Jody Victor: The Ohio State Buckeyes kicked off their 118th season of football with a 38-6 victory over Youngstown State Saturday afternoon before 105,038 sun-drenched fans in Ohio Stadium. The win was Ohio State's 29th-consecutive to open a season.
“I thought we came out and played against a good football team,” Jim Tressel, Ohio State head coach, said. “I thought we did some good things. The most important thing is now we'll have an opportunity to study real game football. Our guys will have a chance to learn a great deal and to have an opportunity to get better.”
Quarerback Todd Boeckman, a junior making his first start, looked comfortable in the pocket all day as he led the offense to 417 total yards. Boeckman found seven different receivers as he completed 17-of-23 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns. His favorite target was Brian Robiskie, who had a terrific day with nine receptions for 153 yards.
“I thought Todd did a lot of good things today,” Tressel said. “I don't know if you'd call it a winning performance because that's pretty hard to get as an Ohio State quarterback. He did have excellent command. He had a good completion percentage. There are some things we'll need to work on, but his performance was solid.”
Boeckman, Robby Schoenhoft and Antonio Henton all played at quarterback for Ohio State. The trio combined for 31 pass attempts. Henton connected with freshman Taurian Washington on a 37-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter for Ohio State's final points.
“We went into the game wanting to work on the pass,” Tressel said. “We have new quarterbacks. We can't ask them to pass only when we're ahead or only when we're behind. We went in knowing we were going to throw a lot and not just on significant downs.”
The Buckeyes gained 147 rushing yards but did not have their way against the Penguins, the two-time defending Gateway Football Conference champions who were formidable for 15 years while under Tressel's leadership. Still, there were some highlight runs for the Buckeyes: Maurice Wells had a 26-yarder; Beanie Wells ripped off a 20-yarder that included two 360-degree spins; and Brandon Saine had an 18-yard burst between the tackles on his first collegiate carry.
Ohio State's defense looked solid in keeping the Penguins out of the end zone all afternoon. James Laurinaitis, Anderson Russell and Adam Spitler led the defenders with seven tackles apiece. Although void of any turnovers, the defense allowed only 176 total yards including just 85 rushing yards.
Another season of Buckeye football, another season-opening win and Ohio State is now 115-10-4 in September home games. Up next : Akron Sept. 8 in Ohio Stadium.