No. 6 Ohio State vs. Illinois Game Notes

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#6 Ohio State (9-0, 5-0) vs. Illinois (2-6, 0-4)
Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012 – 3:30 p.m.
Ohio Stadium (102,329)
Columbus, Ohio

Television: ESPN will televise the game with Beth Mowins and former Buckeye Joey Galloway in the booth and Lewis Johnson on the sidelines.
Radio: WBNS (FM 97.1 The Fan) is the fl agship station for the 73-station Ohio State radio network. The Urban Meyer pregame show airs 30 minutes prior to kickoff. Paul Keels will call the play-by-play with former Buckeye Jim Lachey in the booth and Marty Bannister on the sidelines. The game can also be heard live on Sirius channel 113 and XM channel 197.


The Buckeyes are ranked No. 6 this week by the Associated Press, their highest ranking since the final poll of the 2010 season (No. 5).

The Buckeyes are one of only six unbeaten FBS teams and the only team 9-0 (5-0 Big Ten).

Illinois comes to Ohio Stadium 2-6 overall and 0-4 in the Big Ten, and they have won seven of the last 11 games in Ohio Stadium.

Illinois head coach Tim Beckman is one of 10 former assistants of Urban Meyer who have become a head coach. He is the second who will coach against Meyer as a head coach (Dan Mullin; Mississippi State).

Braxton Miller (1,093 rushing yards) is the first Ohio State QB and just the third different Big Ten QB to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. Miller needs one more rushing TD to tie the Ohio State record for rushing TDs by a QB in a single season.

Miller ranks 11th nationally and leads all Big Ten players in rushing yards (121.4 ypg) and also leads the Big Ten in total offense (291.1 ypg).

As a team Ohio State ranks first in the Big Ten in scoring (39.2), rushing yards (262.8) and rushing defense (107.0 ypg) in Big Ten games.

Bradley Roby leads the Big Ten with 18 passes defended (16 PBUs, 2 INTs) in eight games.
The Buckeyes are one of the few teams in the country who haven’t had an off week this season. They’ll enjoy that next week … the weekend of Nov. 10.

Ohio State will honor the branches of the military Saturday as part of its Military Appreciation game.

Ohio State and Illinois will be meeting for the 99th time since the series was initiated in 1902. Only the series against Michigan, which started in 1897 and which has seen 108 games, is older and lengthier than Ohio State’s series with Illinois. Ohio State and Illinois played every year for 89 consecutive years, between 1914 and 2002, until the series was interrupted in 2003. The game Saturday will be the eighth consecutive year the teams have played.

Go Bucks!!!
Jody Victor

Eddie George enshrined in College Football Hall of Fame

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 2011 National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame class, including Ohio State’s Heisman Trophy-winning tailback Eddie George, was honored at the hall’s Enshrinement Festival last weekend in South Bend, Ind.

George, who holds the single season and single game rushing records for Ohio State and ranks second only to the great Archie Griffin in career yards, becomes the 23rd Ohio State player to enter college football’s Hall of Fame. He is one of only six Ohio State individuals with his name honored in lights in the north end zone of Ohio Stadium. The University recognized George’s pending induction into the Hall of Fame at halftime of Ohio State’s Oct. 28, 2011 Homecoming game against Wisconsin.

The weekend in South Bend kicked off with a Ribs Cook-Off and Block Party. Friday evening concluded with the annual Blazer Presentation, where the Hall of Famers were formally introduced and presented with their official blazers amidst the fans and spectators. Both events were hosted at the Hall of Fame Gridiron Plaza in downtown South Bend.

The events culminated Saturday night with the Hall of Fame Enshrinement Show, hosted by FOX and NFL Network analyst Charles Davis.

George, Ohio State’s sixth Heisman Trophy winner, rushed for a school-record 1,927 yards and 24 touchdowns as a senior in 1995. Included in that total were three 200-yard games highlighted by a still-standing school-record 314-yard performance against Illinois. 

George rushed for 1,442 yards as a junior after a combined 399 yards rushing his first two seasons (giving him 3,768 career yards). He was drafted in the first round of the 1996 NFL Draft by the Houston Oilers. He was named the 1996 NFL Rookie of the Year and played nine years in the league, earning four Pro Bowl berths.

He received his degree in landscape architecture from Ohio State in 2001 through the school’s degree completion program. Later that year his No. 27 jersey was retired by the Athletics Department. In 2006 he was inducted into the Ohio State University Athletics Hall of Fame.

Eddie, and his wife Taj, live in Tennessee with their two sons, Eriq and Jaire.

Go Bucks!!!

Jody Victor

Buford Powers No. 10 Buckeyes Past No. 5 Spartans 72-70

Jody Victor: Ohio State concluded the regular season in a three-way tie for the Big Ten title. Here’s some great Buckeyes basketball news from and

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) – Ohio State’s only senior ended Michigan State’s regular season on a sour note.

William Buford made a high-arcing jumper from the top of the key with 1 second left, lifting the 10th-ranked Buckeyes to a 72-70 win over the fifth-ranked Spartans on Sunday to forge a three-way tie for the Big Ten championship.

“I was fortunate to knock down the big shot of the night to give us another Big Ten title,” Buford said.

Draymond Green had a chance to put the Spartans ahead in his final home game with 32 seconds left, but missed a long fadeaway from the right wing. Just before the buzzer, Green had a heave that missed the mark.

Buford’s game-winning shot made a once-raucous arena nearly silent and gave a group of people elsewhere in the state a reason to shout with joy.

The Buckeyes (25-6, 13-5) earned a share of their third straight conference championship – and fifth in seven years. They also forced the Spartans (24-7, 13-5) to settle for just a piece of it and ended a quarter-century drought for No. 13 Michigan.

The Wolverines, who won their first Big Ten title since 1986, watched their rivals play from the school’s basketball facility in Ann Arbor after winning at Penn State earlier in the day.

“It was silent the whole time (Buford’s shot) was in the air,” said Michigan guard Trey Burke, who is from Columbus, Ohio. “Once it went in, everybody just flooded the hallway, jumping up and down.”

Michigan State will be the top-seeded team in the Big Ten tournament, which begins Thursday in Indianapolis. Michigan will be No. 2 and Ohio State No. 3.

Michigan State jumped out to a 15-point lead over Ohio State in the first half, but let the advantage slip away just as it did with a two-game lead in the Big Ten race with two games left in the regular season.

“No excuses,” Spartans coach Tom Izzo said, looking and sounding somber. “We just didn’t get it done.”

The Buckeyes seized an opportunity created when the Spartans had a seven-game winning streak snapped Tuesday night at Indiana.

“Luckily enough the Big Ten’s one of the toughest conferences in the country and it gave us a chance to get a hat and get a shirt,” Jared Sullinger said.

Buford scored just four points when Michigan State ended Ohio State’s 39-game home winning streak last month. He returned the favor with his game-winning shot and by scoring 19 of his 25 points in the second half, handing the Spartans their first loss at home this season.

“I just came in with a different mindset,” Buford said. “During that last play, I wasn’t going to miss.”

Sullinger had 14 points on 5-of-17 shooting and Deshaun Thomas scored nine of his 12 points in the second half for the Buckeyes, who rallied to beat a motivated team that desperately wanted to win an outright championship after starting the season unranked.

baseline and finishing 6 of 18 from the field with 19 points, 12 rebounds and a game-high four turnovers.

Brandon Wood scored 15 points and Derrick Nix had 11 off the bench, while Keith Appling was held to two of his 11 points after halftime for the Spartans, who lost standout freshman Branden Dawson in the first half with an injured left knee.

Dawson has a torn ACL and will miss the rest of the season.

Even with Michigan State’s students on spring break, there was big-game buzz in the Breslin Center and the fans had plenty to stand and cheer about when the Spartans went on a 12-0 run to take a 19-7 lead.

“It was looking pretty bleak,” Ohio State coach Thad Matta said.

Michigan State led 24-9 midway through the first half, then had a setback that will hurt heading into the Big Ten tournament this week and the NCAA tournament the following week.

Dawson injured his left knee with 10:16 left in the first half. The 6-foot-6, 220-pound forward, who ranks third on the team in scoring, second in rebounds and perhaps first in athletic ability, rubbed his left knee while his leg was propped up on a chair and later walked gingerly to the locker room.

After the game, Michigan State said Dawson has a torn ACL and will miss the rest of the season.

