(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.)
Columbus, Ohio – And the juggernaut keeps rolling.
After putting up 38 points against Iowa on the road last week, top-ranked Ohio State showed no letdown against Bowling Green, winning by a final score of 49-7.
The Buckeyes (6-0, 2-0 Big Ten) held the visiting Falcons (1-5, 1-2 Mid American Conference) to 122 yards of total offense in their last non-conference game of the season. In contrast, OSU racked up 508 yards of offense with more than 300 yards coming on the ground.
The BGSU defense had no answer for senior quarterback Troy Smith, who was again at the top of his game. Smith connected on 15 of 23 passes for 190 yards and three touchdowns while also carrying the ball 21 times for 146 yards and two more touchdowns to lead OSU.
The Buckeyes held a 21-0 lead with 6:15 left in the first half thanks to two touchdowns by Smith – a 1-yard pass to wideout Anthony Gonzalez and a three-yard run by Smith himself – and a seven-yard scoring run by tailback Antonio Pittman.
Bowling Green mustered its only score of the afternoon with 4:04 remaining in the first half. Freshman quarterback Freddie Barnes hooked up with senior wideout Kenneth Brantley II for a 16-yard strike to cap a drive that lasted 1:42.
OSU answered on its next possession, however, when Smith hooked up with tailback Antonio Pittman for a two-yard touchdown pass with 26 seconds remaining in the half. The Buckeyes led 28-7 at the half and cruised the rest of the way.
The defense got in the act during the second half as junior linebacker Marcus Freeman intercepted a Barnes pass and returned it 33 yards for a touchdown. The score came with 5:57 left in the third quarter and put the Buckeyes ahead 42-7.
With the game firmly in hand, the OSU coaching staff played things close to the vest for much of the second half and frequently kept the ball on the ground. The score and potent running attack allowed the Buckeyes to dominate in time of possession as well as on the scoreboard.
OSU had the ball for 39:06, while the Falcons maintained possession for just 20:54 – a nearly two-to-one margin.
The interception return for a touchdown was not the only defensive highlight for the Buckeyes. As a team, OSU kept Barnes confused for much of the afternoon and harassed him into an 8-for-32 performance for 113 yards and four interceptions. The Falcons leading rusher was junior tailback Dan Macon who managed 17 yards on four carries.
The impressive numbers came in spite of being without defensive lineman David Patterson, who was suspended for two weeks by the OSU coaching staff for "conduct detrimental to the team."
Junior college transfer Larry Grant showed impressive talent in his first sustained playing time of the season. Grant recorded seven tackles – four for loss – and two sack to lead the Buckeyes. Sophomore cornerback Malcolm Jenkins had one of the four OSU interceptions to push his team-leading total to three on the season.
Sophomore defensive back Nick Patterson also made the most of his most extensive playing time this season. After senior free safety Brandon Mitchell exited with a pulled groin muscle, Patterson came on to nab an interception of his own. Mitchell is expected to miss three weeks with the injury.
The Buckeyes were led by Smith's feet on the ground, but Pittman rushed 12 times for 81 yards and one touchdown while freshman Chris Wells carried the ball eight times for 54 yards.
Smith's favorite target through the air was the speedy Ted Ginn, Jr., who caught six passes for 108 yards and one score – a 21-yarder on the first play of the fourth quarter that closed the scoring for the game. Smith finished 15 of 23 for 190 yards and three touchdowns through the air, completing passes to six different targets.
The Buckeyes remained at the top of the coaches' poll and were at the top of the first media poll released Sunday night. The top 10 schools are as follows (first-place votes are in parentheses followed by overall record):
1. Ohio State (35) 6-0
2. USC (23) 5-0
3. Oklahoma (1) 5-0
4. West Virginia (1) 5-0
5. Miami (1) 5-0
6. Florida 5-1
7. Auburn 5-1
8. LSU 5-1
9. Arizona State 5-0
10. Penn State 5-1
Iowa remains at No. 13, Michigan fell to No. 15 and Notre Dame is No. 16.
