5 Answers: Toledo at Ohio State

The Buckeyes' pass rush among factors helping Ohio State turn back the Rockets on Saturday. We also examined the turnover battle, one Toledo star and more in this week's edition of Five Answers.

1. What impact will Ohio State receive from its players suspended for the season opener?

As it turned out, only one of the Buckeyes who missed the 42-0 win over Akron a week earlier made his season debut against Toledo.

Jordan Whiting was on the field to start the game as part of the kickoff return unit, but the sophomore linebacker did not make any noticeable contribution or record a stat.

Tailback Jordan Hall, cornerback Travis Howard and safety Corey Brown all remained sidelined as the school and NCAA review their illegal benefits case.

2. Can the Rockets finally score a point in the series?

Toledo entered Ohio Stadium scoreless in eight quarters of football against Ohio State, but the Rockets found pay dirt twice in the opening 15 minutes Saturday.

Their offense received a big assist from the special teams unit for the first score as Kishon Wilcher blocked a Buckeye punt and Morgan Williams scooped it up and returned it to the OSU 1-yard line.

One play and one illegal procedure penalty later, Austin Dantin hooked up with Eric Page for a 6-yard touchdown pass that got the Rockets on the board for the first time. Page followed by finding Hank Keighley with a 2-yard pass for a two-point conversion that gave Toledo its first lead in the series, 8-7.

3. Who will win the turnover battle?

The teams finished even with one turnover apiece, but Ohio State's giveaway was nearly more damaging.

The Buckeyes were looking to salt the game away when backup tailback Rod Smith fumbled. Toledo recovered and took over possession at its own 28-yard line with 3:08 left. The Rockets drove to the Ohio State 16-yard line before the Buckeyes stopped them on downs.

Ohio State turned the Rockets over with a Storm Klein interception late in the second quarter at the OSU 27-yard line. That stopped a Toledo drive that was showing some promise.

4. What about rushing the passer?

The Ohio State offensive line struggled to open holes in the running game, but it had a good day protecting quarterback Joe Bauserman. He was sacked once when the Rockets overloaded the left side of the offensive line and Charles Rancifer charged through the line unblocked, but the play was wiped out by a facemask penalty.

Otherwise, Bauserman generally had adequate time to throw, though he had to throw the ball away on several occasions when he could find no one open.

The Buckeyes recorded four sacks, a total not including their last defensive play of the game when John Simon rushed Toledo's Terrance Owens into a bad throw that fell harmlessly to the turf.

"That was huge," Simon said. "We knew we had to stop them or they were going to win the game. That was a big play for us. The secondary did a good job of covering and giving me some extra time to get back there and it was a team effort."

5. Can the Buckeyes contain Eric Page?

The Toledo junior was as good as advertised before the game when Ohio State coaches described him as an All-American talent.

Page caught 12 passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns, including a 66-yard catch and run on a screen pass.

"He's probably one of the best players I've ever played against, just how quick he is, how explosive, how hard he is to tackle," Ohio State linebacker Andrew Sweat said. "He's everything to that offense. Even when we knew where he was, he was still making plays. He's an awesome player."

Page finished the day with 214 all-purpose yards and accounted for 14 points.

Buckeye Sports Top Stories