(Saturday, September 6th)
Final Score: (3) Ohio State 26, Ohio University 14
Columbus, OH (Sports Network) - Ray Small came up big, racing 69 yards for a touchdown on a punt return late in the fourth quarter to put the pesky Bobcats away, as third-ranked Ohio State downed Ohio University, 26-14.
Small shook out of a crowded pack -- sprung in part by what appeared to be an apparent clip on the inside -- and sprang to the outside. His speed negated the kicker's angle and he raced to the end zone to seal the game.
Ohio State (2-0) struggled without Chris "Beanie" Wells, who missed the game with a right foot injury. He was replaced by a committee of backs, as Dan Herron ran for 50 yards and a touchdown and Maurice Wells added 48 yards on the ground. Terrelle Pryor, the freshman quarterback, rushed for 37 yards on five carries.
"This game, in a nutshell, looked like what people predicted it might look like between your opener and your national stage game," said Buckeyes head coach Jim Tressel. "The good news is we are 2-0 and it is September, but we have a lot of work to do."
Todd Boeckman completed 16-of-26 passes for 110 yards, but was sacked three times. Small had five catches for 27 yards and Dane Sanzenbacher finished with four catches for 32 yards for the Buckeyes, who travel out west to face top- ranked Southern California next weekend.
Ohio (0-2) kept it close despite an early injury to starting quarterback Theo Scott, who had a solid debut in the team's first game against Wyoming. His replacement Boo Jackson was solid, however, rushing for 55 yards and throwing for 86 yards. However, Jackson's three interceptions were costly.
Donte Harden ran for 63 yards and a touchdown in defeat.
Ohio's edge increased to 14-6 early in the third quarter. The Bobcats moved the football into Buckeyes territory and pinned the opposition back deep in with a pooch punt. A snap to Boeckman in the shotgun was wide and high, and Boeckman couldn't control the football in the end zone. Curtis Meyers fell on it for a touchdown.
Ohio State marched back to trim the deficit to 14-12 as Herron's one-yard plunge capped the march, but a missed extra point kept it a two-point game.
A Bobcats mistake led directly to OSU's first lead since early in the contest. Mark Parsons muffed a punt near the sideline and the Buckeyes recovered at the Bobcats 25-yard-line. Ohio State punched the football into the end zone with Brandon Saine's two-yard burst early in the fourth quarter for a 19-14 advantage.
The game featured three punts before the game's first turnover put the Buckeyes in business deep in Ohio territory. Scott was intercepted by defensive lineman Lawrence Wilson and he returned the football to the visitors' 24.
Ohio State, though, had to settle for Ryan Pretorius' 27-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead.
The Buckeyes' offensive line couldn't control the line of scrimmage throughout the remainder of the half, and Ohio's elusive second quarterback Jackson finally proved too slippery for the hard-charging OSU defense. After Maurice Wells -- in a spot normally reserved for Beanie -- was stuffed on 4th-and-1 from the Ohio 29-yard-line, the Bobcats went to work.
On 3rd-and-13, Jackson slipped out of an apparent sack, rolled right and tossed a deft 30-yard completion to Taylor Price to the Buckeyes' 45. Jackson then scrambled for 10 yards to move the chains on 3rd-and-7.
On 3rd-and-6 from the Buckeyes 28-yard-line, Jackson completed a crossing pass to tight end Riley Dunlop for 13 yards. Harden took a sweep left several plays later and followed his blockers practically untouched 15 yards into the end zone for a 7-3 Ohio lead.
Ohio State finally got into gear on its next series with Boeckman completing a 25-yard out pass to Jake Ballard. Herron ran for 12 yards later in the march, but the Buckeyes again had to settle for points of Pretorius' right foot. His 38-yard field goal capped the first-half scoring for a 7-6 deficit.
The Bobcats actually outgained the Buckeyes, 127-117, in the opening 24 minutes.
"We don't feel good," said Ohio head coach Frank Solich. "It was good to take it (the lead) into the fourth quarter, but we would have liked it to be that way at the end of the fourth quarter."
The win was the 800th in school history. Only Michigan, Notre Dame, Texas and Nebraska accomplished the feat earlier in Division I/FBS play...Ohio State finished with 162 yards on the ground, but did give up 145 rushing yards to the Bobcats...Ohio started the season 0-2 for the first time since 2002 and still hasn't beaten a ranked opponent (0-14)...The Buckeyes finished with 272 total yards and Ohio mustered 254 net yards.
09/06 17:23:58 ET