COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Now, Ohio State can start concentrating on
Ted Ginn Jr. caught a 42-yard touchdown pass and Donte Whitner
returned an interception 26 yards for a score as Ohio State
dispatched Miami of Ohio 34-14 Saturday, a week before the
Buckeyes' much-anticipated showdown with the Longhorns.
Even their conservative, single-minded coach admitted to letting
his mind drift ahead to next Saturday.
"Probably in the middle of the fourth quarter -- I'm not going
to lie," coach Jim Tressel said. "You know, we're anxious to be a
part of a matchup like that. Shoot, we can't wait. I'm sure they're
The Texas-Ohio State game has been the dominate topic among
Buckeyes fans for weeks. Tickets for the game in Columbus have been
going for upwards of $1,500 a pair.
Ohio State's players, however, said they were not looking past
Miami -- and the way they played proved it.
"I knew coach Tressel would have his team ready today," said
Miami's Shane Montgomery, who was making his debut as a college
head coach. "It didn't seem like they were overlooking us at all.
It didn't seem like they were holding anything back."
Justin Zwick completed 17-of-23 passes for 155 yards and a
touchdown, tailback Antonio Pittman gained 100 yards on 14 carries
and Ginn had five catches for 75 yards.
The Buckeyes defense -- led by linebackers A.J. Hawk, Anthony
Schlegel and Bobby Carpenter -- didn't let the RedHawks inside the
Ohio State 34 until Miami scored two late touchdowns against
Ohio State harassed Miami quarterback Josh Betts all day,
sacking him five times. The RedHawks netted just 48 yards on 30
"They did a great job of getting pressure," Betts said. "They
brought things this game that they didn't do all of last year."
Whitner's TD came seconds after he made a major mistake. On a
Miami punt from deep in the end zone with Ohio State ahead 13-0,
Whitner knocked down punter Jacob Richardson to give the RedHawks a
first down. On the next play, Whitner jumped inside receiver Josh
Williams and picked off Betts' throw to go untouched for the
"There are many times in a game there's a moment where you can
break the spirit a little bit," Tressel said. "It was only a 13-0
game. They had hope because of the score. Then all of a sudden when
the score was 20-0, there's a little bit different emotion."
Ginn streaked to four punt-return touchdowns a year ago to set
Ohio State and Big Ten records. He was bottled early by Miami as
Ohio State spread its passes around to Santonio Holmes, Anthony
Gonzalez and Roy Hall -- each of whom had five receptions. But Ginn
finally broke a big play late in the third quarter on a pass from
Todd Boeckman. His touchdown made it 34-0.
"We have so many great receivers out there," Zwick said. "It
makes the passing game always a threat, and today was a good
The Buckeyes scored on their only two possessions of the first
quarter, taking the opening kickoff and driving 74 yards in 12
plays for a quick lead on Zwick's 20-yard scoring pass to Holmes.
Josh Huston later added a 20-yard field goal.
Zwick got the start because Troy Smith was serving the second
game of a two-game suspension for accepting $500 from a team
booster. Smith led the Buckeyes to wins in four of their last five
regular-season games in 2004 after Zwick and Ohio State's offense
had sputtered during an 0-3 start in the Big Ten play.
"Justin was very efficient, even though he had the one play
that we all wish he had back," Tressel said of the interception
Zwick threw. "Outside of that play I thought he was very
Smith will be available for next week's game with No. 2 Texas,
though it's not known if he or Zwick will get the start.
Tressel wouldn't tip his hand.
"I want you guys to have a mysterious weekend," he told
As for Texas' star quarterback, Vince Young, the Buckeyes issued
an early shot across the bow.
"Our goal is when Vince Young leaves here he won't be a
candidate for the Heisman," linebacker Bobby Carpenter said.
Jimmy Calhoun had a 3-yard TD run for Miami and Betts threw a
35-yard touchdown pass to Ryne Robinson against second- and
third-teamers for Ohio State. Betts finished 24-of-44 for 250 yards
with an interception.
The Countdown to Texas can officially begin in Columbus.
"Honestly, my thoughts have been on Texas for a long, long
time," offensive lineman Rob Sims said. "I'm glad to finally get
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... The first quarter ended. By that point, the Buckeyes had built a 17-0 lead and were already thinking about next weekend's showdown with Texas.
Gameball goes to... The coaching staff. The Buckeyes could have been caught looking ahead, but that never happened.
Stat of the game... 48: The total rushing yards amassed by the RedHawks on 30 carries.