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No. 11 Buckeyes Blank Rockets, 38-0 September 19, 2009 Source: OSU Official Site - "When people said No. 11 Ohio State had no offense, quarterback Terrelle Pryor took offense. The sophomore threw for a career-high 262 yards and ran for 110 yards to help the Buckeyes rebound from disheartening loss and the criticism that went with it and beat Toledo 38-0 on Saturday at Cleveland Browns Stadium. "I'm just here to win," said Pryor, who threw three TD passes and ran for another score. "Whether it's 100 yards passing or 100 yards rushing ... it's not always realistic. Of course I want it, but I'll still do whatever I can to get a win." It was a resounding response by the Buckeyes (2-1) a week after a crushing 18-15 loss to No. 3 Southern California. The Rockets are no Trojans, but Pryor and the Buckeyes got the confidence-boosting performance they needed.
Pryor set career bests in completions and attempts (17 for 28) and tossed TD passes of 76 yards and 18 yards to Dane Sanzenbacher on the Buckeyes' first two possessions to set the tone against a Toledo defense that came in giving up 45 points and almost 500 yards a game...On third-and-7 from his own 24 on Ohio State's first possession, Pryor flipped a pass over the middle to a wide-open Sanzenbacher. He split the secondary and raced the distance. Pryor -- who was hesitant to run and seldom threw longer than 10 yards in the first two games -- rushed for two first downs and passed 12 yards to Duron Carter for another the second time Ohio State had the ball. That helped set up a quick look-in pass to Sanzenbacher, who was sandwiched by defensive backs but pulled in the ball to make it 14-0.
"(Terrelle is) a perfectionist. He's never completely satisfied with his performance," Tressel said. "I think he had more fun (than last week). When you succeed and score points, it's a lot more fun playing offense."
Ohio State's defense held Toledo's Aaron Opelt, leading the nation in total offense with 437 yards a game, to 181 yards. "That was our focus, to get to him and make him throw it quickly," defensive end Thaddeus Gibson said..."
Defense never rests as Ohio State bounces back with 38-0 romp over Toledo September 19, 2009 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - "..."I feel pretty good," Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor said Saturday afternoon. "And Iím losing memory of that USC game."...Pryor was the Buckeye who could benefit most from a few deep breaths, and he found his range and rediscovered his speed while completing 17 of 28 passes for 262 yards, rushing 12 times for 110 yards and becoming the first Buckeye to top 300 total yards since Troy Smith against Michigan in 2006...
But it was on the offensive line where scrapbook pages were made... it was Adams, center Mike Brewster and Shugarts at right tackle who played together during spurts as the offensive line rotated throughout. Since they signed on as recruits, that trio was expected to anchor the line, and in the 16th game of their careers, they took steps toward doing it...
The run game picked up 247 yards and averaged 5.4 yards per carry, helped immensely by Pryorís improvisation. Three tailbacks, Brandon Saine, Herron and intriguing freshman Jordan Hall, combined for 131 yards on 31 carries..."
Source: Columbus Dispatch
IT WAS OVER WHEN: Ohio State last lost to an in-state team in 1921, and the Buckeyes weren't about to end the streak at Toledo.
THE PLAY: On third-and-7 from his own 24 on Ohio State's first possession, Pryor flipped a pass over the middle to a wide-open Sanzenbacher. He split the secondary and raced the distance.
GAMEBALL GOES TO: Terrelle Pryor, who had a career-high 372 total yards; a career-high 262 yards (17-of-28) passing and 110 yards rushing.
THE STAT: The Buckeyes' defense forced the Rockets to take to the air by holding them to just 13 rushing yards.
THE STAT II: Terrelle Pryor led the way for the Buckeyes by throwing for over 200 yards and rushing for over 100 in the same game for the first time in his career.
THE STAT III: 522; total yards gained by the OSU offense.
THE STAT IV: 3-15; Toledo on third down conversions compared with Ohio State's 11 of 17.
THE MISMATCH: Ohio State's defensive front vs. the Toledo offensive line. Led by Cameron Heyward, the D-line pressured Toledo's Aaron Opelt, the nation's total offense leader going in, and denied the Rockets their rhythm.
NUMBERS FOR DUMMIES: 7-0: Jim Tressel's record at Ohio State vs. his former assistant coaches (Mark Dantonio, Jon Heacock and Tim Beckman)
NUMBERS FOR DUMMIES II: 3: Fans with hands over their heart during playing of the OSU alma mater
NUMBERS FOR DUMMIES III: 4-1: Buckeyes' record in Cleveland Municipal/Browns stadiums
IRONY OF THE DAY: Sanzenbacher puts hurt on his hometown with two TDs.
BLOCK O: Ohio Stateís highly touted group of sophomore offensive linemen ó Mike Brewster, J.B. Shugarts and Mike Adams ó played together for the first time as Buckeyes. Tressel rotated linemen throughout the game.
MIKE BREWSTER SAID IT:"That was nice," Brewster said. 'With us, Terrelle (Pryor) and Devier (Posey), there were a lot of sophomores out there."
COACH BECKMAN SAID IT: "You could see what they did last week against USC and they came back and did the same against us today."
NOTABLE SIGHTING: Cris Carter, the father of OSU freshman Duron Carter, watched the game from OSUís sideline.
ONE-LINER: Hey, Rockets, you know it's a bad day for your quarterback when his No. 1 receiver is the sideline bench.
THE VIEW: How the team sees it: Bring on the Big Ten (we need more easy wins like this).
How the pollsters will see it: Congratulations. You own northern Ohio.
How Buckeye Nation will see it: Goes to show we have the weapons; just need to use them.
TRANSLATING TRESS: What he said: "We don't have an overall feeling about anything."
What he meant: "Toledo is not USC."
AS HEARD FROM THE STANDS: "Hey, buddy, pay attention. The next Toledo pass is coming to you." -- an Ohio State fan to a maintenance worker carrying a ladder 20 feet behind the sideline.
JUST WONDERING: What do you call the Dawg Pound when the Browns aren't playing?
(Sources: ESPN/Columbus Dispatch/Canton Repository/The Webmaster)
Takeaways From the Toledo Game September 20, 2009 Source: The Silver Bullet - "...Positive Takeaways: #1 - Number one on the list has to be the defense...#2 - It was nice to see Pryor bounce back after a loss where he shouldered much of the blame...#3 - Dane Sanzenbacher is becoming a big time receiver...#4 - We also learned that Brandon Saine and Jordan Hall are very solid backup running backs. Boom Herron hasn't exactly had a great go of things thus far, no thanks to the offensive line, but his 2.4 yards per carry against Toledo was disheartening...
Negative Takeaways: #1 - The biggest negative had to be the errors from the offensive line. This was part of the reason the Buckeyes found themselves in 17 third downs on the afternoon...#2 - Tressel called a very good game for the most part, but actually drew the "boo birds" when the Buckeyes predictably tried to pound the ball on the goal line late in the first half. The Buckeyes were stuffed multiple times, and Pettrey would go on to miss the easy field goal (off the goal post) after a failed pass attempt from Pryor. There were hints of predictability with the Buckeye running game, and without a premiere back Tressel will have to mix it up more..."
Shuffled offensive line comes through September 20, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "For the first time in nearly two years, J.B. Shugarts was basking in that yin-yang blend of postgame joy and soreness. The right tackle made his first start for Ohio State yesterday, and helped the Buckeyes roll to 522 yards and a 38-0 victory over Toledo in Cleveland Browns Stadium.
"I was really excited; this is the first time I've really played football since I was a senior in high school," said Shugarts, a sophomore. "Just that feeling now after the game, after a big win -- it just feels great, like something I've really missed." Shugarts replaced senior Jim Cordle, who is out for a few weeks because of an ankle injury, and line play was already a concern.
In addition to Shugarts starting, the Buckeyes made several other changes as the game went on. Sophomore Mike Adams, who sat out the first two games for disciplinary reasons, played several series at left tackle. Andrew Moses played some at right guard, with starter Bryant Browning shifting to right tackle.
It wasn't a flawless day for the line. They gave up a sack, and they were guilty of five false-start penalties, three by Shugarts. "I was a little rusty," he said. "I jump the snap pretty good, so I'm pretty sure I wasn't offsides except one of them, but that's how it goes."
Coach Jim Tressel was pleased in general, particularly in how the line handled Toledo's variety of blitzes. "They had to handle a lot of junk," Tressel said. "That will prove to be a valuable experience."..."
Toledo Game Review September 19, 2009 Source: Duane Long Report - ""It has been my contention all along that Pryor throws the ball better than anyone is giving him credit for. The thing that stands out to me is the criticism of his motion. It doesn't seem to have anything to do with the pass. His motion is so much better than when he was in high school. The little hitch that he only shows sometimes is inconsequential. He has a great arm. He is throwing with accuracy. The first touchdown to Sanzenbacher was picture perfect. The second one was sublime with the accuracy. The biggest problem right now is the tendency to try to make a play when there is not a play to make. That tendency was crucial in the Penn State game. Sometimes a sack is the best play available. He had three bad decisions all day on his own. Under pressure he made several more because of his determination to make a play. I think we should give him the option of running when the pocket breaks down. Tell him to make the decision which is the better play, a low percentage pass or running?..."
Best debut: Freshman running back Jordan Hall, Pryorís Jeannette, Pa., high school teammate, saw his first college game action, finishing with 44 yards on seven carries, including a 17-yarder. "He had some great cuts," Pryor said. Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer
What It All Means: It's like the coaching staff realized that Terrelle Pryor is a major-league playmaker a week too late. This was the runner everyone was waiting to see. This was the decisive passer who didn't show up against USC. He also got help from his receivers, and his defense came up with another great performance. but going forward, this was all about Pryor. He needs to be the catalyst and the superstar, and even though the D is there to play Tressel-ball, Ohio State will go further if Pryor allowed to make mistakes from time to time in an effort to make big things happen. Source: CollegeFootballNews.com
Buckeyes save shutout by a single yard: ...With the Rockets facing third-and-4 from the OSU 27-yard line early in the fourth quarter, Toledo's Eric Page found a seam in the defensive secondary and caught a pass from Aaron Opelt. Page was a yard from the goal line when Ohio State safety Kurt Coleman caught him and ripped the ball free. It bounced into the end zone, where linebacker Ross Homan recovered for a touchback.
