Smith tossed three touchdown passes -- including a 57-yard
lightning strike to high school teammate Ginn-- to lead No. 1 Ohio
State to a 35-7 victory over Bowling Green on Saturday.
"There's always something special about playing with a
childhood friend," said Smith, who didn't do anything to hurt his
Heisman Trophy candidacy by completing 17-of-20 passes for 191
yards with no interceptions. "Especially here at this level."
The Buckeyes (6-0) toyed with the Falcons (3-3), tacking on two
touchdowns in the final quarter to turn a surprisingly close 21-7
game into a rout. Ohio State stretched the nation's longest winning
streak to 13 in a row.
The game was the first of six against teams who have each lost
at least twice. The Buckeyes, who play at disappointing Michigan
State next week, were a prohibitive favorite.
"When there's 105,000 out there, it doesn't matter who the
opponent is," said defensive lineman Joel Penton, talking about
packed Ohio Stadium.
Smith's touchdowns covered 3 yards to Rory Nichol and 11 to Ray
Small in addition to the long one to Ginn. His 85-percent
completion rate was the third best ever for an Ohio State
Antonio Pittman carried 13 times for 61 yards, scoring on two
Early in the fourth quarter, Ginn got a rare chance to return a
punt -- the Falcons punted out of bounds rather than give up a big
return -- and brought it back 21 yards to the Ohio State 43. On the
next play, Smith dropped back in the pocket and fired to Ginn, who
had streaked past defender Antonio Smith to catch the ball at the
7, racing in the rest of the way untouched.
"I saw the guy playing off me. He had been playing off me all
night," the speedy Ginn said.
Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said the bomb should serve as a
warning to future opponents.
"We had a couple of home run opportunities in the last couple
games and didn't connect," he said. "People need to know that
we're going to go deep."
Ginn caught a career-high 10 passes for 122 yards. The 57-yard
score was the junior's 18th career play covering at least 50 yards.
He has caught eight passes of 50 or more yards, all from Smith.
Asked how he would defend against Ginn, Smith smiled and said,
"If I was a defensive back, I'd just stay deeper than the deepest.
He'll run past you in the blink of an eye."
It didn't take long for Ohio State to show its superiority over
its in-state rivals, scoring on three of their first four
"Sometimes when you go down and score early in games like this,
you lose a bit of your edge," Tressel said.
Smith's 3-yard touchdown pass to Nichol got the scoring started.
The Falcons took over and drove to a first down at the Ohio
State 34. But the Falcons' 50-yard field-goal attempt by Sean
Ellis' was blocked by Kurt Coleman.
"I just didn't want to punt it. I wanted to get some points and
that was probably a bad decision on my part," Bowling Green coach
Gregg Brandon said.
The Buckeyes made the most of that turnover by methodically
slicing through the Falcons. On third-and-26 at the Bowling Green
42, Smith dropped the snap out of the shotgun formation, then
picked it up and had to avoid a tackler at left end. Smith cut
across the grain, racing to the right corner for a 34-yard gain.
On the next play, Pittman skirted left end for the first of his
Bowling Green turned it over again on its next possession, with
lineman Vernon Gholston grabbing a tipped pass at the Falcons 21.
Three plays later, Pittman sidestepped a tackler at the goal
line to make it 21-0.
The crowd booed loudly each time Bowling Green's Alonso Rojas --
a rugby-style kicker -- punted out of bounds to avoid putting the
ball in Ginn's hands.
"It's like a war and you just give up ground," Brandon said.
"We just gave up too much ground, but their weapons create that."
Anthony Turner completed 16-of-24 passes for 179 yards with one
interception. He hooked up with Corey Partridge for a 7-yard TD in
the third quarter.
After a tough first month of the season, in which Ohio State
beat three ranked foes, October started with a matter-of-fact win.
"I think today was worthwhile, but not wonderful," Tressel
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