Top-Ranked Buckeyes Host Michigan State Saturday
Buckeyes (7-0, 3-0 Big Ten) climb to No. 1 in polls and BCS standings; Ohio State leads nation in scoring defense and total defense
FIRST AND 10
Ohio State has an all-time record of 64-9-1 when ranked as the nation’s No. 1 team.
Currently, 14 teams have enough wins to be eligible for post-season play.
Ohio State is also one of only six teams to remain undefeated through this point in the season, along with 7-0 Arizona State, Boston College and Hawaii; and 6-0 Kansas and South Florida.
TRESSEL GETS WIN No. 200
Among active coaches, only Bobby Bowden (Florida State), Joe Paterno (Penn State) and Frank Beamer (Virginia Tech) also have 200 career wins.
REGULAR-SEASON WINS RECORD
BIG TEN CONSECUTIVE WINS
Game captains thus far: Youngstown State - Larry Grant; Akron Marcus Freeman; Washington Vernon Gholston; Northwestern Malcolm Jenkins; Minnesota Anderson Russell; Purdue Larry Grant; Kent State Marcus Freeman.
MORE ABOUT THE CAPTAINS
James Laurinaitis is the first junior to be elected a captain since 2000 when Steve Bellisari and Joe Cooper both were chosen captains as juniors. Bellisari and Cooper were re-elected as seniors in 2001.
BUCKS WIN 77 PERCENT OF OHIO STADIUM GAMES
Ohio State has won 16 consecutive and 20 of the last 21 games played in the Horseshoe. Ohio State’s all-time record in Columbus is 520-151-35 in 706 games.
Ohio State has hosted 38 consecutive crowds of 100,000 or larger at Ohio Stadium, including an opening-day audience of 105,038 against Youngstown State (20th largest crowd in Ohio Stadium history) and a crowd of 105,178 (12th largest ever) for the Big Ten opener against Northwestern. The audience of 105,051 to watch the win over Kent State was 18th largest all-time.
This summer, the old grass field in place at Ohio Stadium since 1990 was removed for a new synthetic surface called FieldTurf. The old field was rolled up and donated to the Columbus Parks and Recreation Service.
THREE AND OUT
Totals by game: Youngstown State (3); Akron (13); Washington (5); Northwestern (6); Minnesota (8); Purdue (7); Kent State (3).
The Buckeye defense has held the opponent to three-and-out on 50.0% of all possessions this season (45-90). Turnovers have ended 13 of those other opponent drives.
SCORING DEFENSE BEST ALLOWED SINCE 1975
OHIO STATE W/L RECORDS
The Ohio State defense has allowed only four touchdowns this season, holding Youngstown State to two field goals in the opener before Akron totaled just two points on a first-quarter safety. Minnesota scored once on a four-yard pass play. Northwestern’s touchdown came on a kickoff return. Purdue scored on the last drive of that 23-7 Buckeye road victory.
Ohio State allowed Akron to put just two points on the scoreboard with a first-quarter safety, the lowest opponent total since the Buckeyes shut out Minnesota, 44-0, last season in Columbus. The Buckeyes held Akron to just 1-9 third-down conversions in the first half; for the game, the Zips converted just 2-16 third-down chances.
Akron had just two first downs in the first half, both coming on its opening drive of the game. After Akron’s first drive, Ohio State forced the Zips into 13 consecutive three-and-outs on offense, a school record. That streak included four drives of negative yardage for Akron. Four of Akron’s three-and-outs came after Ohio State turnovers.
For the game, Akron had just 69 yards of total offense. After totaling 34 yards on the first drive, the Zips put up 35 yards the rest of the game. The Ohio State record for fewest yards allowed is 27 to Michigan in 1950.
The Buckeyes forced three interceptions against Washington, and also recovered a fumble on special teams.
Northwestern finished with zero yards rushing on 33 attempts. The last time the Buckeyes held an opponent to zero yards rushing was against San Jose State (0 yards, 13 attempts) Oct. 12, 2002. For the game, the Wildcats converted just 6-of-17 third-down chances.