1. Ohio State (37) 6-0
2. USC (21) 5-0
3. Oklahoma (3) 5-0
4. Florida 5-1
5. West Virginia (3) 5-0
6. Miami (1) 5-0
7. Auburn 5-1
8. LSU 5-1
9. Penn State 5-1
10. Arizona State 5-0
Michigan remained No. 12, Notre Dame dropped to No. 14, Iowa stayed at No. 15 and Minnesota fell to No. 20.
The Buckeyes stand alone in first place in the Big Ten following Penn State's victory over Minnesota. Conference records are listed ahead of overall records.
1. Ohio State 2-0, 6-0
2. (tie) Penn State 2-1, 5-1
Minnesota 2-1, 5-1
Michigan 2-1, 5-1
Iowa 2-1, 5-1
6. (tie) Northwestern 1-1, 4-2
Michigan State 1-1, 3-3
8. (tie) Illinois 1-2, 4-2
Wisconsin 1-2, 4-2
10. (tie) Indiana 0-2, 2-4
Purdue 0-2, 0-5
Week six scores:
No. 1 Ohio State 49, Bowling Green 7
No. 11 Penn State 31, No. 16 Minnesota 14
No. 14 Michigan 38, Michigan State 14
No. 13 Iowa 38, Purdue 7
Northwestern 23, Wisconsin 20
Illinois 52, Indiana 21
News & Notes
-Troy Smith continues to be near the top of the Heisman Trophy balloting. Arizona State wideout Rudy Burgess, Georgia Tech wideout Calvin Johnson and Smith remain in the top five. They have been joined by Nebraska quarterback Zac Taylor and Auburn signalcaller Brandon Cox.
-There were two significant defeats in the nation's top ten this week. No. 4 Oklahoma handed No. 5 Texas its second loss of the season – a 35-17 defeat – while No. 9 Florida whipped No. 2 LSU, 43-27.
-Smith became the second Buckeye to earn Big Ten Player of the Week honors and the first to do so on offense. Smith was recognized for his outstanding performance against Bowling Green while Michigan linebacker Christopher Grahm earned defensive honors for recording five tackles and returning an interception for a touchdown.
-Purdue's woes can partly be traced to injuries to its top two right tackles. Sophomore Sean Sester is out for five weeks while backup Garret Miller is lost for the season.
-Slade Bobo's high school coach said Bobo's official visit to Columbus – scheduled for the OSU/Michigan game Nov. 18 – is "the talk of the school."
-The Buckeyes made gains with three players who now list OSU as their top choice: linebacker Johnnie Lester and center Cameron Houston both moved OSU ahead of Notre Dame on their lists while offensive tackle Reggie Tidwell now has the Buckeyes ahead of Penn State on his list. Lester told BuckeyeSports.com that he "plans to watch the game to see if (OSU) can hold onto the No. 1 spot)."
-Four-star defensive tackle prospect Patrick Anderson reportedly had "a great time" on his unofficial visit to OSU last week. The nation's No. 2 DT prospect has OSU third on his list with Georgia at No. 1.
-Paul Barrow, the top quarterback prospect in the state of Ohio, has OSU at the top of his list ahead of Iowa. He took an unofficial visit to the Hawkeyes last weekend and said he "expected more" out of them.
-Wideout Mark McMillan caught four passes for 89 yards and one touchdown during his school's game last weekend. The top wideout prospect in the country has OSU second on his list behind Notre Dame.
It's back to the Big Ten this week for Ohio State. The Buckeyes will face off against Michigan State (3-3, 1-1 Big Ten) in East Lansing, Mich.
The Spartans, who were drubbed by in-state rival Michigan 38-14 last week, are led by senior quarterback Drew Stanton who has completed 107 of 182 passes for 1,352 yards and 10 touchdowns. His primary target has been senior Matt Trannon, who has caught 29 passes for 368 yards and one touchdown. Junior tailback Jehuu Caulcrick has 110 carries for 650 yards and six touchdowns this season.
Defensively, senior linebacker David Herron, Jr. – the older brother of new OSU commit Daniel Herron – leads the Spartans with 31 tackles and two sacks.
Check out the previous results: