Its Official: OSU Accepts Alamo Bowl Invite
Ohio State has accepted an invitation to be the Big Ten representative in the 2004 MasterCard Alamo Bowl on Wednesday, December 29 at 7 p.m. (CST) in San Antonio’s 65,000-seat Alamodome.
“We look forward to welcoming Ohio State to San Antonio for the 2004 MasterCard Alamo Bowl,” said Jack Rogers, MasterCard Alamo Bowl chairman. “After their impressive win against Michigan which gave them four victories in their last five games, we anticipate that the Riverwalk will be a sea of scarlet with the legions of Buckeye fans.”
Ohio State (7-4), who upset #7 Michigan 37-21 in Columbus last Saturday, will be making its first bowl trip to San Antonio. This is the second time the bowl has hosted the winner of the Ohio State-Michigan game. In 1995, Michigan upset #2 Ohio State 31-23 and played Texas A&M in a game that earned a 6.3 rating and still stands as ESPN’s second highest rated bowl game of all-time.
The trip to San Antonio will be Ohio State’s 35th bowl trip and fifth consecutive, including the 2002 National Championship.
During Head Coach Jim Tressel’s four year tenure at Ohio State, he has led the Buckeyes to a 39-11 record (including a 15-5 record against Top 25 teams and 6-1 against Top 10 teams) and four bowl appearances: 2002 Outback Bowl, 2003 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, 2004 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and 2004 MasterCard Alamo Bowl.
“I have heard so many great things about the MasterCard Alamo Bowl and its surrounding activities,” said Tressel. “Our players are honored to be invited and we look forward to a great week in San Antonio and facing the challenge of our Big 12 opponent.”
In front of 105,456 fans (the second highest attendance in Ohio State history), the Buckeyes erupted for 446 total yards of offense in their win against Michigan, a team which had won eight straight.
Sophomore quarterback Troy Smith was the offensive MVP as he combined for 386 total yards and three touchdowns against the Wolverines as he notched the first 200+ yards passing (241) and 100+ yards rushing (145) game at Ohio State.
Ted Ginn, Jr., Smith’s high school teammate, was equally as exciting as he caught five passes for 87 yards and broke open the game with an 82-yard punt return for a touchdown in the third quarter to extend the Buckeye lead to 27-14. Ginn, a true freshman, has four punt returns for touchdowns on the season which is a school and Big Ten record.
If Ginn, the MVP of the 2004 U.S. Army All-American Bowl high school all-star game held at the Alamodome, returns a punt for a touchdown at the 2004 MasterCard Alamo Bowl it will be the first in bowl history. David Allen (Kansas State) and Bobby Newcombe (Nebraska) are tied for the longest punt returns with 32 yard returns in 1998 and 2000, respectively.
On the season, Ginn has touched the ball 40 times—19 pass receptions, 14 punt returns, five runs from scrimmage and two kickoff returns. In those limited touches, Ginn has scored seven touchdowns—a 65-yard punt return against Wisconsin, a 59 yard pass reception vs. Indiana, a 67-yard punt return again Penn State, an 82-yard punt return against Michigan and a 17-yard run, 60-yard punt return and a 58-yard reception against Michigan State—an average of 58.3 yards per score.
Ohio State’s top receiver is sophomore Santonio Holmes who has caught passes in 17 straight games and is in eighth place on the Buckeyes career list for touchdown receptions. He leads the team in receptions (50), receiving yardage (722) and touchdown catches (7).
All-Big Ten Conference junior linebacker A.J. Hawk anchors the Buckeye defense. Hawk averages 12.4 tackles per game and led the team in tackles in 9 of their 11 games. Against Wisconsin, he recorded 20 tackles making him only the ninth player in Ohio State history to be credited with 20 or more tackles in a game.
While Ginn is the most dynamic special teams performer, All-American senior place kicker Mike Nugent is Ohio State’s most consistent. Nugent has kicked 68 field goals in his career, a school record. For the season, Nugent is 20-of-23 and has a NCAA leading five 50-yard kicks, including two 55-yarders. (Nebraska’s Josh Brown holds the Alamo Bowl record for longest kick with a 51-yarder in 2000).
“The Ohio State University and its players and coaches are excited to accept the invitation to participate in the MasterCard Alamo Bowl.” Ohio State Athletics Director Andy Geiger said. “San Antonio is a beautiful city and has been a tremendous host for the NCAA Final Fours so I'm confident our fans will come down to enjoy all that the city and bowl has to offer.”
The head coaches from both schools will make their first appearances in San Antonio on Thursday, December 9 (tentatively scheduled for 10 a.m. CST) during a press conference at the SBC Yellow Pages Alamo Bowl Golf Classic at The Quarry Golf Club.
Ticket prices for the 2004 MasterCard Alamo Bowl are $23, $33 and $53 and can be purchased by logging on to www.alamobowl.com or visiting the Alamodome Southwest Box Office from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Fans can also purchase their tickets by phone by calling Ticketmaster at (210) 224-9600 or logging on to www.ticketmaster.com.
Fans interested in travel packages to the 2004 MasterCard Alamo Bowl can call 1-800-810-2695 (BOWL). American Airlines is offering fans traveling to San Antonio for the game a 5% discount for Coach Class and a 10% discount for First Class tickets. This discount is available by calling American Airlines Meeting Services at 1-800-433-1790 and providing the discount code 20D4AY. Their hours of operation are 5 a.m. to midnight (CST) seven days a week.
This year’s game will be the 12th installment 2004 MasterCard Alamo Bowl. Since 1995, the game has matched the Big Ten and the Big 12 Conferences. This combination has produced five of the Top 12 most-watched games in ESPN bowl history.
Since Texas could still receive an at-large BCS berth, the MasterCard Alamo Bowl’s Big 12 team announcement is not anticipated until 5 p.m. (CST) on December 4 at The Palm Restaurant Alamo Bowl Team Announcement Party.