Unbeaten Buckeyes roll on
(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 – The 105,000-plus fans packed into Ohio Stadium on Saturday got exactly what they expected to see: a slaughter.
The high-powered Buckeyes (8-0, 4-0 Big Ten) defeated the visiting Indiana Hoosiers (2-6, 0-4) by a final score of 55-14 on the strength of five Troy Smith touchdown passes.
The Buckeyes had four touchdowns of 20 yards or more. The longest went from Smith to junior tight end Marcel Frost for a 31-yard score with 2:42 remaining in the first half, putting OSU up 34-20 following a missed extra point by Ryan Pretorius – his first of the season.
Smith finished the afternoon 20 of 30 for 303 yards and five touchdowns despite being without the services of top wideout Ted Ginn, Jr. who was suspended for two weeks by the coaching staff earlier this week for disrupting voluntary workouts.
In his place, Smith found targets in his No. 2 wideout Anthony Gonzalez, his tight end Frost and his tailback Antonio Pittman. Gonzalez hauled in a 21-yard touchdown on the first drive of the game to put OSU ahead. After forcing an Indiana punt, Smith connected with freshman wideout Brian Hartline for a 25-yard score with 6:24 remaining in the first quarter.
He would connect with Frost again for a 10-yard score with 14:37 remaining in the fourth quarter, putting OSU up 48-14 with 14:37 remaining. The score came after Smith found Pittman for a 26-yard touchdown score on the Buckeyes' previous possession.
Pittman found his own ways to score as well. OSU's leading rusher had touchdown runs of three and seven yards, respectively, in the second quarter to help push the Buckeyes out to an early lead.
For his efforts, Smith was named the Big Ten's Offensive Player of the Week for the second time this season.
Freshman tailback Chris Wells, who has struggled to find consistent playing time with Pittman and Smith earning the bulk of the carries, found daylight for his first touchdown as a Buckeye – a seven-yard run with 7:20 remaining that capped a 4:30 OSU scoring drive. He finished with seven carries for 40 yards.
Indiana switched quarterbacks twice during the game, employing three different signalcallers against the Buckeyes. Senior Graeme McFarland had the most success, completing five of eight passes for 28 yards and two scores – both in the third quarter. Starter Blake Powers was 7 of 14 for 23 yards and an interception, while freshman Kellen Lewis was 0 for 3 with an interception.
In all, the Hoosiers were limited to 123 yards of total offense while the Buckeyes piled on 515 yards. Indiana rushed the ball 23 times for 72 yards compared to OSU's totals of 36 carries for 184 yards.
Third-down conversions were a problem for the Hoosiers as well. Indiana converted two of its 13 third-down situations and had the ball for just 24:38.
Senior Jay Richardson led the Buckeyes with six tackles, two for loss and one sack while senior linebacker John Kerr had five tackles, two for loss and a sack. Sophomore Lawrence Wilson recorded two tackles, both for a loss, and a sack as well. Malcolm Jenkins and James Laurinaitis both nabbed interceptions for the Buckeyes.
Sophomore punter A.J. Trapasso averaged 42.0 yards on his three punts – none of which were returned.
The BCS rankings were released for the first time on Monday, and the undefeated Buckeyes were listed at the top. The number after the team name is the poll average.
1. OSU .963
2. Oklahoma .848
3. USC .842
4. West Virginia .801
5. Auburn .764
6. Miami .739
7. LSU .706
8. Michigan .687
9. Louisville .603
10. Florida .599
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 (37) 8-0
2. USC (22) 6-0
3. Oklahoma (1) 7-0
4. West Virginia (1) 7-0
5. Miami 7-0
6. Auburn 7-1
7. LSU 7-1
8. Louisville 6-1
9. Michigan 7-1
10. Florida 5-2
Notre Dame moved up to No. 13, Penn State moved up to No. 14 and Iowa fell to No. 18.
1. Ohio State (39) 8-0
2. USC (23) 6-0
3. Oklahoma (1) 7-0
4. West Virginia (1) 7-0
5. Auburn 7-1
6. Miami (1) 7-0
7. LSU 7-1
8. Michigan 7-1
9. Florida 5-2
10. Louisville 6-1
Notre Dame improved to No. 13, Penn State moved up to No. 14, Iowa fell to No. 16 and Minnesota fell to No. 23.
The Buckeyes remain alone at the top of the Big Ten standings. Conference records are listed ahead of overall records.
1. Ohio State 4-0, 8-0
2. Michigan 4-1, 7-1
3. Minnesota 3-1, 7-1
4. Penn State 3-2, 6-2
5. Iowa 3-2, 6-2
6. Michigan State 2-2, 4-4
7. Purdue 2-2, 2-5
8. Illinois 1-3, 5-3
9. Northwestern 1-3, 4-4
10. Wisconsin 1-4, 4-4
11. Indiana 0-4, 2-6
Week eight scores:
No. 1 Ohio State 55, Indiana 14
No. 9 Michigan 42, No. 12 Iowa 13
No. 17 Penn State 38, Illinois 10
Purdue 38, Wisconsin 28
Michigan State 42, Northwestern 30
Minnesota 44, I-AA Midwest 3
News & Notes
-Troy Smith continues to lead the balloting for the Heisman Trophy. Arizona State wideout Rudy Burgess, Georgia Tech wideout Calvin Johnson, Nebraska quarterback Zac Taylor and Auburn signalcaller Brandon Cox round out the top five.
-Notre Dame is No. 13 in the BCS poll with a poll average of .393, while Penn State is No. 15 with a poll average of .355.
-Northwestern senior linebacker Erryn Cobb was named the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Week, joining OSU's Smith as the top players recognized by the conference this week. Cobb had seven tackles – two tackles for loss – one sack and an interception return for a touchdown in Northwestern's 42-30 loss to Michigan State.
- Top wideout Mark McMillan has Iowa at the top of his list with the Buckeyes a close seconds but apparently has a bit to learn about the Big Ten.
"I didn't know Indiana was in the Big Ten until I saw the (OSU) game on TV," he told BuckeyeSports.com.
-Slade Bobo told reporters he "likes all the attention being thrown his way" during the recruiting process. He still has OSU at the top of his list and will take an official visit to see the Buckeyes host Michigan in November.
- Four-star center Cameron Houston was at the Ohio State/Indiana game and now has the Buckeyes ahead of Virginia Tech in first place on his list.
- The Buckeyes slipped in defensive tackle prospect Patrick Anderson's mind. Anderson said he had a "decent time" on his unofficial visit to Georgia last weekend and now has the Bulldogs ahead of the Buckeyes on his list.
- OSU might be inching closer towards landing top in-state quarterback prospect Paul Barrow. The three-star prospect from an OSU pipeline in Dayton said he "didn't have too much fun" on his unofficial visit to Iowa last weekend and has OSU ahead of the Hawkeyes on his list.
The undefeated Buckeyes will host conference foe Minnesota this weekend. The Golden Gophers (7-1, 3-1 Big Ten) could move into a first-place tie in the Big Ten with the Buckeyes if they can pull off the upset.
Minnesota is led by senior quarterback Brian Cupito, who has completed 131 of 206 passes for 1,432 yards and 11 touchdowns. Junior Amir Pinnix leads the Golden Gophers' rushing attack with 1,138 yards and 10 touchdowns on 192 carries.
Defensively, senior linebacker Mario Reese leads Minnesota with 41 tackles and four sacks. Junior offensive lineman Steve Shidell is out for the season and linemate Joe Ainslie is out for four weeks, both with undisclosed injuries.
Check out the previous results: