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Bobcats Fall to In-State Rival No. 3 Ohio State, 26-14

Sept. 6, 2008


Final Stats |  AP Action Photos 

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio Bobcats (0-2) put up a fight in nearby Columbus, leading No. 3 Ohio State (2-0) after the third quarter but ultimately falling by a score of 26-14. This was the sixth meeting between the schools, with Ohio State owning the series 6-0. The Bobcats last met the Buckeyes in 1999, losing 40-16 in Columbus.

Ohio is coming off a heartbreaking loss at Wyoming to start the season, falling 21-20. Ohio State defeated Youngstown State last weekend by a score of 43-0 in Ohio Stadium. Ohio is now 0-14 all-time against ranked opponents. This marked the 800th win for the Ohio State football program, ranking them fifth all-time.

To start the day, Ohio State won the toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff. The game unfolded slowly, as the Bobcat defense stifled the Buckeyes' first two drives, forcing consecutive three and outs, to the delight of the Bobcat fans in attendance.

On the Bobcats' second drive of the game, junior quarterback Theo Scott (Long Beach, Calif.) was intercepted by Lawrence Wilson, who returned the ball 24 yards to the Bobcat 24-yard line. The Buckeyes put the first points on the board with a 27-yard field goal by senior Ryan Pretorius, capping a seven-play, 15-yard drive and putting the Buckeyes ahead 3-0.

Ohio was held on their next drive and forced to punt. Freshman quarterback Terrelle Pryor then entered the game for the Buckeyes, replacing senior Todd Boeckman, but was held to three plays by the Bobcat defense.

On Ohio's next possession, Theo Scott was shaken up on a tackle and replaced by junior Boo Jackson (Gardena, Calif.). To start the second quarter, Jackson was picked off by Malcolm Jenkins, giving the Buckeyes the ball at their own 39-yard line. Boeckman returned under center for the Buckeyes, leading a drive all the way to Ohio's 28-yard line but failing to score, as they were shut down on a fourth and one attempt.

The Bobcats took over on downs and wasted no time, driving 72 yards for a touchdown after a 15-yard scamper by Donte Harden (Erie, Pa.) on a toss from Jackson. The Bobcats took the lead 7-3.

The Buckeyes answered on their next drive with a 38-yard field goal from Pretorius, capping a 40-yard drive, to close the gap to 7-6 in favor of the Bobcats.

At the end of the first half, Ohio State attempted a 53-yard field goal that missed wide left from the foot of Pretorius. The Bobcats went into the locker room with a 7-6 lead, marking the first time in the six meetings that Ohio has led Ohio State at halftime.

After one half of play, Ohio outgained Ohio State 127 yards to 117. Scott went 3-9 for 23 yards with one interception, while Jackson went 3-9 for 40 yards and one interception. The Bobcats held the edge in rushing yards with 64 to Ohio State's 50. The Buckeyes passed for 67 yards and Ohio passed for 63 yards. Chris Garrett (Bristow, Va.) led the Bobcat rushing attack with 7 carries for 18 yards. This marked the first time since Oct. 6, 2007, that Ohio State did not score a touchdown in a half.

Ohio opened the second half with the ball but was forced to punt. Sophomore Matt Schulte (Cincinnati, Ohio) pinned the Buckeyes at their own six-yard line, leading to a Bobcat score when Ohio State's Boeckman fumbled a snap on the ensuing series. Sophomore defensive end Curtis Meyers (Harrison, Ohio) recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchdown, extending the lead to 14-6.

Not to be outdone, Ohio State responded with a 73-yard drive and a one-yard touchdown run by Dan Herron. Pretorius missed the extra point wide left, leaving the score 14-12 for Ohio.

The game turned at the end of the third quarter when Ohio senior Mark Parson fumbled a punt that was recovered by Ohio State's Shaun Lane deep in Ohio territory. Ohio State capitalized with a 25-yard scoring drive and a two-yard touchdown run by Brandon Saine to reclaim the lead, 19-14, one minute into the fourth quarter.

A Bobcat retaliation was halted with an interception by James Laurinaitis. Ohio State was held by the defense, however, giving the ball back to Ohio, but the Bobcats were held to three plays and forced to punt. Ohio State then added to their lead on a 69-yard punt return for a touchdown by junior Ray Small, making the score 26-14 late in the fourth quarter.

The final Bobcat drive ended with an interception by Ohio State's Anderson Russell, ending the Bobcats' attempt at a comeback. Terrelle Pryor returned to the game for the Buckeyes to close out the fourth quarter, and the final score stood at 26-14.

