12:00 PM ET, September 3, 2005
Ohio Stadium, COLUMBUS, OH
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Now, Ohio State can start concentrating on Texas.
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 same."
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 substitutes.
Ohio State harassed Miami quarterback Josh Betts all day, sacking him five times. The RedHawks netted just 48 yards on 30 rushes.
"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 touchdown.
"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 example."
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 efficient."
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 reporters.
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 to it."
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.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||8-17||5-10|
|4th Down Conversions||0-1||1-1|
|TD||9:24||SANTONIO HOLMES 20 YD PASS FROM JUSTIN ZWICK (JOSH HUSTON KICK)|
Drive info: 12 plays, 74 yards.
|FG||1:09||JOSH HUSTON 20 YD FG|
Drive info: 9 plays, 63 yards.
|FG||2:39||JOSH HUSTON 27 YD FG|
Drive info: 15 plays, 70 yards.
|TD||1:21||DONTE WHITNER 26 YD INTERCEPTION RETURN (JOSH HUSTON KICK)||0||20|
|TD||7:09||BRANDON SCHNITTKER 1 YD RUN (JOSH HUSTON KICK)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||2:08||TED GINN JR. 42 YD PASS FROM TODD BOECKMAN (JOSH HUSTON KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 58 yards.
|TD||2:29||JIMMY CALHOUN 2 YD RUN (TODD SODERQUIST KICK)|
Drive info: 15 plays, 73 yards.
|TD||1:11||RYNE ROBINSON 35 YD PASS FROM JOSH BETTS (TODD SODERQUIST KICK)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 46 yards.