September 1, 2007
Bucks not perfect but good enough
COLUMBUS - On a picture perfect day in the Horseshoe the Buckeyes (1-0, 0-0) took care of business against Jim Tressel's former team but showed the rust of a first game in a 38-6 win over Youngstown State (0-1). Todd Boeckman and Brian Robiskie hooked up early and often as Ohio State stretched its record of consecutive opening game wins to 29. The lost was costly however as Lawrence Wilson broke his right leg and could miss significant playing time.
"I thought we came out and played against a very good football team," Tressel said. "We knew Youngstown State would come in and they'd be a physical football team playing as hard as they could possibly play. They certainly didn't let us down from that standpoint."
There is not too much information about what happened to Wilson when he went down in the second quarter and the staff isn't even really sure what the status of the starting defensive end is and if a medical redshirt will follow.
"I didn't talk to the doctors (before meeting with the media)," Tressel said. "I just kind of heard a rumor in the locker room that it might be a fracture of sorts, where, I don't know, and that it could be six to eight weeks."
Boeckman looked sharp in his first career start with the Buckeyes and first start in nearly five years. The junior quarterback completed 17 of 23 attempts for 225 yards and 2 touchdowns on the afternoon. After some sleepless night it was good to get that first start under his belt.
"It was just an unbelievable feeling and it was so exciting to have the opportunity and was excited to be out there," Boeckman said. "This whole week leading up to it was tough, it was long and I couldn't wait to get out there and take that first snap. Once I got out there I settled down and I think we did a lot of great things out there."
It didn't hurt having a hot receiver in Robiskie who caught about everything thrown his way with nine receptions for 153 yards. The receivers combined for 270 yards on the afternoon and Robiskie just felt that it was his day today but that several receivers are capable of the big outing and that he is not just the first option.
"I don't really think about it like that," Robiskie said. "I just think we have a really good group of receivers and I think our coaches keep stressing to us that anybody on that field could make some plays."
The Buckeyes got on the board first with the combination of Robo and Boeckman connecting on completions of 16, 41, and seven to get the Buckeyes inside the redzone. The running game with Chris Wells wasn't quite up to par at first and it took a Boeckman pass to freshman Dane Sanzenbacher to get the Bucks on the board. Beanie had a very un-Beanie like game with 16 carries for only 48 yards and felt that he didn't play anywhere close to what he is capable of.
"I'm not satisfied at all," Wells said. "It took me too long to get in the mode of the game and by the second half it is basically too late to try and kick it in. In the first half I did terrible."
While Beanie couldn't move the ball it was on backups Maurice Wells and Brandon Saine to carry the load. On the second Ohio State scoring drive it was Saine who moved the ball most of the way with 28 yards which was capped off by a Beanie plunge into the endzone to make it 14-0 Buckeyes.
The Ohio State defense took the first step in developing an identity this afternoon only allowing the Penguins 176 total yards of offense but there is no time to rest on the performance of the first effort out of the gate.
"I think that we are starting to form an identity," linebacker James Laurinaitis said. "We are just trying to go out there and be an attacking physical kind of team and uphold the tradition of great defenses here."
"It was good for us and we held our opponent to six points," defensive end Vernon Gholston said. "Still we're not really sure about our identity yet. We've still got to watch the film and see what we did wrong but I know the capability is there to be a great tackling defense and that is something we just got to keep working on."
After giving up a YSU field goal the Buckeyes punched it in one more time in the first half with a short run by Brandon Saine to put the Buckeyes up 21-3 as the two teams took the halftime locker room. Beanie Wells was thrilled that some of the other backs had a chance to show what they could do but he couldn't help but feel that he didn't carry his own weight on Saturday.
"I feel if I would have played my best that things would have gone a lot smoother," Wells said.
In the second half the teams traded field goals on the first two drives and that was about it for the scoring of the third quarter though the Buckeyes did start an impressive drive in the closing moments of the quarter that saw Maurice Wells get several touches while Boeckman spread the ball around the field. The drive culminated in an exciting play for former walk-on Trever Robinson who caught his first career touchdown with the Buckeyes on a 1-yard pass play.
"It felt really good," Robinson said. "It is my senior year and it was a play that actually wasn't designed for me but it happened to work out on the zone and I am really excited about it."
Quarterbacks Rob Schoenhoft and Antonio Henton both saw playing time on Saturday as well but it was Henton who found paydirt in the fourth quarter with a 37-yard touchdown pass to Taurian Washington.
For a team replacing a Heisman winner and three NFL-bound receivers it was a shock to some in attendance that the Buckeyes went to the air as much as they did. Was it a shock to Boeckman when the plays were coming in?
"They really didn't tell us what the gameplan was going to be coming in or what we were going to do in that first drive," Boeckman said. "We didn't know what to expect from them because they have a new defensive coordinator over there. The coaches put together a great gameplan and I think it worked out."
Robiskie agreed that the gameplan was just what the offense needed and that once the team settled down that everyone got on the same page.
"I think offensively we just came out and had a plan this week and I think our coaches prepared us well," Robiskie said. "They had a really good gameplan for us and we came out, we were kind of excited at first but I think we executed pretty well."
The game was not without some problems with the Buckeyes getting flagged for several penalties including false starts and substitution penalties with 12 men breaking the huddle.
"It was pretty smooth other than we had a few penalties here and there and that shouldn't have happened," Boeckman said. "You can't have those plays, jumping offisides. That stuff can't happen and we need to look back at what went wrong and stay focused and go from there."
"I think we did fundamental things well but we got to work on the running game and work on stopping the run but Youngstown State was a good team so it was good for us," Gholston said.
It was also a great debut for the new field with the Buckeyes playing the first game on the new fieldturf surface at the 'Shoe. During halftime the field temperature was measured at 140-degrees Fahrenheit but the team didn't notice it being that hot compared to the heat wave that gripped Columbus during fall camp.
"It wasn't that bad to be honest with you," Laurinaitis said. "Today was a good day on the field, during camp it was terrible but as far as today it was a cool day out there and it was a perfect day for football."
Now that the first one is in the books what does the starting quarterback expect in preparing for the next opponent, Akron?
"I will be a little more relaxed and a little more confident in my ability knowing that I can go out there," Boeckman said. "I can be the leader of this team, I just got to go in there and watch the film and grade ourselves and take it from there next week."
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