"By the time I got to him, I felt like if I tried to go lower or do anything else but strip the ball, it was going to be a touchdown," Coleman said. "In my mind, I was going to stop him." "We wanted a shutout in the worst way," Homan said. "While they were driving, the only thing on my mind was, 'Get 'em off the field. Don't let 'em score even three points.' Kurt made an unbelievable play and I was lucky enough to be around it."..."Source: Columbus Dispatch
Best How do you do: It didnít take long for Ohio State, coach Jim Tressel and sophomore quarterback Terrelle Pryor to at least temporarily pacify critics of the teamís unimaginative offense. On third and seven on the Buckeyesí first offensive series, Pryor hit Dane Sanzenbacher in stride on a 76-yard fly down the left hash for a quick 7-0 lead. The junior receiver from Toledo Central Catholic had his defender beat by 15 yards. Sanzenbacher, who the Rockets had coveted out of high school, also caught an 18-yard touchdown pass on Ohio Stateís grinding 6 1/2-minute, 12-play second series. In fact, Sanzenbacher wound up with five catches for a career-high 126 yards. Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer
Fire and fall back: A telling statistic from Toledo's first two possessions with its spread offense: Of quarterback Aaron Opelt's first six passes, four were throwaways. Though there was plenty of the game left to play, defensive end Thaddeus Gibson said the Ohio State defense already was feeling effective. "Definitely. Definitely. Definitely," Gibson said. "Early in the game we were definitely coming off the ball strong, and that was something we wanted to do, something we pressed during practice. And I think that's something we did." Opelt had a game to forget in completing 22 of 45 passes for 197 yards and one interception. Ohio State was credited with 10 quarterback hurries. "You have to give a lot of credit to their defense," Opelt said. "They definitely put a lot of pressure with different looks. They have great concepts. I thought we battled. They are very tough. We definitely have to get back to the drawing board." Source: Columbus Dispatch
The MAC team caveat.: Itís always worth noting that, but for various reasons, MAC teams love to hang with the Buckeyes. If you take out the two curb stompings Kent State suffered, Ohio State is averaging 26-11 wins against the likes of Bowling Green, Miami, Northern Illinois, Akron and Ohio in the past seven years...Today we were treated to a game in which Tressel passed liberally for four quarters even after jumping out to a comfortable halftime lead. Perhaps responding to the avalanche of criticism he received this week, Tresselís offense was as diverse as its been since the heady days of Ď06. We saw quarterback sneaks, play-actions at the goal line, multiple looks to the tight ends and above all, a desire to use the passing game to setup the running game. Source: Eleven Warriors
Buchanan's big day: Punter Jon Thoma became ill this week and did not make the trip. That meant redshirt freshman Ben Buchanan, a Westerville Central graduate, made his debut. But he almost didn't. "I'd been battling some hip fatigue; I was out all week for practice," Buchanan said. "We had some other guys -- we had (backup quarterback) Joe Bauserman taking some punts and stuff. "But I woke up this morning, my hip felt good, and I was able to go." Buchanan's first punt came in the second quarter. It rolled to a stop for 51 yards. He had four punts for a 42.8-yard average, with only one returned (for 3 yards). Source: Columbus Dispatch
SCRIPT OHIO: Ohio State coach Jim Tressel chided Buckeyes fans last week, saying he felt bad about how "miserable" they were after losing to USC. Before Ohio State beat Toledo 38-0 in Cleveland, a sign on a scarlet-and-gray bus parked near Cleveland Browns Stadium listed the six straight top-10 teams that have beaten the Buckeyes since 2006. Next to the list was written, "Miserable OSU fans." Source: Associated Press
Terrelle Pryor hooks up with Dane Sanzenbacher for a 76 touchdown pass in the 1st quarter of Saturday's game against Toledo in Cleveland.
Pryor, who had a career-high 372 total yards, threw 3 TD passes, passed for over 200 yards and rushed for over 100 in the same game for the first time in his career and set career bests in completions and attempts (17 for 28), said "I'm just here to win, whatever I can do."
Ironically, Sanzenbacher, who scored the first two touchdowns of the game on passes from Pryor and had five receptions for 126 yards, is from Toledo. Pryor capped a 12-play, 68-yard drive by threading a quick pass to Sanzenbacher for an 18-yard touchdown, Dane's second TD of the game.
Spencer's View: It's Pryor's time to shine September 20, 2009 Source: Mansfield News Journal - "The chip on his shoulder was as big as Terminal Tower, as cold as the breezes blowing off Lake Erie...The freakishly skilled sophomore didn't look like he was laboring through a crisis of confidence as he bedeviled the outmanned Toledo Rockets. Nor did he sound like it after the Buckeyes' 38-0 whitewash Saturday helped cover some of the stains left after their much critiqued 18-15 loss to Southern Cal..."Criticism doesn't bother me," said Pryor, making light of the secondary burns suffered from standing too close to the fire raging around coach Jim Tressel for not putting a more polished prodigy (meaning Pryor) on the field.
"I know what I'm capable of," Pryor said. "The offensive line knows what it's capable of -- we all know what we're capable of."...
"Sometimes you can get to some players (with criticism), but Coach Tressel does a great job of keeping us grounded and saying our family is inside the (OSU) facility," Pryor said. "I think we all know our capabilities and we know we can play."..."
Online Poll: What grade do you give the Ohio State football team's performance vs. Toledo?: 33% A, 57% B, 9% C and 1% D Source: Columbus Dispatch
The Bottom Line September 20, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "Offense (3 leaves) As impossible as it is to ignore the QB play and the team's final numbers - 522 yards, four long scoring drives -- it's also difficult to overlook a few lingering odors. There were the two picks, of course, and the empty red-zone trip, and the 2.8-yard average by the starting RB. Everyone feel OK?...
Defense (5 leaves) This might be less generous had the D pitched a shutout against some lower-division rum-dum. No, this was a rum-dum that dropped 54 on a Big 12 team last week, and it's a guarantee that OSU forced more panic throws than they it allowed first downs (nine). Game ball to Kurt Coleman, shutout preserver...
Special teams (2 leaves)...Opponent (1 leaf)...
Coaching (3 leaves) On a single drive in the first quarter, OSU ran a QB sneak, the option and gave the ball to Brandon Saine, thereby leaving a legion of angry e-mailers one less thing to complain about. There's still some fodder out there, such as the red-zone play-calling and the false starts. Ah, inferior competition...
Officiating (3 leaves)..."
Some report card grades from OSU-Toledo September 19, 2009 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - "A- -- Terrelle Pryorís quarterback sneaks...B -- Ohio State punter Ben Buchanan: The flu made its way to Ohio State this weekend...Friday afternoon, suffering from a high fever, punter Jon Thoma stayed back in Columbus...Incomplete -- Ohio State receiver Ray Small: Smallís grade is always changing in a career that has constantly seen him move in and out of Jim Tresselís doghouse. Saturday, the Cleveland native was really involved in the offense for the first time this season as the No. 4 receiver, catching two passes for 47 yards...And if heís playing, and contributing, then things must be OK, at least for now. "Itís all the proof you need, man," Small said. "Because if I was such a bad person, I wouldnít be at Ohio State."..."
Rockets Stopped by Ohio State Defense, 38-0 September 20, 2009 Source: Toledo Official Site - "The Toledo Rockets had high hopes that they could repeat their performance against a school from a week ago in their matchup with Ohio State at Cleveland Browns Stadium on Saturday. But they could never find an answer against No. 11 Buckeyes, falling 38-0 before a near-sellout crowd of 71,727..."
Opposite sideline September 20, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "Question mark: Quarterback Aaron Opelt has beaten Michigan and Colorado, but also has been criticized for being unable to follow up such performances on a consistent basis. Yesterday, he looked flustered and confused while chucking the ball out of bounds at the first sign of pressure. He didn't come close to making an important play with his feet after burning Colorado for a 61-yard touchdown run. Ohio State was credited with 10 quarterback hurries...Coach-speak: "Remember, these guys have been in this offense for three weeks and we're still learning it. Ohio State's defense has been in what they do for 10, 11 years. We're building something here and our kids believe in it. We're going to stick with what we believe in." -- first-year Toledo coach Tim Beckman...Telling stat: There was a cornucopia full of dreadful numbers to consider, but the most glaring was the Rockets' total of nine first downs. They wrote off the running game before kickoff and finished with 13 yards on 13 attempts. The short passing game didn't come close as a substitute in moving the chains..."
Ten Pressing Questions: Ohio State vs. Toledo September 18, 2009 Source: Bucknuts.com - "1. How will Terrelle Pryor bounce back from his game against USC?...2. How will Boom Herron and Brandon Saine play against the Rockets?...3. Which OSU receivers will emerge against Toledo?...4. How will the offensive line play without right tackle Jimmy Cordle...5. How will the Buckeyes do against Toledoís high powered spread offense?...6. How will the OSU defensive line play and will the Buckeyes be able to get after Opelt?...7. Who emerges at cornerback between Andre Amos and Devon Torrence?...8. Will the Buckeyes get any better on third down?...9. Will Ohio State gain control of this game early and give its younger players a chance to play?...10. How will the crowd react to this neutral site game?..."
OSU run game hasn't launched September 19, 2009 Source: Associated Press - "But Rockets may be perfect foe for them to bring back staple...This would be enough to make Woody Hayes rip up some sideline markers. Maybe even the guys holding them. Ohio State, long a bastion of power running and ball-control offense, ranks 81st among the 120 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in rushing. The 11th-ranked Buckeyes (1-1) are producing a less-than-robust 120 yards per game on the ground heading into Saturday's contest with in-state challenger Toledo...
