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NCF Nation: Thad Gibson

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Ohio State survived the dreaded second quarter without major damage, but the Buckeyes should be ahead by more than three points.

Jim Tressel's team has executed its game plan against a favored Texas squad boasting the nation's fourth-highest scoring offense (43.9 points per game). Ohio State has dominated possession time (17:19 vs. 12:14), established a run game with Chris "Beanie" Wells (96 rushing yards) and Terrelle Pryor (42 rushing yards) and put consistent pressure on Colt McCoy.

But will it be enough?

Despite a heroic performance by the defense, Ohio State managed only two field goals. Five penalties and lack of execution -- dropped passes, Pryor running out of bounds too soon -- have prevented the Buckeyes from reaching the end zone. An offense that at times relied solely on big plays can't seem to hit the home run against Texas. Ohio State has run 22 plays in Longhorns territory and scored only six points. Not good enough.

But Pryor has been able to find room around the edges, and Ohio State should emphasize outside runs in the second half.

Texas simply needs to run the ball. The Longhorns finished the first half with minus-9 rushing yards and only 10 net yards by running backs Chris Ogbonnaya and Cody Johnson. McCoy has been efficient (20 of 27 passing) but threw an interception near the goal line with three seconds left, preventing a game-tying field-goal attempt.

Both defensive lines are getting pressure, but Ohio State's front has been more impressive. Thad Gibson and Doug Worthington both have sacks, and McCoy is constantly under duress. But Quad Cosby and the Texas wideouts are making plays, and it's only a matter of time before the Longhorns find the end zone.

On the health front, Ohio State lost special teams standout Shaun Lane to an apparent shoulder injury on kickoff coverage with 5:34 left. There's no update on Lane yet, but it's safe to say he won't be back tonight after being carted off.

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