Junior will open season as starting running back

Updated: August 28, 2003, 7:54 PM ET
Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Maurice Hall will start at tailback for Ohio State in place of the suspended Maurice Clarett when the defending national champions play Washington on Saturday night.

Hall, a 5-foot-10, 200-pound junior, got the nod over classmate Lydell Ross.

Ohio State running backs coach Tim Spencer confirmed that Hall would take the first snap when the No. 2-ranked Buckeyes host No. 17 Washington.

"Maurice Hall has been the guy who's been there consistently," Spencer said. "He's been there the whole time. ... He's been the guy, to me, who deserves to be in there when we crank it up on the first snap."

Clarett, who set school freshman records last year with 1,237 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns, is suspended while Ohio State looks into an exaggerated theft report he filed with campus police last April. Clarett is practicing with the team, but athletic director Andy Geiger said Thursday that he would not play in at least the first three games.

Hall, who has battled a sore knee this month, scored the winning touchdowns for the Buckeyes in overtime against Illinois and in the final 4:55 against rival Michigan last year.

Ross missed most of preseason camp with a pulled muscle in his leg.


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press