Boom Herron on running the ball: "It is a backbone for the offense." Right now, that backbone has a slipped disc. Opponents are outrushing the Buckeyes by more than 30 yards per game. At his current rate, Herron will finish the season with 696 yards, which would be the second-lowest season total by the lead back in Columbus in the last 21 years..."
Ohio State defense adapting yet again September 18, 2009 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - "From Navy's triple option to USC's pro-style, two-back offense and now to Toledo's hurry-up spread, the Buckeyes' defensive game plan has been redone for a third straight week.
"It's been a unique year so far," OSU co-defensive coordinator Luke Fickell said. "It makes for an interesting camp and makes for interesting spring ball. That's what we had to do, but that's what makes college football exciting and great. It's stressful, but it's exciting."...Overall, Ohio State ranks 56th in the nation in total defense and 70th in scoring defense. A fourth-quarter letdown against Navy didn't help those totals. But the overall effort has been pretty good..."
Relentless play marks defensive line September 18, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "...Through 3 quarters, Ohio State limited a prolific USC offense to 82 yards rushing, 227 total yards, and 10 points -- seven coming after a turnover that gave the Trojans the ball on the Buckeyes' 2-yard line. Ohio State sacked quarterback Matt Barkley twice and forced five three-and-outs in USC's 11 possessions. It's impossible to overlook the Trojans' 86-yard drive to win, but given how well the defense played overall, nobody was pointing fingers at the late letdown.
"No one's embarrassed about how our defense played," coach Jim Tressel said. "Shoot, they played relentless." Tight end Jake Ballard said, "Our defense played a great game. You can't pin that loss on the defense. USC is a great team, they're going to have a big drive. That was probably the only drive they had." And it all started with the line, which was matched up against a USC offensive front that supposedly has four or five future NFL draft picks..."
Posey's potential jumps out at you September 19, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "Ohio State's offense has been warned that if Toledo sticks to its defensive game plan under first-year coach Tim Beckman, it's going to launch blitzing Rockets at quarterback Terrelle Pryor. If the Buckeyes adjust properly, that could mean big things today for the passing game, especially sophomore receiver DeVier Posey...Last week in a loss to Southern California, Posey had six catches for 81 yards. It was a breakout performance after he was seldom used as a freshman...
Dane Sanzenbacher said: "He is willing to go up there and get the ball. He's not going to wait for it to come down to him. DeVier adds that extra threat. Not only can he stretch the field, but DeVier also gives you that element of the taller guy who is going to go up and get it." He's capable of that on any play, which could be a decisive factor for the Buckeyes today..."
Cordle out 3, 4 weeks; Shugarts to start September 17, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "Senior right tackle Jim Cordle has an injured ankle and is expected to miss the next 3 or 4 weeks. Sophomore J.B. Shugarts will start against Toledo on Saturday, his first career start. Tressel wasn't sure when the injury occurred. Cordle played the entire game against USC last week, but it sounds as if he may have been sore at some point, possibly even before the game. In any case, he had an MRI yesterday. Tressel was not sure of the exact nature of the injury..."
Other Personnel Updates: While the Buckeyes have used only two tailbacks to date this season, the game against Toledo figures to be an opportunity for coach Tressel and the offensive staff to get a look at some of the younger backs on the roster some live action. Veterans Boom Herron and Brandon Saine will still see the bulk of the work against the Rockets Saturday, but..."Right now it would be Jordan Hall from the young guys standpoint. Jaamal Berryís been nursing a little bit of a hammy, or I donít know what exactly, so Jordan has gotten more reps lately," Tressel said..." (Source: The Ozone)
The order at receiver now: DeVier Posey and Dane Sanzenbacher are the top two, followed by Duron Carter as No. 3, Ray Small is No. 4, Lamaar Thomas is 5 and Taurian Washington 6..." (Source: Columbus Dispatch)
Tressel was given a chance to either apologize or explain his comments from Tuesday about angry e-mailers, in which he said he felt badly that OSU's play had made people who were already miserable even more unhappy. He said, and I'm almost quoting here (haven't played the tape back yet), "My dad used to say that you have a thousand chances to keep your mouth shut, and you should use every one of them." Tressel then said he thought OSU had the best fans in the country, and that nobody was more miserable after the USC game than the coaches and players..." (Source: Columbus Dispatch)
Buckeye fans prepping to paint Browns Town in scarlet and gray: "Cleveland will go from orange and brown this weekend to scarlet and gray...Needless to say, the relatively small Browns Stadium, with its capacity of a little more than 73,200, is sold out. Add in the fans coming just for the festivities, and more than 100,000 people are expected to rush into downtown..." (Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer)
No. 11/11 Ohio State Faces MAC Foe Toledo Saturday September 14, 2009 Source: OSU Official Site - "Toledoís potent offensive attack leads the MAC in scoring offense (42.5 ppg), passing (371 ypg), rushing (187.5 ypg), total offense (558.5 ypg) and first downs (47). Senior QB Aaron Opelt leads the nation in total offense with 437 yards per game. He has completed 56-of-90 passes for 742 yards and seven touchdowns, good for a 152.70 pass efficiency rating. Two of his receivers, Eric Page and Stephen Williams, are both tied for eighth nationally with15 catches through two games. Running back DaJuane Collins leads Toledo and is second in the MAC with 93.5 yards per game on the ground. The Rockets are led by first-year head coach Tim Beckman, who coached Ohio Stateís cornerbacks from 2005-06. He spent the last two seasons as defensive coordinator at Oklahoma State...."
CAPTAIN NAMED: Bryant Browning, a Cleveland native (Cleve Glenville), is the offensive captain this week.
SERIES RECORD: Ohio State and Toledo have only met once previously on the gridiron, a 49-0 Buckeye victory at Ohio Stadium in 1998
DID YOU KNOW: Eight Buckeyes, in addition to Bryant Browning, are from Cleveland: Jermale Hines, Nate Oliver, Rob Rose, Ray Small, Marcus Hall, Jermil Martin and Jonathan Newsome.
DID YOU KNOW II: Ohio State is 8-6-1 over the years in games played in Cleveland
Among those eight native Clevelanders
DID YOU KNOW III: The Buckeyes are making their first appearance in Cleveland since 1991 when they played Northwestern at Cleveland Municipal Stadium
DID YOU KNOW IV: The Buckeyes are 176-48-15 all-time against Ohio schools and 25-1 all-time against members
of the Mid-American Conference.
What to watch in the Big Ten: Week 3: "Buckeyes, Rockets clash in Cleveland -- What looked like a total mismatch before the season has spawned some more intriguing plotlines. Ohio State comes off a crushing loss to USC and needs to spark Terrelle Pryor and the offense against a Toledo team that has allowed 90 points in two games. If the Buckeyes can't score against this team, start to get concerned. Toledo, meanwhile, is riding high after thumping Colorado and boasts a dangerous quarterback in Aaron Opelt. Plus, head coaches Jim Tressel and Tim Beckman grew up together. And the game will be played at Cleveland Browns Stadium. I'm actually excited for this one." Source: ESPN
Ohio State tries to bounce back again September 16, 2009 Source: ESPN - "..."We've got work to do," sophomore wide receiver DeVier Posey said. "I wouldn't say [the offense has] a long way to go. We've got to hit on some cylinders at the right times and we've got to get our rhythm. It's a bunch of new guys playing together. Once we get that experience and get comfortable with each other and trust each other, we'll do well."
Pryor should have opportunities to get on track Saturday. Toledo has allowed 90 points in two games and ranks 110th nationally in total defense (493 ypg). "We're going to fight back and compete," Pryor said. "That's what we're here for. We're not here to try to not lose. We're going to battle and fight get to where we want to be."
Crunching the Numbers: Ohio State vs. Toledo September 16, 2009 Source: BuckeyeSports.com - "We look at how many times Ohio State has played in Cleveland, the Buckeyes' last loss to a Mid-American Conference team, the Rockets' run-pass ratio and more in this week's edition of Crunching the Numbers..."
Fiery Fickell Reflects On USC, Looks Ahead To Toledo September 14, 2009 Source: Bucknuts.com - "...there were some positives that the Buckeyes took out of last Saturday's game and even fiery co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Luke Fickell said so after practice on Wednesday. Fickell is the last person that wants to talk about positives when the team loses, but he tried to look big picture.
"Yeah, there were some good things we did," Fickell said. "After youíre hard on yourself and critical about yourself and you go over the mistakes and things that youíve done Ė whether itís a win or a loss Ė you always got to basically come out and be positive with them (the players). Itís hard, but there were some positives and thatís the one thing about the program is we donít want to dwell on the negatives...
Toledo, fresh off a 54-38 thumping of Colorado on national television, is led by senior quarterback Aaron Opelt who has a strong arm and can also do damage with his legs. "I donít want to say he reminds me of Drew Brees, but he has really looked good," Fickell said. "Great quick release and heís done a great job finding guys...Heís got a great release and he can get the ball off, so pressure has not been a factor for him."
Fickell says the Buckeyes will have five defensive backs on the field a lot against the Rockets. "Weíll play more nickel," he said. "But they had 95 offensive plays in their first game against Purdue, so youíre going to have to play as many guys as you can because this could be a long, long afternoon."..."
Brian Rolle a hard-hitting legacy left behind by Toledo's Beckman September 16, 2009 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - "OSU starting middle linebacker and Florida native Brian Rolle said he wouldn't be at Ohio State if not for the relationship he developed during recruiting with Beckman, who was basically his only connection to the school. "He was like a brother. I felt when he was in my home that I knew this guy," Rolle said. "Coach Beckman was the only guy I saw. He was the guy that really sold me on the school." That's how it works in recruiting...
"I probably would have gone to Oklahoma State if he had left here and gone there sooner," Rolle said. "Then that would have been bad because he would have gone to Toledo."..."
Ohio State vs. Toledo Game TV Information: Buckeyes and Rockets meet at noon Saturday at Cleveland Browns Stadium; game will be shown on ESPN-Plus, ESPN Game Plan and ESPN360...list of ESPN-Plus Outlets for Ohio State vs. Toledo Game
Beckman, Tressel = Family September 14, 2009 Source: FoxToledo.com - "Toledo coach Tim Beckman doesn't just know Ohio State's Jim Tressel... his dad, Dave Beckman, played for Jim's dad, Lee Tressel at Baldwin-Wallace, and Lee Tressel became the father figure for Dave Beckman. And Dave Beckman, actually used to babysit the future Ohio State head coach! "We've been a part of the Tressel family for all my whole life, plus 44 years of my life, so my parents have been involved with the Tressel family for a long time," Tim Beckman said. So they grew up together, and they also both went to Berea High School, where Tressel's a hall of famer and, as of last weekend, so is Beckman's brother..."
Last Time Out... September 15, 2009 Source: BuckeyeSports.com - "Ohio State has faced the University of Toledo only once on the gridiron. The Buckeyes opened the home portion of their 1998 schedule by blasting the Rockets in Ohio Stadium. Look back at the Buckeyes' 49-0 rout of Toledo in this edition of "Last Time Out..."
Game Data: Ohio State vs. Toledo September 15, 2009 Source: Bucknuts - "We look at the depth charts and share a prediction on Saturday's game between Ohio State and Toledo in Cleveland (noon, ESPN-Plus)...When Toledo Has The Ball: Toledo rolled up 624 yards total offense in its win last Friday over Colorado. The Buckeyes will be tested by Toledoís spread offense, which is triggered by senior quarterback Aaron Opelt. Toledo is going to convert some first downs, both running and throwing. RB DaJuane Collins and WRs Eric Page and Stephen Williams are strong talents to go along with the multifaceted Opelt. OSU will need to be patient with Toledoís spread and look for ways to create some turnovers.
2009 Toledo Rockets Game Preview September 17 Source: Buckeye Planet - Analysis and more, including: ...If the two games are any indication, the players have fully bought in to everything the coaching staff has asked of them, and are performing at a significantly higher level in 2009 than in the past 3 lean seasons...The Rockets will doubtlessly be energized by getting their shot at the Buckeyes, and the defense will need to be ready both through the air and on the ground...Toldeo Offensive Preview...Defensive Preview..Special Teams Preview..."
2009 Toledo Rockets Game Preview September 17 Source: CBSSports.com - "...I think right now Aaron is running the offense very well," first-year Toledo coach Tim Beckman said of Opelt, who is the nation's individual leader in total offense (437.0 yards per game). "Aaron had a tremendous preseason and has had a tremendous first three weeks of the regular season. He is a good, good football player. He's bought into the system and is a good leader." The Rockets are 5-6 in their last 11 games against the Big Ten, and Opelt was 33 for 50 for 257 yards on Oct. 11 in Ann Arbor as Toledo topped Michigan 13-10..."
A Closer Look: Toledo Rockets September 17, 2009 Source: Buckeye Sports - "No. 11 Ohio State will try to get back on the winning track in an unfamiliar venue this weekend. For the first time ever, the Buckeyes will play in Cleveland Browns Stadium, facing the "home" Toledo Rockets. Toledo enters at 1-1 and flying high under new head coach Tim Beckman after a home drubbing of Colorado...The Aaron Opelt-Stephen Williams connection is among one of the most prolific in Toledo history. Opelt is fourth in career pass attempts and completions (527 for 903), fifth in passing yardage (5,549) and sixth in touchdown passes (37). Meanwhile, Williams is third in career reception yardage (2,222), fourth in touchdown passes (18) and seventh in catches (165)..."
Ohio State vs. USC Preview September 17, 2009 Source: The Ozone - "Tony Gerdeman's preview of the Toledo game ...Toledoís spread offense isnít one that just relies on quick passes and screens, though they are still a large part of the offense. The Rockets will go down field plenty, and they have some very good receivers to work with...Itís pretty clear that the Buckeyes are going to be in their nickel defense for most of this game. Whether that means starting strong safety Jermale Hines moves back to his old spot at the Star (nickel) position or not remains to be seen. It wouldnít be a surprise to see Hines and backup safety Anderson Russell sharing the duties. Last week against USC, cornerbacks Chimdi Chekwa and Devon Torrence both had terrific games..."
Preview: #11 Ohio State vs. Toledo September 18, 2009 Source: Eleven Warriors - "...the Buckeyes have to rebound from their newest big game blunder to face a quarterback who is the nationís leader in total offense and try to stop a hot Toledo Rockets team coming off a big upset victory against Colorado last week...The Rockets have given up 90 points in two games, but their blitzing strategy has lead to mistakes by their opponents. Their defense ranks second in the country with 6 interceptions and they have sacked opposing quarterbacks four times for a loss of 30 yards..."
