Sunday, October 12, 2003
Buckeyes run out of answers, luck
MADISON, Wis. -- Throughout a 19-game winning streak, Ohio
State always found ways to win games like this.
But it was the Wisconsin Badgers who had all the answers
Saturday night as they fended off a fourth-quarter rally for a
17-10 victory over the defending national champions.
They did it behind backups Booker Stanley, who rushed for a
career-best 125 yards against the nation's top run defense, and
Matt Schabert, who threw a 79-yard touchdown pass to Lee Evans with
five minutes left after replacing an injured Jim Sorgi.
"If you went into the season and asked me if we'd beat Ohio
State without Jim Sorgi in the fourth quarter of a tight ballgame
and without Anthony Davis, I wouldn't have put too much money on
it," Badgers offensive coordinator Brian White admitted.
The Buckeyes (5-1, 1-1 Big Ten) were due for a change in
fortune, however. They had won just three of their last 12 games by
more than seven points and they weren't tested on the ground in
their first five games, all at home.
"One thing that concerned me going into it was I didn't think
we had given our guys as much of a look at the run as perhaps they
needed," Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel said. "We played five games
where there was very little run."
Stanley became the first player to top 100 yards against the
Buckeyes since Davis gained 144 yards in a 19-14 loss to Ohio State
last season. Stanley and Davis are the only players to rush for
more than 100 yards against the Buckeyes in Ohio State's last 23
The Buckeyes slipped five spots to No. 8 in poll Sunday, and the
Badgers jumped nine spots to No. 14.
The Buckeyes, who hadn't lost on the road since Penn State beat
them 29-27 on Oct. 27, 2001, saw plenty of handoffs in a steady
rain from the Badgers (6-1, 3-0), who took control of the Big Ten
And after linebacker Robert Reynolds -- who had a career-best 12
tackles -- jabbed Sorgi in the throat, sending him to the sideline
late in the third quarter, Ohio State put eight and nine defenders
in the box to stop the run.
It worked until Schabert hit Evans with the 79-yarder -- the only
catch of the night for Evans, the Big Ten's leading receiver who
was blanketed all night by cornerback Chris Gamble.
Evans ran an out and up, and Gamble, who was in man-to-man
coverage, bit on the out, jumped the rout and couldn't chase down
Gamble wasn't made available to reporters after the game.
Neither was Reynolds, who could face disciplinary action from
the league for what he did to Sorgi, who couldn't talk and had
difficulty swallowing and breathing after getting jabbed in the
throat at the end of a third-down keeper.
Reynolds issued a statement Sunday night through Ohio State,
saying that he had apologized to Sorgi and Wisconsin coach Barry
"I lost my poise and there is no excuse for that," Reynolds
The school had no update on Sorgi's injury Sunday.
League spokesman Scott Chipman said the Big Ten would have no
comment Sunday but added that the play is up for review Monday for
possible punishment, including a suspension.
Reynolds wasn't flagged on the play, which turned the tide of
After Sorgi was taken to the sideline, Mike Allen's 38-yard
field goal gave Wisconsin a 10-3 lead with 5:09 left in the third
Craig Krenzel led the Buckeyes on a seven-play, 75-yard
touchdown drive to tie it at 10 with 6:09 left.
After Stanley gained 1 yard on first down -- giving him minus-2
yards on his previous six carries, Schabert hit Evans with the
The Badgers forced a punt with 3:27 left and ran out the clock
behind key plays by Schabert and Stanley.
Yet, for a while it appeared a though the Buckeyes were going to
pull out the victory thanks to what Reynolds did to Sorgi because
the Badgers' offense sputtered without the threat of the pass.
Badgers coaches and players fumed as Sorgi lay on the field
getting medical attention and the officials said they didn't see
anything to merit a flag.
"That's one of the lowest things I've ever seen in a football
game," Evans said.
Center Donovan Raiola came to Sorgi's rescue in the pile,
shoving Reynolds off his prone quarterback.
"After that, I lost all respect for any of them, the whole
bench, the coaches, whoever was on that sideline, whoever was in
that game," Raiola said.
Tressel said Sunday night that he apologized to Alvarez on
behalf of Ohio State and Reynolds.
"Having known Rob for three years, I believe this is an
isolated incident and out of character for him," Tressel said.
"He has apologized to me and is willing to accept the consequences
of his behavior."