Ohio State finished the game with 272 yards of total offense, while Ohio tallied 254. The Buckeyes had 162 yards on the ground, edging Ohio's 145. The passing game was nearly even, with Ohio throwing for 109 yards and the Buckeyes for 110. The Ohio State defense notched four interceptions for the first time since 2001 and recovered one fumble.

Donte Harden paced the Bobcats with 11 carries for 63 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Boo Jackson had seven carries for 55 yards, followed by Chris Garrett with seven carries for a net of 22 yards. In the air, Jackson was 9-25 for 86 yards and three interceptions. Junior Taylor Price (Hilliard, Ohio) led the receiving corps with two catches for 34 yards.

For the Bobcat defense, junior linebacker Lee Renfro (Burnside, Ky.) had nine total tackles, a team-high, including a sack. Noah Keller (Kearney, Neb.) and Thad Turner (Marietta, Ga.) each recorded seven tackles. Overall, the Bobcats had three sacks for a total loss of six yards.

For the Buckeyes, Dan Herron rushed for a net of 50 yards on 12 carries, averaging 4.2 yards per carry. Maurice Wells finished with nine carries for 48 yards. Quarterback Todd Boeckman went 16-26 on the day for 110 yards. Pryor finished 0-2 in the air and had five carries for 37 yards, with a long of 23 yards. James Laurinaitis led the defense with nine tackles and one interception. Ross Homan finished with eight tackles, five of them solo for a team-high.

The Bobcats will face MAC opponent Central Michigan (1-0) in their home-opener next Saturday, Sept. 13, at 2:00 p.m in Peden Stadium. Next weekend the Buckeyes will battle No. 1 Southern California (1-0) on the road at 8:00 p.m.

Ohio vs. Ohio State Quotes

Junior defensive end Kris Luchsinger

On Ohio's defense playing well today:

 "I think we played very fundamentally sound. Our techniques were what we were supposed to do. Everybody did their jobs well and that's what allowed that to happen."

On what the team can take from losing two close games to start the season:

"We do know we are a good football team. The fact that we haven't won the opening two games doesn't mean anything against us, it's just how the dice rolls. We have the Mid-American Conference game coming up (against Central Michigan) and that's more important to us than any of these games."

Sophomore defensive end Curtis Meyers

On defending the run:

"We came here prepared to defend the run. Everyone talks about the powerhouse (Ohio State), running smash-mouth football. We played our game and we did what we had to do."

On his fumble recovery in the endzone:

"(Ohio State quarterback Todd Boeckman) kind of had it between his legs and he thought he had it. Their offensive line started piling on and I just got my hands on it and I wasn't going to let them take it away."

Junior quarterback Franshaw "Boo" Jackson

On taking over for starting quarterback Theo Scott after he was injured:

"There's a big rush coming out there and playing at the Horseshoe. Once I stepped on the field, I see the thousands of people screaming and it got my blood going. I'm the kind of guy that thrives on that thing. Once I got in there, I just wanted to shine."

On playing with the first-string offense during the game:

"Theo and I rotate in every other play in practice. You never know when someone's going to go down. That's what happened. I got a bond with all these guys on the team, whether it's first team, second team, third team, even if they're redshirted or walk-ons. We all got a big bond. We're a team and we're like brothers."

On the play of the offensive line:

"They were outstanding. I knew they were physically strong, but going in against the big Buckeyes, I was a little intimidated at first, but once I got set in the pocket I thought `they got my back, I got there back.' Once I stepped up in the pocket I could run out and find some receivers. Their play was outstanding."

Ohio head coach Frank Solich

On the quarterback change during the game:

"We have a lot of confidence in Boo (Jackson). He's had great practices not only in the fall camp, but in spring ball. He has really progressed offensively in what we're doing. There's not a coach or player on our team that doesn't believe in him or his ability to get the job done."

On establishing a running game against a tough Ohio State defense:

"That was going to be a key for us to establish some kind of running game. If you just drop back and throw the ball, they're just going to tee off on you and you're in for a long day. I thought that our play selection was good. We had some reads that we tried to take advantage of with their alignment and personnel because everyone on Ohio State's defense can run. You're not going to block all of them, so you better try to fool some of them and on occasion we did that."

On refocusing for the MAC opener next week:

 "This game is gone. We have to go out and play our very best against Central Michigan to get that game won. We have to refocus now and refocusing means not caring where we play or who we play, but just getting ourselves ready to play our best ballgame."