(Note: everything in this article is based off simulating events on NCAA Football 2007. The game does not assign players, so I came up with names myself.)
AUSTIN, Texas – Last season, Texas quarterback Vince Young left Ohio Stadium as a bona fide Heisman candidate after engineering a victory over the Buckeyes.
This season, Troy Smith returned the favor.
The senior quarterback accounted for four touchdowns and more than 250 yards of total offense and the Buckeyes asserted themselves as the team to beat in the country with a 28-19 victory on a hot night in Texas.
After the Buckeyes fell behind 7-0 on an early 23-yard touchdown pass from Matthew McCoy to Jordan Shipley that capped a game-opening 2:45 drive, Smith took over.
First, he hooked up with tailback Antonio Pittman out of the backfield for a 50-yard score to pull the Buckeyes even with 5:54 remaining in the first half. Once the OSU defense forced a punt, Smith moved the Buckeyes down the field and converted a one-yard fade route to Ted Ginn, Jr. in the corner of the end zone to put OSU up 14-7 with less than three minutes remaining in the first half.
The Buckeyes (2-0) would never trail the Longhorns (1-1) again.
Still, Texas managed to keep the final outcome in doubt despite Smith's air superiority. He added a 29-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Gonzalez in the third quarter and scrambled for a 23 yard touchdown run himself in the fourth to put the game out of reach.
The Longhorns managed to put up nine fourth-quarter points following Smith's touchdown run, but after a two-point conversion attempt failed the Buckeyes recovered the ensuing on-side kick attempt with less than four minutes remaining and ran the clock out.
Ohio State outgained the Longhorns in total yardage, 389-329, but the biggest difference came on the ground. The Buckeyes, led by Smith's 11 carries for 107 yards and Pittman's 16 carries for 95 yards, amassed 235 rushing yards compared to Texas' total of 140.
Buckeye fans also got to see speedster Ted Ginn, Jr. assert himself as a force on the football field for the first time this season. Despite being double-teamed for much of the game, Ginn grabbed two passes for 25 yards – one a touchdown on a fade route from the goal line – but really showed his speed while playing on special teams.
Ginn received two kickoffs and nearly broke one for a score before being edged out of bounds for a gain of 45 yards. He also returned three punts for 30 yards to lead both squads in return yards.
The hard-hitting Ohio State defense made its presence known early and throughout much of the game. The Longhorns saw McCoy, junior running back Ramonce Taylor and sophomore tailback Jamaal Charles all leave the game with injuries. Taylor will miss one week of the season, while Charles is out for the four games and McCoy is expected to miss the rest of the season.
In McCoy's place, freshman Jevan Snead took over behind center and posted nearly identical numbers: both quarterbacks completed 8 of 19 passes, but McCoy also tossed one touchdown and two interceptions.
Eight of Smith's 12 completions went to different receivers. Senior Roy Hall led the team with three receptions, but Ginn, Gonzalez and Pittman each had two receptions. Brian Hartline and Chris Wells also had their first receptions as Buckeyes.
Defensively, the Buckeyes were led by linebacker Mike D'Andrea who totaled seven tackles. Andre Amos and James Laurinaitis both nabbed interceptions.
After two games, defensive tackle Quinn Pitcock leads the Buckeyes with 14 tackles and three sacks. Pittman has seen the bulk of the carries thus far, a move the OSU coaches said they plan to change in the coming weeks. The junior has 35 carries for 190 yards and four touchdowns and has caught three passes for 76 yards and one touchdown.
The Buckeyes were again overwhelmingly voted as the top team in the country after defeating then-No. 2 Texas. The top 10 schools are as follows(first-place votes are in parentheses):
1. Ohio State (40)
2. USC (21)
8. West Virginia
9. Penn State
Notre Dame dropped to No. 11 after losing to Penn State at home while Michigan maintained its No. 13 ranking with a win over Central Michigan.
In the Big Ten, Miami of Ohio continued to wreck havoc by beating its second team from the conference in as many weeks. After knocking off Northwestern 38-31 to open their season, the RedHawks beat Purdue by a 31-24 score in the Boilermakers' first game of the season.
1. (tie) Illinois 2-0
Penn State 2-0
Michigan State 2-0
Ohio State 2-0
9. (tie) Northwestern 1-1
11. Purdue 0-1
News & Notes
-Troy Smith continued to make waves in Heisman balloting after leading the Buckeyes to victory over the Longhorns, but his name was joined by that of teammate Antonio Pittman, who has began to make a name for himself this season. The OSU duo are among the top five candidates in the country, joining Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn, Oklahoma tailback Adrian Peterson and Auburn wideout Courtney Taylor who is new to the list this week.
-The Big Ten announced its players of the week: Penn State tailback Tony Hunt and Indiana cornerback Jeremy Miles.
-The Buckeyes escaped from Austin without suffering any new injuries. Wideout-turned-cornerback-turned-wideout Devon Lyons is still nursing an undisclosed injury, and the coaching staff expects him to return in two more weeks.
The Buckeyes remained at the top of the list for Slade Bobo – who recorded 11 tackles in his last game – and for wideout Matt McMillan.
Despite his status as the No. 6 cornerback in the country and a four-star prospect, OSU is letting up in its pursuit of Derrick Kane. According to an inside source, Kane has been neglecting his coursework in high school and could wind up academically ineligible.
The powerful running attack the Buckeyes demonstrated in their win over the Longhorns left a strong impression in the mind of offensive lineman Cameron Houston. The No. 6 center in the country, Houston has elevated OSU to fourth on his list but still has Penn State at the top.
Not all is going well, however. Offensive tackle Reggie Tidwell reportedly was not impressed with his unofficial visit to OSU during week one, partly due to the Buckeyes' slow start against Northern Illinois. He has OSU fourth on his list with the Nittany Lions at the top.
Finally, Jason Mitchell, the top cornerback prospect in the country, was reportedly wowed with a visit to LSU last week and now has the school at the top of his list. Ohio State is sixth.
Top-ranked Ohio State will host in-state rival Cincinnati, which has stumbled to an 0-2 record to start the season.
Sophomore quarterback Dustin Grutza lead the Bearcats. In the two losses, Grutza has completed 39 of 69 passes for 535 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Junior halfback Bradley Glatthaar has 30 carries for 152 yards and two touchdowns while senior wideout Bill Poland has 12 catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns.
The Bearcats will be without sophomore defensive tackle Thomas Claggett, junior free safety Haruki Nakamura and junior right tackle Digger Bujnoch.
Check out the previous results: