Quarterback gets first start in a month

Updated: October 10, 2003, 9:19 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State is about to find out what life is like on the road. At least the Buckeyes will have quarterback Craig Krenzel to help them navigate it.

After opening with five games at Ohio Stadium, the third-ranked Buckeyes (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) take their high-wire act to Wisconsin (5-1, 2-0, No. 22 ESPN/USA Today, No. 23 AP) on Saturday. Krenzel will start after being out a month with a hyperextended right (throwing) elbow.

Ohio State coach Jim Tressel doesn't think Krenzel's long layoff will affect the Buckeyes' game plan.

"I asked him if there was a limit as to how much he could throw on Saturday," Tressel said Tuesday, "and he said the limit was 50. And he said his limit running was probably 25 carries. So that's 75 plays, so I don't think there's a limit.

"Now, that will be his decision. If, all of a sudden [his elbow] is not feeling as it should, then we'll make things accordingly. But we're going into this game expecting everyone to be able to do everything they're capable of, because that's what it will take."

Based on recent history, the Buckeyes -- riding the nation's longest winning streak with 19 in a row -- will have their hands full.

Ohio State has split its last four games on its first road trip of the season, including a 23-19 escape last year against Cincinnati when Bearcats receivers dropped two touchdown passes in the final minute.

"If you can't win on the road in your league, you're not going to win your league," Tressel said. "It's a reality we're going to have to play well on the road."

The visiting team has won the last four meetings between the teams -- the last two games decided by a total of eight points.

"We love going to Camp Randall," Krenzel said. "It's a great atmosphere. I think they have one of the biggest crowds, one of the best student sections that I've ever seen. Last year we didn't play as well on the road as we did at home. And this year I don't think we've played as well as we can, period.

"We've had the first five games at home, and we haven't played a game where we've walked away happy with our play."

A year ago, the Badgers led 14-13 at Camp Randall Stadium going into the fourth quarter but Ohio State pulled out a 19-14 win on Krenzel's 3-yard TD pass to tight end Ben Hartsock with 9:59 left. The Buckeyes' defense made it stand up, one of seven times the Buckeyes won a game by seven points or fewer during their national-championship run in 2002.

The Buckeyes don't have a back in the top 10 in the Big Ten in rushing, Krenzel isn't among the top 10 in the 11-team league in passing yards per game and Ohio State is last in the conference in total offense (298 yards a game).

"It doesn't take a real genius to figure out that we're not doing the things we need to do offensively," Krenzel said.

Information from The Associated Press and Scripps Howard News Service was used in this report.