8:00 PM ET, September 9, 2006
Royal Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, TX
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Before the Longhorn band played a somber "Eyes of Texas," Ohio State offensive lineman Kirk Barton ran to the sliver of the stadium filled with Buckeyes fans and flashed the Hook 'em Horns sign with both hands aimed down.
The message was clear: Ohio State showed the defending national champions who's No. 1.
|Texas ('06)||Win||17-26, 269 yds, 2 TD||6 rush, -6 yds|
|Notre Dame ('05)||Win||19-28, 342 yds, 2 TD||13 rush, 82 yds|
|Michigan ('05)||Win||27-37, 300 yds, 1 TD||11 rush, 37 yds, 1 TD|
|Penn State ('05)||Loss||13-25, 139 yds||19 rush, 15 yds, 1 TD|
|Michigan ('04)||Win||13-23, 241 yds, 2 TD||18 rush, 145 yds, 1 TD||* Smith is 7-1 as a starter vs. ranked teams|
In the first regular-season matchup of No. 1 vs. No. 2 in a decade, quarterback Troy Smith riddled Texas for 269 yards passing and two touchdowns, leading the Buckeyes to a 24-7 win Saturday night.
The victory keeps the Buckeyes (2-0) in perfect position for a run to a national title. Keep winning and they should stay right where they are.
After the game, Buckeyes players charged toward their section of 4,000 or so fans tucked in a sea of burnt orange, alternately signing Horns Down and No. 1.
"We haven't claimed anything yet," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said. "We still have to go back to the Horseshoe and keep winning games.
Still, the Buckeyes were having a heck of a party on the way into their locker room. And for good reason.
And that's not all
• Texas' 21-game winning streak, the longest in the nation, came to an end.
• Texas' 9-game winning streak against ranked opponents also ended.
• Gene Chizik, Texas' assistant coach/co-defensive coordinator, saw his personal 29-game winning streak snapped. Chizik won 15 straight games (spanning the final two games of 2003 and the entire 2004 season) while serving as the defensive coordinator at Auburn, and then won his first 14 at Texas (13 in 2005 and 1 in 2006).
• For the first time in history, No. 1 held No. 2 to single-digit points in a true road game. (A true road game is one that is played at the opponent's usual home stadium).
• For the first time since 1989, the No. 1 team emerged victorious in a No. 1 vs. No. 2 regular-season matchup. Since No. 1 Notre Dame defeated No. 2 Michigan on Sept. 16, 1989, three straight No. 2s have triumphed (No. 2 Florida State beat No. 1 Florida in 1996; No. 2 Notre Dame beat No. 1 Florida State in 1993; and No. 2 Miami beat No. 1 Florida State in 1991).
• In scoring just seven points, Texas' 12-game streak of scoring 40-or-more points came to and end. Over that span, the Horns averaged just a shade under 52 points per contest. Before Saturday, the last time Texas scored less than 40 points: a 25-22 win over Ohio State on Sept. 10, 2005. (To see the list of Texas' 40+-point games, click here).
"We came in here and beat the No. 2 team in the country and the defending national champion in front of their home crowd," Buckeye defensive end Vernon Gholston said. "We showed everybody what we can do."
The Buckeyes' defense, which replaced nine starters this season, looked championship caliber, holding a Texas team that had scored at least 40 points in 12 consecutive games to a single touchdown.
"Anytime you hold a team like Texas to 7 points in their own stadium is incredible," Tressel said.
As for No. 2 Texas (1-1), which saw its 21-game winning streak snapped, the Longhorns will need some help if they hope to go back to the national title game.
"We've been winning so much, I forgot how it feels to lose," said Texas wide receiver Limas Sweed, who caught the winning touchdown pass against the Buckeyes last season.
The Longhorns' new starting QB Colt McCoy was no Vince Young in the rematch of last season's 25-22 Texas win in Columbus. He threw for 154 yards with an interception and a touchdown.
The Longhorns used their win in Columbus last season as the springboard to their first undisputed national title since 1969. But that win and that season came with Young at quarterback.
Smith split time at quarterback in last year's game, his first of the year after a suspension.
He was everything Texas feared this time: a leader and a playmaker.
He threw first half touchdown passes of 14 yards to Anthony Gonzalez and a 29-yard to best friend and high school teammate Ted Ginn Jr.
"It's a sign of how Troy has matured," Gonzalez said. "It's what we've come to expect of him and what he's come to expect of himself."
The second was a perfect strike just before halftime that sucked the life out of the home crowd.
"I try not to think about last year because I didn't want to come in with a chip on my shoulder or a revenge factor," Smith said.
Gonzalez had eight catches for 142 yards, both career highs, against a defense concentrating on Ginn, who finished with five catches for 97 yards.
"We didn't make the plays we needed to make," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "We had our chances there, even in the fourth quarter. Everyone tried, everyone played hard. Give Ohio State credit."
McCoy, the redshirt freshman from West Texas, showed he can take a hit, but he couldn't pull off the type of comeback that Young made legendary at Texas.
"I thought we were one play away," McCoy said. "We felt like we were on the edge. There ain't no excuses."
Saturday night's game was an unusual early-season blockbuster with two of college football's heavyweights both on the field and in tradition.
The last time 1-2 met in the regular season, No. 2 Florida State beat No. 1 Florida, but the Gators won the rematch in the Sugar Bowl to win the national championship. Ohio State was the first No. 1 to come to Austin since SMU in 1950.
The Longhorns unveiled a nifty option with McCoy and Jamaal Charles and were picking up big chunks of yardage on the ground. Texas drove to the Ohio State 7 before receiver Billy Pittman fumbled at the 2.
Donald Washington returned the ball to midfield and might have gone all the way if McCoy didn't track him down on the sideline to save the TD.
Smith made quick work from there, hitting Gonzalez three times on the short drive. The last was a 14-yard touchdown after the receiver escaped cornerback Brandon Foster, one of the players Texas used to replace the suspended starter Tarell Brown.
"That was the biggest momentum shifter in the game for our defense," Ohio State defensive end David Patterson said.
McCoy led the Longhorns to their only TD with a 13-play drive, twice taking vicious hits from Buckeyes pass rushers, including a shot to the head from defensive end Jay Richardson that drew a flag. The quarterback popped up and waved his arms to pump up the crowd, then fired a 7-yard TD pass to Pittman.
The Buckeyes immediately answered.
Smith hit Gonzalez with a long gain, then floated a perfect 29-yard TD pass to Ginn, who slipped behind Aaron Ross and didn't have to break stride as the ball dropped in over his shoulder in the end zone to make it 14-7 at halftime.
Ginn, who had only two catches against the Longhorns last season, completely swung momentum back to Ohio State with the TD.
McCoy made a rookie mistake when he was intercepted by James Laurinaitis, one of the Buckeyes' news starting linebackers replacing A.J. Hawk and Co., on Texas' first possession of the third.
The turnover led to Aaron Pettrey's 31-yard field goal to make it 17-7.
It stayed that way until late in the fourth when Smith drove the Buckeyes 72 yards in 10 plays for Antonio Pittman's 2-yard touchdown run that sealed No. 1 for Ohio State.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Antonio Pittman scored on a 2-yard run to give Ohio State a 24-7 lead late in the fourth quarter.
Gameball goes to... Troy Smith. The Ohio State QB threw for 269 yards and 2 TDs and was a very efficient 17 of 27 passing.
Stat of the game... 10/9/04: The last time Texas didn't score at least 20 points -- a span of 21 games.