Craig Krenzel (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
Ohio State used a staunch defense and a balanced offensive attack to drill the Washington Huskies 28-9 in front of 105,000 red-clad fans in Columbus this evening. Buckeye Quarterback Craig Krenzel threw for 203 yards, but it was his scrambling ability that killed the Dawgs. The senior ran for 27 yards and two touchdowns while totally baffling the Husky defense with his ability to evade the rush.
The Buckeyes made no mistakes on offense for the first three quarters and won both the time of possession and the field position battles to make this contest a no-contest. Their winning streak is now at 15, the longest in the country, while the Huskies dropped their opener to a tough Big 10 team for the second straight season on the road.
Cody Pickett got no help from his running game and was harassed and hit all evening, completing 26 of 49 passes for 255 yards. He made no mistakes but was rendered largely ineffective by a Buckeye defense that held the Huskies to 7 yards rushing and forced the Dawgs to punt 10 times, while putting Pickett on the ground nearly 20 times.
The Husky defense was unable to contain Krenzel on two crucial touchdown runs when the game was decided. A simplified scheme was largely effective against the OSU ground game, but had trouble with the Buckeyes early through the air. Evan Benjamin led the Dawgs with 10 stops, followed by LB Joe Lobendahn and FS Jimmy Newell, who had seven each. DT Terry Johnson had two sacks.
“I’m disappointed but not discouraged,” said Head Coach Keith Gilbertson after the loss in the media room. “A lot of our first year guys looked like first year guys, I’m not surprised. We had a lot of blown assignments but I’m excited to get back to coaching them on Monday and getting back to work.”
Ohio State was able to get excellent pressure on Pickett with their front four, taking away most of the Husky playbook.
“They are as advertised,” said Gilbertson of Ohio State. “They are big, quick, and their front seven are very athletic. They are going to win a lot of games. That score just before the end of the first half was the back-breaker.”
FIRST QUARTER: AN EARLY BUCKEYE BLITZ (OSU 14, UW 0)
Ohio State drew first blood at the 8:31 mark in the first quarter by going 72 yards in eight plays. The key play in the drive came when Krenzel hit Drew Carter, who had gotten behind Roc Alexander, for 37 yards down the middle of the field. On the next play Chris Gamble entered the game as a wide out and took a handoff from Krenzel. He raced around right end for 15 yards to make it first and goal on the Husky five. On second down, Maurice Hall bulled through Jim Newell and Marquis Cooper from the two into the end zone. Nugent’s extra point made it 7-0.
After Washington had to punt after just four offensive plays, the Buckeyes went 78 yards in seven plays to make it 14-0. Krenzel did all of the damage using both his arm and legs, hitting Michael Jenkins for gains of 12 and 23 yards, scrambling to keep both plays alive. On second and nine from the 22, Krenzel avoided Owen Bildle’s safety blitz and bolted up the vacated middle of the Husky defense. He made a cut to his left at the 12 and ran to the pylon for a touchdown.
Washington’s last drive of the quarter stalled after Simon Fraser came through the Husky line to sack Pickett for a 11-yard loss. For the first 15 minutes, Washington ran just 12 offensive plays and had just two first downs and two rushing yards to go with three punts. Ohio State rolled up 170 total yards and punted just once.
SECOND QUARTER: PLAYING UPHILL (OSU 21, UW 0)
The Husky defense played well in this stanza but the offense was unable to help in any way. Washington continued to struggle on the ground, so they turned to the air. A 10-yard Pickett to Frederick completion put the Huskies into Buckeye territory for the only time in the half. That drive stalled, and that is when the field position game down the Ohio River for the Huskies. OSU moved the ball enough to give punter BJ Sander good opportunities to pin the Huskies deep. Washington started their first two drives of the quarter on their eight and one yard-lines, respectively.
The Husky ground game was impotent as Alexis was stuffed on two runs and Kenny James was stuffed for no gain on third and less than a yard.
