The New Mexico State Aggies had 850,000 reasons to come to Ohio Stadium on Saturday. I guess a near-million bucks eases the pain of a 45-0 drubbing. If nothing else - the Aggie players got some nice pictures of 'The Shoe'.
The most important thing for the Buckeyes was to get better and stay healthy. They accomplished one out of two. Aaron Pettrey suffered a knee injury when he was blatantly and illegally blocked below the waist on the kick-off team. The hit was not flagged, and is only one of a number of cheap shots that have been egregiously ignored by BigTen officials in recent weeks. I don't know what's worse; getting cheap shots from the competition, or the officials not throwing the flag. Two weeks ago it was chop blocks and hands to the face by the Purdue offensive and defensive lines. Last year, it was a below-the-waste crack-back block on Jermale Hines at Northwestern. Many times these illegal shots result in injuries. The BigTen needs to address the issue.
Second-string kicker Ben Buchanan was out with the flu. Walk-on Devin Barclay came in and hit just 1 of 3 field goals. Questions at kicker are the last thing this team needs going into Happy Valley.
Tressel pulled out the bag of tricks on Saturday prompting the press to ask, "Why"? It's not like Ohio State needed gimmicks to win the ballgame. I don't mean to be always complaining, and it's nice that Tress finally mixed things up, but why now? Tressel said, "We saw some things on tape that we could take advantage of". That's great Jim, but how about saving those trick plays for when we need them the most. After the Buckeyes first touchdown - Pettrey recovered an onside kick to himself. In the middle of the second quarter Devier Posey took an end-around and pulled up to throw a perfect, left-handed 39-yard strike to Dane Sanzenbacher in the back of the endzone. Sanzenbacher's second Td reception put the Buckeyes up 21-0, and after Brandon Saine's 3-yard scamper just minutes later, the Bucks headed into the locker room with a 28-0 lead.
Terrelle Pryor finished the half with 135 yards passing and 83 yards rushing(9.2/per). What was first thought as a mercy decision was later ruled an injury decision as Pryor sat out the entire second half. He claimed he 'Tweeked' his ankle in a post-game interview. The injury occured when Pryor was hog-collared on one of his rushing attempts late in the 2nd quarter. He had some snaps after the injury and didn't show any ill effects, but, of course, there was no flag.
Jordan Hall had another big day as a Buckeye rushing for 90 yards on 10 attempts. Boom Herron returned to the field with 66 yards - including a 53 yard touchdown.
The defense held the Aggies to just 62 yards of total offense. Ross Homan intercepted his 2nd pass of the season(3rd career). Brian Rolle recovered a fumble in the endzone which gives him 14 points on the season(one int for a td, one fumble recovery for a td, and one int for a 2-pt conversion). There were no injuries to report on defense, but key run stuffing DT Dexter Larimore remains on the sidelines.
The Buckeyes travel to Penn State Saturday to face the 1-loss Nittany Lions in a game that is sure to have BigTen Championship implications. The Lions are favored by a field goal. No word on whether key offensive and defensive lineman Justin Boren, Mike Adams, and Dexter Larimore will play. Ohio State could certainly use all of them.