Toledo (1-1) at Ohio State (1-1) in Cleveland September 18, 2008 Source: College Football News - "Why Toledo might win: Itís very possible Ohio State just doesnít have it. Pryor has all the makings of a future superstar, but heís still developing passing game and heís been wildly inefficient. Toledo has been throwing so well in the Tim Beckman offense that Ohio State could be sleepy early and be down 14-0...Who to watch: Not only is DaJuane Collins running well for Toledo, but the teamís leading rusher from last year, Morgan Williams, is back after a two-game suspension. His return should take a little head off of Aaron Opelt...What will happen: Toledo will struggle early, but itíll come up with a good run of points that will force Ohio State to try far longer than it will want to. Eventually, the Buckeyes will be the Buckeyes and theyíll open it up late, but there will be some tense moments. CFN Prediction: Ohio State 40 Ö Toledo 26..."
Gameday+ September 19, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "BuckeyeXtra.com delivers all you need to know about the Buckeyesí upcoming game. Click here for everything from the top story and key factors to player spotlights and game predictions....more"
Aaron Opelt Likes the Spread Very Much, Thank You September 17, 2009 Source: Eleven Warriors - "What better way for the Buckeyes to get the bad taste out of their mouths than to get up for a matchup with the nationís leader in total offense. Yes, that would be Toledo senior quarterback Aaron Opelt and his 437 yards of offense per game. It didnít always come easy for Opelt. Though the Fremont Ross product became the first freshman to start for the Rockets at quarterback in 23 years, the offense sputtered under coach "Toledo Tom" Amstutz. Opelt would have breakout games here and there, but could never put it together for a run..."
Rockets Ready for Buckeyes in One of Biggest Games in School History September 17, 2009 Source: Toledo Official site - "...Responding to a multitude of well-wishers is always a good problem to have, and one Opelt has had to get used to with the Rockets' offense off to such a hot start. In its first two games, UT has produced 1,117 total yards and 85 points."It feels great," Opelt said. "As a team we've come out and done what we've been asked to do. I think that's the best way to put it. We need to enjoy this, we need to enjoy the way we've been playing, but at the same time, we have to stay focused and keep getting better every week." Even though he's quick to deflect credit away from himself, Opelt has been at the forefront of the Rockets' offensive success...."
Opelt getting his chance to shine for UT Rockets September 16, 2009 Source: Toledo Blade - "...Responding to a multitude of well-wishers is always a good problem to have, and one Opelt has had to get used to with the Rockets' offense off to such a hot start. In its first two games, UT has produced 1,117 total yards and 85 points."It feels great," Opelt said. "As a team we've come out and done what we've been asked to do. I think that's the best way to put it. We need to enjoy this, we need to enjoy the way we've been playing, but at the same time, we have to stay focused and keep getting better every week." Even though he's quick to deflect credit away from himself, Opelt has been at the forefront of the Rockets' offensive success...."
Explosive University of Toledo gets more help September 15, 2009 Source: Toledo Blade - "Barring any setbacks, the University of Toledo will have two more weapons ó and Williamses ó at its disposal this weekend in its intrastate battle with Ohio State at Cleveland Browns Stadium. After playing sparingly Friday against Colorado, senior wide receiver Stephen Williams said yesterday he is "90 percent" recovered from a right shoulder injury suffered two weeks ago against Purdue. Sophomore running back Morgan Williams, of no relation, who rushed for 1,010 yards last season, will be back as well after being suspended for the season's first two games due to an unspecified violation of team rules..."
2009: Opelt is ranked No. 1 in the nation in total offense at 437.0 yards per game.
For the season passing, he is 56-90-2, 62.2%, 742yds, 7TDs and 371 yds per game. Opelt is fourth in career pass attempts and completions (527 for 903), fifth in passing yardage (5,549) and sixth in touchdown passes (37). 2008: Threw for at least 200 yards five times...Completed career-best 33 passes in 50 attempts for 257 yards in 13-10 win over Michigan..."
2009: Williams is third in career reception yardage (2,222), fourth in touchdown passes (18) and seventh in catches (165). This is season, although only second on the team to Eric Page, Williams has 15 receptions for 185yds and 95 yds per game. 2008: Earned second-team All-MAC honors for the second consecutive season...Sixth in the MAC with 69 receptions...69 receptions ranks eighth in UT history...Caught six passes for 94 yards and one TD vs. WMU...Caught season-high 12 passes vs. Arizona, the second-best total of his career...
2009: Page is a true freshman from Toledo, OH. He has made an immediate impact and is seventh in the nation in receiving yards per game with 133.0 per contest, having caught 128 yards vs. Purdue and 138 against Colorado. High School: Named Northwest Ohioís "Player of the Year" by the Toledo Blade, racking up 2,381 yards on 256 rushes and 1,102 yards passing on 71-of-133 attempts...Ran for 34 TDs, passed for 11 more and kicked 47 extra points...Was the Ohio Division II "Co-Offensive Player of the Year," league MVP and a first-team all-state selection