Sullinger missed his first five shots and was 2 of 10 in the first half, but stayed active and aggressive enough to make all four of his free throws and to score eight points to help Ohio State trail by just nine at halftime.

The Buckeyes scored the first six points of the second half and went ahead 52-51 with 9:53 left to take their first lead since scoring the game’s first two points.

For the rest of the game, each team took a turn with a small lead, exchanging shots and banging bodies in a test that should prepare both for the rest of the month. In the second half, there were nine lead changes and seven ties.

“This is about as high a level game as you can see,” Matta said. “I’m happy we were on this side of it.”

Michigan State’s team posed for pictures – without smiling – in front of a Big Ten championship banner during a postgame ceremony to honor its seniors. When it was Izzo’s turn to address the crowd, he vowed that the Spartans would bounce back at the Big Ten tournament.

Jody Victor

Smith, Jr. Powers No. 5 Buckeyes Past Hoosiers 80-63

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Lenzelle Smith Jr. more than doubled his career high with 28 on Sunday to lead No. 5 Ohio State to a surprisingly easy 80-63 victory over seventh-ranked Indiana.

Jared Sullinger added 16 points, William Buford scored 12 and Deshaun Thomas had 11 for the Buckeyes (16-3, 4-2 Big Ten), who were coming off a loss at Illinois on Tuesday night. Several players questioned their teammates’ commitment and effort after that game.

There was no doubt about either on Sunday as Ohio State took command early and was never threatened.

Cody Zeller had 16 points, Christian Watford 13 and Jordan Hulls 11 for the Hoosiers (15-3, 3-3), who had lost at home to unranked Minnesota on Wednesday night.

Smith, who came in scoring about five points per game, erased almost every offensive high-water mark he had ever had in a game. He hit 10 of 12 shots from the field including 4 of 5 3-pointers. He also had seven rebounds, an assist and a steal.

The game was the first Indiana has played against another top 10 team since 2002 and the Hoosiers’ first visit to an opponent also ranked in single digits since 1992.

Earlier this week, Ohio State’s players vowed to pay back the Hoosiers for a 74-71 loss back on New Year’s Eve. In that game, the Buckeyes had 17 turnovers and 22 fouls. Sullinger got off just five shots from the field, Buford finished with eight points and Thomas scored just five points, due to foul trouble. In addition, point guard Aaron Craft had a career-high six turnovers.

Smith’s previous career best was 12 in that game. He had surpassed that with almost 3 minutes left in the opening half on Sunday.

The Buckeyes had the game well in hand throughout the second half after finishing the half on a 15-2 run. Yet they energized a raucous capacity crowd of 18,809 at Value City Arena with several plays in the final 20 minutes.

Sullinger wrestled the ball away from a driving Hulls and tossed an outlet pass while lying on the floor – Smith threw down a thunderous dunk at the other end to make it 47-23 with 15:23 left.

The lead never fell below 16 after halftime.

Smith had 18 at the break while hitting 7 of 9 shots from the field including 4 of 5 from behind the arc. To put that into perspective, he had never had more than four field goals in a game and had never made more than three 3-pointers.

After Indiana picked up the first points on a jumper by Hulls, the Buckeyes ran off the next seven and never trailed again. Buford, who had hit just 10 of 32 shots from the field in his last two games, made a jumper from the right corner and a 3 off an assist from Sullinger sandwiched around a Smith pull-up.

The Buckeyes had struggled while fighting heavy foul trouble in the first matchup. But they did not pick up their first foul until 10 minutes in this time.

The Hoosiers had difficulty against Ohio State’s defense and were unable to get the ball inside to Zeller or to make much of anything outside to relieve the pressure. They went almost 9 minutes without a point – missing all nine field-goal attempts with six turnovers – while the Buckeyes turned a 20-12 lead into a gaping 20-point advantage.

The win was Ohio State’s 36th in a row at home, the second-longest streak in program history.

Ohio State’s new football coach, Urban Meyer, and his staff received a loud and lengthy ovation when introduced at halftime.

Go Bucks!!!