Minnesota was held to just 45 yards rushing; Ohio State had two interceptions against the Gophers. Purdue, the Big Ten’s top offense entering the game, rushed for only four net yards and gained only one rushing first down. Kent State scored a field goal on its last drive of the game.
LAURINAITIS LEADS THE WAY
The All-America linebacker had two interceptions, a team-high 8 tackles and a 5-yard sack against the Washington Huskies, earning Big Ten defensive player of the week honors.
The junior, who won the 2006 Bronko Nagurski Award, has accounted for seven interceptions, six sacks and 13.5 TFL (-65) during his stellar career.
CORNER TO CORNER
Corner Malcolm Jenkins had nine tackles, one for a loss, against the Boilermakers, and Donald Washington added four solo stops and a PBU. Safety Anderson Russell contributed a pair of sacks (-18) and two pass breakups.
Against Kent State, Washington scored on a 70-yard interception return and also recorded his first career sack.
DEFENSIVE BIG PLAYS
Donald Washington’s 70-yard interception return for a touchdown was a highlight of the win over Kent State, and the first score on an interception by a Buckeye since Brandon Mitchell did it last season at Northwestern. A second-quarter Kent State fumble was forced by Doug Worthington and recovered by Shaun Lane.
In the win at Purdue, Ohio State totaled seven pass breakups, five tackles for loss and three sacks against the Big Ten’s top-rated offense.
At Minnesota, Ohio State got interceptions from Malcolm Jenkins (3 yards) and Larry Grant (19); Grant also had a nine-yard sack, one of seven TFL for the game by the defense.
In the 58-7 win over Northwestern, junior defensive lineman Vernon Gholston scored on a 25-yard fumble return; Gholston also had a pair of sacks for -23 yards.
Nick Patterson (34 yards) and Chimdi Chekwa (9) came up with interceptions for the Buckeyes. Anderson Russell forced the fumble that led to Gholston’s score, and also recorded a 5-yard sack. The Buckeyes had five sacks and 13 tackles for loss against the Wildcats.
Boeckman and Robby Schoenhoft connected with a season-best 10 targets in the win over Kent State.
Junior Brian Robiskie, who had six receptions for 64 yards at Purdue, is Ohio State’s top target for the season, with 35 catches for 636 yards and six scores to his credit. Robiskie has now caught a pass in 19 regular season games in a row.
Ray Small had six receptions for 70 yards at Purdue, including a 26-yard touchdown from Boeckman for the game’s first score; for the year, Small shows 11 catches for 149 yards.
Brian Hartline has 26 catches for the season, with 319 yards and four touchdowns. He scored on a 14-yard reception against Kent State, as well as a 90-yard punt return. Hartline was on the receiving end of a 6-yard scoring strike at Purdue; his long gain against the Boilermakers was 41 yards.
Boeckman connected with nine different Buckeye targets at Minnesota, the leader being Robiskie, with five catches for 99 yards, including an acrobatic 52-yard TD dive just before halftime.
At Washington, there were six OSU different targets, led by Robiskie with 107 yards on four catches, including a 68-yard third-quarter touchdown. The leader against Northwestern again was Robiskie, whose three catches each went for scores of 42, 28 and 19 yards. Small caught a 48-yard scoring strike from Boeckman against Northwestern, the long gain of the day.
Eight Buckeyes caught passes in the win over Akron, led by Hartline with a career-best six receptions totaling 43 yards. Robiskie had four catches for 82 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown reception from Boeckman.
Nine Ohio State players had at least one reception against Youngstown State, including four who had the first receptions of their collegiate careers: fifth-year senior Trever Robinson and true freshmen Dane Sanzenbacher, Devon Torrence, and Taurian Washington.
Sanzenbacher, Washington and Robinson each scored a touchdown on his first career catch; the last Buckeye to do that was Jake Ballard against Indiana in 2006.
The receiving leader for the Buckeyes against YSU was Robiskie, who had nine catches for 153 yards. That total is the most receiving yardage by a Buckeye since Ted Ginn Jr. had 167 vs. Notre Dame in 2006 Fiesta Bowl). Robiskie’s nine grabs were a career best, topping the seven he had vs. Michigan last year. The nine receptions are the most since Ginn had 10 against Bowling Green last season.
SCORES AND MORE
Against Kent State, the Buckeyes scored 28 points, on touchdowns via the pass, the run, a punt return and an interception return.
The Buckeyes led Northwestern by a score of 45-0 at the half, the most first-half points since Ohio State posted 52 points (52-0) against Pitt Sept. 21, 1996.
The 58 points scored by the Buckeyes was the largest total of the Jim Tressel era. That tops the 54 points scored by the Buckeyes last season at Northwestern. The 58 points were the most since 72 scored against Pitt Sept. 21, 1996.
The 58 points were the most scored against a Big Ten opponent since a 69-18 win against Minnesota in 1983.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Ohio State outscores opponents 20.6-2.7 in the first half and 15.1-3.8 in second-half action.
The Buckeyes, which rank first nationally in scoring defense, are outscoring opponents by 29.1 points per game (35.7-6.6)
At Washington, Wells ended the game with 135 yards on 24 rushes, and he totaled 100 yards on 12 carries against Northwestern (with a 36-yard touchdown) before leaving that game with an ankle injury. Beanie gained 116 yards on 24 carries in the win at Minnesota, scoring two first-quarter touchdowns (his first career multi-touchdown game).
Maurice Clarett was the last Buckeye to record 100 yards rushing in four straight contests, against Indiana, Northwestern, San Jose State and Wisconsin in 2002.
Wells left the Purdue game in the third quarter with an ankle injury after gaining 85 yards on 18 carries, and played sparingly against Kent State, gaining 17 yards on four carries with a 7-yard touchdown. Beanie is sixth among Big Ten rushers this season at 91.7 yards per game.
Boeckman is 105-160 passing (65.6%) on the year for 1,353 yards, with 16 touchdown passes against just six interceptions. His pass efficiency rating of 162.18 leads the Big Ten signalcallers and ranks Boeckman 10th nationally.
Boeckman has completed a touchdown pass to seven different Buckeye receivers this season; his favorite target is Brian Robiskie, who has caught six of those scores.
At Purdue, Shaun Lane forced a fumble on a second-quarter Boilermaker kick return that was recovered by Aaron Gant.
Against Northwestern, Larry Grant blocked a Wildcat punt; Grant also blocked a Washington field goal attempt the previous week.
At Washington, James Scott recovered a fumble of a Husky kickoff return. Tyler Moeller blocked a punt in the season opener against Youngstown State.
COACHING STAFF ASSIGNMENTS
On the field:
In the booth:
Tops among those are: Kirk Barton (34); James Laurinaitis (20); Malcolm Jenkins (20); Vernon Gholston (19); Marcus Freeman (18); Alex Boone (17); Steve Rehring (17); and Rory Nicol (15).
First-time starters for the Buckeyes this season (17): Nader Abdallah, Jake Ballard, Todd Boeckman, Chimdi Chekwa, Kurt Coleman, Jim Cordle, Todd Denlinger, Cameron Heyward, Dionte Johnson, Dexter Larimore, Ben Person, Rob Rose, Dane Sanzenbacher, Ray Small, Chris Wells, Lawrence Wilson and Doug Worthington.
At Minnesota, the Buckeyes covered 98 yards in four plays in just 0:57 for a 52-yard touchdown pass from Todd Boeckman to Brian Robiskie. Ohio State covered 54 yards on four plays in 1:22, culminating in a four-yard TD run by Chris Wells.
Ohio State needed just 1:10 to get on the scoreboard against Northwestern on a 42-yard TD pass from Boeckman to Robiskie.
The Buckeyes scored on drives of 0:57, 0:31, 0:57 and 1:42 at Washington. Against Northwestern, Ohio State had drives of 1:10, 0:52, 1:33, 0:48, 1:22 and 0:03.
