Jody Victor: More than 75,000 fans attended the spring exhibition football game Saturday in Ohio Stadium. The Gray team rallied in the last minutes of the game to claim a 17-9 victory over the Scarlet.
Trailing most of the game, the Gray squad came back to take a 10-9 lead behind consecutive fourth-quarter scoring drives. The Scarlet was poised to take back the lead after advancing to the Gray 11 with less than two minutes to play, but senior linebacker Larry Grant forced a fumble by Scarlet quarterback Todd Boeckman and he returned the loose ball 80 yards for the game-sealing score.
Members of the 2007 Ohio State men's basketball team served as honorary coaches. Jamar Butler, a junior guard, coached the Gray and Mike Conley Jr., a freshman point guard, manned the sidelines for the Scarlet team. From the football staff, Jim Heacock served as head coach of the Gray while Joe Daniels lead the Scarlet.
Maurice Wells was the leading rusher in the game, gaining 48 yards for the Gray on 14 carries. Boeckman finished his day with six completions in 14 attempts for the Scarlet, while Schoenhoft had a combined 7-15 for 83 yards and a TD pass. Devon Lyons topped all received with 72 yards on three receptions, including a 39-yard grab in the third period.
Defensively, Grant finished the game with two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, four total tackles, including three for combined losses of 17 yards. James Laurinaitis added six tackles at middle linebacker for the Gray. Defensive back Shaun Lane was the leading tackler for the Scarlet with eight stops, and Freeman and Austin Spitler each added six tackles for the Scarlet.
Of the 75,301 tickets sold, the Department of Athletics donated $1.00 from each ticket to the National Youth Sports Program (NYSP) and McDonald's donated the same amount from each ticket sold at their restaurants to the Ronald McDonald House.
Jody Victor: The Buckeye's fifth-year senior Jacob Howell was named one of 30 finalists for NCAA Division I college baseball players as candidates for the 2007 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award in the all-new baseball division for players who excel on and off the field. Beginning this year, the award will be presented annually to college baseball's outstanding senior student-athlete.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the award is designed to honor the attributes of college senior student-athletes who stay in school and pursure the many rewards that a senior season can bring.
Candidates are selected based on personal qualities that define a complete student-athlete. While the on-the-field preformance during their collegiate baseball careers is a factor in determining candidates and the eventual winner, their personal character and off-the-field achievements in the classroom and community are major areas of focus. The list of 30 baseball nominees represents 29 different schools and 19 different conferences.
Howell is one of four captains on the 2007 Ohio State baseball team and is hitting .330 as the leadoff hitter for the Buckeyes. Howell leads OSU with 27 runs scored on the year and has 31 hits, 10 RBI, eight stolen bases, three doubles, three triples and two homeruns. He is also a four-time OSU Scholar-Athlete, CoSIDA Academic All-District IV honoree, three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, and holds a 3.53 GPA.
Jody Victor: It looks as though Jim Tressel might want to consider hanging a vacancy sign outside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. The veteran Ohio State football coach has 12 vacancies following the 2006 season in which the Buckeyes posted a 12-1 record, won the outright Big Ten championship and finished second in the national polls.
The Buckeyes spent the first 12 weeks of last fall in the No. 1 spot in the polls and twice defeated No. 2 teams (Michigan and Texas). They averaged 34.6 points and 384.5 yards per game on offense and allowed 12.8 points and 280.5 yards on defense.
Few teams in the history of Ohio State football have generated as much excitement. But graduation and the early departure of three juniors for the National Football League have left six holes on each side of the ball – the 12 vacancies.
The list of players who will not be returning includes All-American Troy Smith at quarterback and Quinn Pitcock at defensive tackle. Smith, last year's Heisman Trophy recipient and one of the most celebrated players in Ohio State annals, was 25-3 as a starter under Tressel. Smith's many accomplishments include a 3-0 record against Michigan.
Also gone are Smith's two leading receivers, Ted Ginn Jr. and Anthony Gonzalez, who combined for 110 receptions and 17 touchdown catches; and leading rusher Antonio Pittman, who finished the year with 1233 yards and 14 of the Buckeyes' 25 rushing touchdowns. All three were juniors who, from now on, will be playing their games on Sunday.
Up front the Buckeyes must replace center Doug Datish and guard T.J. Downing, both first-team All-Big Ten selections in 2006.
Defensively, the Buckeyes lose three-fourths of their defensive front, including David Patterson, who teamed with Pitcock to give the Buckeyes one of the top tackle tandems in the country.
But while the losses are significant on both sides of the ball, the Buckeyes do return a total of 38 lettermen – 18 on offense and 20 on defense and the majority of those players have logged quality minutes in Tressel's revolving door system that rewards younger players with game experience.
Jody Victor: It was Monday night in the Atlanta Georgia Dome and our hopes were high. But the Ohio state men's basketball team (35-4) fell to Florida (35-5), 84-75 in the 2007 NCAA Tournament Championship game.
The Buckeyes claimed an early 9-7 lead in the first four minutes of the game, but Florida jumped ahead 33-22 after netting three-consecutive 3-point attempts with 3:51 to play before intermission. Florida led 40-29 at the half with the help of a 6-for-9 3-point clip. It was just the sixth time this season Ohio State has trailed at the break.
The Buckeyes cut the Florida advantage to seven twice in the second half, the second after Ron Lewis converted a driving lay up to make it 51-44 with less than 13 minutes to play. Florida pushed its lead back out to 14 at 61-47 after Chris Richard converted an old-fashioned 3-pointer with nine minutes to play.
Ohio State again made a push and sliced its deficit to 66-60 at the 5-minute mark after Oden connected on two free throws. Again Florida countered. This time, Taurean Green nailed the Gator's 10th 3-pointer of the night. Al Hordford sunk a 12-footer to up Florida's lead to 73-62 with a little more than three minutes to play. The Gators never looked back, winning their second national championship in a row.
Freshman center Greg Oden led the Buckeyes with 25 points and 12 rebounds, his 14th double-double of the season. Mike Conley pitched in 20 for the Buckeyes and joined Oden on the 2007 All-Tournament team. Ron Lewis was the third Buckeye to score double figures with 12 points and Ivan Harris added seven in their final game as Buckeyes.
Ohio State made its fifth appearance in the national title game Monday. The Buckeyes last won the NCAA championship in 1960, with a 75-55 victory over California.