Jody Victor

Ohio State Travels to Illinois for Super Tuesday Clash with Illini

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No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes (15-2, 3-1) at Illinois Fighting Illini (14-3, 3-1)
Site: Assembly Hall (16,618)
Game Time: 9 p.m. ET
Television: ESPN
Talent: Mike Tirico (play-by-play), Dan Dakich (expert analysis)
Radio: OSU-IMG Sports Network (56 stations)
Satellite Radio: Sirius-91, XM-91
Local Radio: WBNS FM-97.1 AM-1460
Radio Talent: Paul Keels (play-by-play), Ron Stokes (expert analysis)

Buford Reaches 100 Wins as a Buckeye
Senior William Buffordreached career win No. 100 as a Buckeye at Iowa Jan. 7. David Lighty (2007-11) holds the Ohio State record for wins with 129. Walk-ons Mark Titus and Danny Peters were part of Ohio State’s program for 110 victories over their careers (2007-10). The four-year record for victories by scholarship players was originally set by Jamar Butler and Matt Terwilliger from 2005-08 with 105. The 2009 team had 107 wins from 2006-09 but there were no four-year seniors on that squad.

Sullinger Named B1G Player of the Week
Sophomore Jared Sullinger was named the Big Ten Player of the Week Jan. 9 after averaging a double-double in wins over Nebraska and Iowa with 23.5 points and 10.0 rebounds per game. He recorded 19 points and 12 rebounds in Ohio State’s 71-40 win over Nebraska before pouring in 28 points, eight rebounds and four steals in the Buckeyes’ 76-47 road win at Iowa. This is Sullinger’s fifth career Player of the Week award and first this season.

Craft In Top 20 for Cousy Award
Sophomore Aaron Craft is among 20 candidates for the Bob Cousy Award after the list was trimmed from an initial pool of 60 candidates. The annual honor, named for Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtic Bob Cousy, recognizes the top point guards in college basketball. This current list of candidates will be narrowed down to a final 10 by Feb. 1 and final five by March 1. Craft currently leads the Buckeyes in assists (86) and steals (44).

Defense Clicks in last two outings
Ohio State’s last two opponents have both recorded more turnovers than field goals. Against Nebraska Jan. 3, Ohio State forced 17 turnovers while the Cornhuskers scored 16 field goals. In the win at Iowa, the Buckeyes had a hand in 20 Hawkeye miscues while Iowa managed 17 made field goals. For the week, Ohio State forced 37 turnovers while opponents tallied 33 field goals. The Buckeyes connected on 53 percent of their shots (63-120) while foes scored at a 31 percent clip (33-105). The Buckeyes recorded 85 rebounds while opponents grabbed 52. The Buckeyes’ average margin of victory last week was 30 points (73.5-43.5). Since Thad Matta took over the program in 2004-05, Ohio State teams have forced 24 opponents into more turnovers than it scored. Four times the Buckeyes have done so against Big Ten foes, once vs. Michigan in 2009 (21 TOs/15 FGs), twice vs. Iowa (23/22 in 2011 and 20/17 2012) and vs. Nebraska (17/16 in 2012).

The Buckeyes in the Big Ten
The Buckeyes rank No. 2 in both scoring offense (78.0 ppg.) and scoring defense (54.9 ppg.) after a 15-2 overall start. Ohio State’s scoring margin of 23.1 ppg. leads the league while the .496 field goal shooting percentage rates in the No. 2 spot. Led by Jared Sullinger, Ohio State is among the Top 2 teams in rebounding offense (37.9 rpg., No. 2) and rebounding defense (29.1 rpg., No. 1). Overall, the Buckeyes are No. 2 in rebound margin (+8.8 rpg.). Behind Aaron Craft, Ohio State is the leader in assists (17.4 apg.) and turnover margin (+6.4) on the year among Big Ten teams. The Buckeyes also have the highest attendance in the league with 15,642 attending on average this season.

100 Years in Big Ten
Ohio State celebrates 100 years as a member of the Big Ten Conference in men’s basketball in 2012. The Buckeyes finished in the No. 6 spot in the 1913 conference standings, the first season of league play. Over the 99 previous seasons, Ohio State has earned 19 Big Ten regular-season titles with 23 NCAA tournament appearances, one national championship (1960) and nine trips to the Final Four. Eight former coaches and players are members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame while nearly 50 student-athletes have been drafted by National Basketball Association teams, including 22 in the first round.

Go Bucks!!!

Jody Victor