2007 PRESEASON HONORS
Individual preseason honors for the Buckeyes:
NEW NAME, NEW ADDRESS
Both namings recognize generous donations by those individuals and their families to The Ohio State University.
AVERAGE PER DOWN
On first down, the Buckeyes have run a total of 214 plays, gaining 1,481 yards for an average of 6.9 per play. On second down, OSU has tried 160 plays for 906 yards, a 5.7 average. On third down, the Buckeyes have run 92 plays, gaining 607 yards for a 6.6 average. Ohio State has tried only seven fourth-down attempts, gaining 18 yards.
Ohio State’s touchdowns this season have come eight times on first down (four rushing and four passing TDs), eight times on second down (five rush and three pass), and 11 times on third down (nine pass and two rush).
MAKE THEM PUNT
Rex Kern, who quarterbacked the Buckeyes from 1968-70, will be honored on campus for his selection to the College Football Hall of Fame. The first All-America quarterback to play for Coach Woody Hayes, Kern led OSU to three Big Ten titles and the 1968 national championship. A NFF National Scholar-Athlete, Kern earned three degrees from Ohio State. Kern will be formally inducted in ceremonies in December in New York City.
AGAINST RANKED TEAMS
Ohio State is now 120-100-12 all-time when facing a ranked opponent, and 34-39-7 on the road against ranked teams. Against ranked Big Ten opponents on the road, OSU is 28-33-5. Under Coach Jim Tressel, the Buckeyes are 26-9 overall and 6-4 on the road against ranked teams.
IN NIGHT GAMES
Ohio State is 24-10 in road night games since 1959 and 30-11 in night games all-time.
BILL WILLIS TO BE HONORED
A Buckeye lineman from 1942-44, Willis was a three-year starter playing both offense and defense. The Columbus native was a devastating blocker on offense and a punishing, relentless tackler on defense, despite his willowy 6-2, 215-pound frame. Willis earned All-America honors in 1943 and 1944 (Ohio State’s first-such African-American honoree), and was a key part of the Buckeyes’ 1942 national championship squad.
Willis went on to a distinguished career with the Cleveland Browns (1946-53); he is considered to be the first African-American starter after the re-integration of professional football.
“Bill Willis is the ultimate Buckeye. His record of accomplishment on the field and the class and dignity he exudes exemplify the qualities of Ohio State. He is the consummate gentleman,” Gene Smith, Ohio State director of athletics, said. “Recognizing his career and legacy as an athletics pioneer by retiring his jersey number is a way to salute not just the Willis family, but the Buckeye program overall.”
Willis, who is retired from his career as director of the Ohio Youth Commission, is a member of the Ohio High School, Ohio State Athletics, College Football and Pro Football halls of fame. Willis, who celebrated his 86th birthday Oct. 5, still lives in the Columbus area, as do two of his three sons.
“Bill Willis is an inspiration to all Buckeye fans and football fans in general,” Jim Tressel, Ohio State head football coach, said. “His career was unparalleled and the class he has always demonstrated is extraordinary. It has been an honor to get to know Mr. Willis.”
Willis’ No. 99 jersey will be retired from service after the 2008 season. Other Ohio State retired numbers since 1999: Archie Griffin (45); Vic Janowicz (31); Howard “Hopalong” Cassady (40); Les Horvath (22); Eddie George (27); and Charles “Chic” Harley (47).
“It’s great to see Bill’s number retired. He is certainly an icon, and his achievements have been a pinnacle at all levels of football. The recognition is very deserving,” Griffin, president of the Ohio State Alumni Association, said. The two-time Heisman Trophy winner was the first Buckeye athlete to have his number retired in any sport.
MAKING THE GRADE
NOT SINCE 1922-24
SUCCESS AGAINST THE BEST
Michigan tops the all-time victories list (865-282-36), Notre Dame is second (822-270-42) and Texas ranks fourth (814-312-33). The Buckeyes are fifth all-time with 794 wins and Penn State is sixth (785). Illinois (554) and Iowa (554) rank in the Top 50 on the all-time wins list.
WHERE THEY GO NEXT