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College Football

College Football Scoreboards Schedules Standings Polls Stats Conferences Teams Players Recruiting` INSIDE COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Not So Special

Multidimensional Ohio State looked Ginsu-sharp in dicing up Missouri

by Ivan Maisel

Posted: Wed September 23, 1998
 
Sports Illustrated Number 1 Ohio State unveiled its Swiss Army knife offense in its 35-14 victory over Missouri, which came into the game ranked 21st. Name the tool—speed, strength, running, passing, depth—and the Buckeyes flipped it out.

In the early going at Ohio Stadium last Saturday, with Tigers cornerbacks sitting back in a soft zone, Buckeyes quarterback Joe Germaine threw flare passes to wideouts David Boston and Dee Miller. "We wanted to make the defense run and hopefully tire it out," Ohio State offensive coordinator Mike Jacobs said after the game. "It was a hot, humid day." The tactic didn't produce much scoring—the Buckeyes trailed 14-13 at halftime—but it did wear down Missouri's D, enabling Ohio State to start cramming the ball down the Tigers' throats in the second half. "In the third quarter I saw them in the huddle," said Buckeyes guard Rob Murphy. "They were down on one knee, real winded." Ohio State scored the go-ahead touchdown in that quarter on a six-yard sweep. Tailback Joe Montgomery cruised into the end zone behind blocks by pulling guard Tam Hopkins and fullback Jamar Martin. All three are second-teamers. That's depth.

  Tailback Joe Montgomery
Montgomery, one of the Buckeyes' many gifted backups, gained 78 yards.    (Robert Beck)
Starting tailback Michael Wiley rushed for two touchdowns and a career-high 209 yards, the first 200-yard performance by an Ohio State back since Eddie George gained 207 yards against Notre Dame in 1995. Germaine completed 19 of 25 passes for 211 yards. The Buckeyes punted once and finished with 531 yards of total offense. What can't Ohio State do? Hold on to the ball. The Buckeyes have fumbled 10 times in three games. They have lost just three of those fumbles, but Missouri converted two of them into its 14 points.

Still, let's not quibble. While so many teams ranked high in the preseason have struggled, Ohio State has shown it has all the tools. With a week off before opening Big Ten play against No. 7 Penn State, the Buckeyes can work on their ball handling. And perhaps on controlling their hubris. "The only thing that can stop us is ourselves," Montgomery says. "It would be stupid for me to sit here and say other teams can stop us."

Issue date: September 28, 1998

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