A Terry Johnson sack of Krenzel stopped another OSU potential score, but a Sander’s punt pinned the Huskies back on their own one. Three plays and two false starts later had punter Garth Erickson standing inches from his own end line. After a line-drive kick, OSU took over on the Husky 25. The Husky defense stiffened until third and 10 from the 11-yard line, when Krenzel scrambled away from Manase Hopoi and Graham Lasee and scurry into the left corner of the endzone with just 11 seconds left in the half to bury the Huskies 21-0.
Washington was only able to manage 42 yards for the entire quarter, MINUS two on the ground. OSU had piled up 237 yards to just 77 for Washington after 30 minutes.
THIRD QUARTER: TREADING WATER (OSU 28, UW 3)
Washington broke the goose egg when Evan Kundson drilled a 47-yard field goal, his first as a Husky. Still, it epitomized the game. As Knudson jumped up and down in front of the Husky bench after the ball went through the uprights, the Husky sideline stood as if frozen in ice, still disappointed. The boot made it 21-3 but a Rich Alexis drop on second and 10 and Joe Toledo falling down in the open field on third down killed what could’ve been a more promising drive.
The Buckeyes bounced right back after Jimmy Newell was run over for a second time, this time by Lydell Ross, for a touchdown. This one came from 15-yards out and OSU led 28-7 with 6:06 remaining in the quarter.
Washington moved the ball on their next drive but on third and one from the Buckeye 31, Alexis lost two yards on an option. On fourth and three the Huskies lined up to go for it but were whistled with a procedure penalty, forcing them to punt. Erickson cemented his player of the game status by booting a 37-yard punt that went out of bounds on the OSU one.
OSU went three and out, giving the Huskies their best field position of the game. A 16-yard Frederick punt return had the Huskies setting up shop on the OSU 32 inside the last minute of the quarter. However Washington went three and out. On third and 10 Pickett was able to avoid the pass rush and lob a ball down the sideline to Frederick, but safety Nate Salley drilled the Husky receiver and knocked the ball from his grasp.
FOURTH QUARTER: RED ZONE DISASTER (OSU 28, UW 9)
Ohio State finally made a mistake, as Santonio Holmes muffed Erickson’s punt and Scott White was there to fall on the ball at the OSU 48. They compounded that mistake by roughing Pickett on third and 18 to allow the Huskies to keep possession. The drive stalled anyhow and after OSU’s Dustin Fox blocked Knudson’s 35-yard field goal attempt, the Buckeyes brought in the second teamers.
The Huskies were able to put together their only touchdown drive of the game, going 67 yards. Pickett hit Charles Frederick for 34 yards to move it into the OSU red zone. A pass interference penalty on OSU moved the ball to the OSU two yard line, where Pickett ran it in around right end on a scramble for the final score of the ballgame. He was sacked on the two-point conversion attempt.
The Huskies would get the ball back after Dan Milsten caused a fumble and Newell recovered on the OSU 15. However the Buckeyes held and a fourth and five pass fell incomplete off of Frederick’s hands.
Washington had the ball one last time but ran out of clock at the OSU 18 when Quintin Daniels hauled in a 11-yard pass.
Notable debuts for Washington:
PK Evan Knudson - 1 for 2 on field goals (47 yard make, 35-yarder blocked)
P Garth Erickson - 10 punts for a 39 yard average
K Sean Douglas - nice deep kickoffs, none of which were returned beyond the 20 yard line.
WR Bobby Whithorne - thrown to twice, dropped both.
WR Quintin Daniels - 1 reception for 11 yards.
DE Graham Lasee - 3 tackles.
DT Stan Daniels - 1 tackle for loss
DE Brandon Ala - 2 tackles for loss
TB Kenny James - 1 carry for 0 yards
LB Tahj Bomar - 1 special teams tackle
LB Scott White - 7 tackles