Butler's Gray team tops Conley Jr.'s Scarlet squad
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Mike Conley Jr. might have closed out his Ohio State career with another loss.
A day after announcing he would make himself available for the NBA draft, the basketball point guard was the honorary coach of the Scarlet squad which blew a 9-0 fourth-quarter lead to lose to the Gray 17-9 on Saturday in the Buckeyes' annual spring intrasquad football scrimmage.
A crowd of 75,301 basked in the sun at Ohio Stadium.
Daequan Cook and fellow freshman Greg Oden also added their names to the draft.
Shut out heading into the fourth quarter, the Gray squad -- with basketball teammate Jamar Butler calling the plays -- roared back on Aaron Pettrey's 40-yard field goal and Rob Schoenhoft's 6-yard scoring pass to Brandon Smith for a 10-9 lead with 5:24 remaining.
The Scarlet squad moved into position for a possible game-winning field goal in the final minute. On second and 13 at the Gray 14, Conley said he wanted to run the ball and set up the field goal but he was overruled by his three other basketball-playing assistants.
Linebacker Larry Grant came in from quarterback Todd Boeckman's right side and hit him high and hard, forcing the fumble. The ball rolled around before Grant doubled back and scooped it up, running untouched 80 yards to clinch the win with 30 seconds left.
Marcus Freeman stepped in front of an Antonio Henton pass and returned it 49 yards for a touchdown with the game just over 3 minutes old. Ryan Pretorius added a 37-yard field goal to give the Scarlet a 9-0 lead that it held until the final quarter.
Defense dominated, as might be expected since most of the top offensive stars from last year's 12-1 team are gone. Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Troy Smith, wide receivers Ted Ginn Jr. and Anthony Gonzalez and tailback Antonio Pittman were among the losses for the offense, which is without seven starters.
One of the major focal points for fans and coaches was the quarterback battle. Boeckman had a splinter-thin edge as the starter, followed by Schoenhoft and Henton. None of the three dazzled, and none really played themselves out of the race -- although Henton was picked off three times.
Boeckman completed 6-of-14 passes for 103 yards. Playing for both teams, Schoenhoft was a combined 7-for-18 for 83 yards and Henton was 8-for-16 for 45 yards.
The basketball players prowled the sidelines before the game just like Bobby Bowden, Pete Carroll and Jim Tressel do. Conley had on a headset midway through the first quarter.
Tressel called Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer earlier this week to ask if it was OK for the Buckeyes to wear VT stickers. Beamer gave his approval and the Buckeyes all wore the large stickers on the left sides of their helmets. There was a moment of silence before the game for the 32 victims of Monday's massacre at Virginia Tech.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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