extra point for a 7-0 Scarlet advantage with 1:53 left in the first quarter. The scoring drive covered 66 yards on 12 plays and accounted for 5:42.

    Later in the second period, successive runs of 9, 8 and 7 yards by freshman Pittman and a 24-yard completion from Zwick to senior wide out John Hollins (Huber Heights, Ohio/Wayne) down the left sideline set up the Scarlet with a first-and-goal at the Gray 4-yard line. Following two failed fade attempts to each corner of the endzone, Huston connected on a 20-yard field goal to boost the Scarlet lead to 10-0 with 3:55 remaining in the half. The 8-play drive covered 54 yards and accounted for 2:31.

    In the second half, Zwick found freshman receiver Tony Gonzalez (Cleveland, Ohio/St. Ignatius) on three occasions for 43 yards, while Pittman collected 88 of his 105 yards on the ground as the Scarlet extended its lead to 13-0 with a 43-yard Huston field at 9:47 of the final period. The scoring drive covered 19 yards on 10 plays and 6:10. Gonzalez finished the day with 63 yards on five catches, while Hollins led all receivers with 64 yards on five grabs.

    Leading the Scarlet defense was Matthews with five tackles and two sacks, while sophomore defensive back Ashton Youboty (Klein, Texas/Klein) recorded four tackles, a tackle for loss, a forced fumble, one pass breakup, a fumble recovery and a blocked punt. For the Gray, Smith started the game with completions on five of his first six attempts and finished 7-15 for 53 yards. On defense, sophomore Dante Whitner (Cleveland, Ohio/Glenville) led the Gray with seven tackles, while freshman linebacker Marcus Freeman (Huber Heights, Ohio/ Wayne) recorded five tackles and a 12-yard sack.