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Bittersweet return

Ohio State still remembers last year's loss in Sugar Bowl

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Posted: Sunday December 27, 1998 07:48 PM

  Germaine and the Buckeyes want to erase memories of last year's 31-14 Sugar Bowl loss to Florida State Jonathan Daniel/Allsport

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Ohio State has nothing but bad memories of the Sugar Bowl. And nothing changed that in the first 24 hours following the team's return to New Orleans.

A year ago, the Buckeyes lost to Florida State 31-14. This time, Ohio State is a 12-point favorite over Texas A&M in the Buckeyes' return to the New Year's Day game.

"It was just one of those games you just wish you were dead; it was so embarrassing," offensive tackle Tyson Walter said.

Buckeyes coach John Cooper will miss workouts Monday and Tuesday following the death of his 88-year-old mother on Christmas Eve.

Meanwhile, All-Americans David Boston and Rob Murphy missed practice Sunday because of injuries.

Boston, a wide receiver, has a slightly sprained left ankle, sustained when he slipped on a patch of ice on Christmas Eve. His foot was placed in a walking boot to prevent the ankle from flexing.

"We're holding him out and getting him some treatment," Cooper said.

Team physician John Lombardo said, "It's just a mild sprained ankle. "It's just a matter of not taking any chances the first couple of days of practice."

Murphy, a left guard, has a leg infection, possibly from a cut that didn't heal properly. Lombardo said should be able to return to practice on Monday.

All in all, not the type of weekend Ohio State had hoped for in its return to New Orleans.

Last year, Florida State had six sacks for 40 yards in losses and rattled quarterbacks Joe Germaine and Stanley Jackson into three interceptions and a combined 16-of-36 passing day.

Walter said he came into that game convinced the line was doing a good job and was confident it would do well in the Superdome.

"Then you go into a game like that and the guys you're going against just embarrass you on national TV," he said. "You just feel worthless, like you shouldn't have been given a scholarship or they should revoke it immediately."

The Buckeyes are hoping that things are decidedly different this time against a Texas A&M team that few of the Buckeyes were aware of December 5, when the Aggies stunned second-ranked and unbeaten Kansas State 36-33 in double overtime in the Big 12 Conference championship game.

"We didn't know too much about them, but now we do," safety Damon Moore said. "And we'd better keep on learning about them or we're going to be in trouble."

Texas A&M has its own injury problems. Lombardi Award-winning linebacker Dat Nguyen is hobbled by a sprained left big toe. He was held out of a short workout at Tulane on Sunday and could be seen wincing as he put weight on the foot.

 
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