Krenzel: 'Something Needs To Change'

Senior quarterback returns to action in loss at Wisconsin. Afterwards, he discusses state of the offense, which mustered just 271 yards against the Badgers. Plus, we share more notables following OSU's first loss in 21-1/2 months.

Craig Krenzel returned to the lineup at quarterback for Ohio State for the first time in four weeks Saturday night at Wisconsin. But the result was not what he or anybody had in mind.

The Buckeyes dropped a 17-10 decision to the Badgers, snapping their 19-game winning streak. Krenzel's record as a starter fell to 18-2. Afterwards, Krenzel openly discussed OSU's lack of productivity on offense.

"I don't know what's going to happen, but I do know something needs to change," Krenzel said after OSU managed just 271 yards total offense in the loss. "We need to score points. We have way too much talent and too many guys to put the ball in their hands to score 10 points. It's going to be up to us as players to figure that out. It's not entirely the play calls that are coming in and it's not entirely that we're trying to run the ball. The bottom line is, whatever we're calling, we're not executing. We're too good of a football team. We have too many good players for that to be the case."

Krenzel had not played since suffering an elbow injury against N.C. State on Sept. 13. He ended up completing 14 of 26 passes for 202 yards with one touchdown and one interception. After a rough first half -- where the Buckeyes managed just 77 yards total offense and Krenzel was 4 of 9 passing for 34 yards -- he and the Buckeyes found some success late in the game, particularly after the rain subsided early in the fourth quarter.

"I think it made it a little bit more difficult in the first half with the weather to come out and get in a rhythm, especially after being off for four weeks," Krenzel said. "But we didn't do much of anything in the first half, period. We didn't move the ball and if we did, we took some penalties and started moving the wrong way. In the second half, we started throwing the ball. I felt good. I felt in a rhythm. Our guys were running good routes and catching the ball.

"I don't think the weather took us out of what we wanted to do. I think some of the things we wanted to do, I think some of the things we wanted to do and tried to do, we just weren't successful. I think at the end of the game, we spread them out a little bit. I got in the shotgun, got under center and we were throwing the ball a little bit. We've got to move the ball. We had some costly penalties and we missed a few balls we would have liked to have and we didn't make the plays when we needed to.

"We got to a point where we got back in the shotgun and said, `We're going to forget about the run. We're going to mix it up a little bit and spread it out.' We were effective. We ran some different plays, some stuff they hadn't seen all game, some stuff that maybe we should have run earlier. Our guys did a good job on protection. Once again, on one of those drives, we had a big holding penalty. Instead of being third-and-3, we're back at second-and-20."

Ohio State had won so many close games over the last season-and-a-half. But Krenzel said OSU's penchant for playing close games was a factor in this loss.

"I don't think we live on the edge," he said. "We're not a team that goes out every week and says, `We want to keep this game as close as possible.' I think lack of execution would be a better way to put it, a lack of playing good solid, sound football. Minimizing penalties and making plays finally caught up with us this year."

OSU managed just 69 yards rushing on 26 attempts -- an average of 2.5 yards per attempt. But Krenzel does not believe OSU should abandon the run to accentuate the pass -- at least not yet.

"I haven't looked at it that way," he said. "The way I look at it is we're a unit that has to find a way to get the job done. I thought our defense did a good job, for the most part, of stopping an offense with a very good running game until that last drive. They gave us a chance to stay in the game until the very end, and, once again, we didn't pick up our end of the tab.

"I know one thing: We're a group of guys offensively who are willing to do whatever it takes to move the ball. We feel like we have way too much talent on this offense to be scoring 10 points. We thought Wisconsin was a good defense, but we should have scored a lot more than 10 points."

OSU certainly found itself in a charged environment at Camp Randall Stadium. But, again, Krenzel said the fault lied with the Buckeyes.

"We came into a great environment, a great stadium, great fans … a great football team," he said. "They did what we thought they were going to do, and they just did it better than us. We didn't execute, we had too many penalties and we didn't make plays when we need to. Things we did well last year and do well when we win games, we didn't do them tonight."

OSU, at 5-1 overall and 1-1 in Big Ten play, still has plenty to play for -- even if a repeat national championship does not appear to be in the cards.

"There's no doubt about it," Krenzel said. "There are some guys on this trip who had no idea what this felt like. Guys that haven't lost a game in Scarlet and Gray. Myself, personally, I've never lost a game that I've started and played the complete game since high school. It's a feeling nobody likes. It's a feeling we have to forget. We have to come in tomorrow and we've got to get ready for next week against Iowa.

"We're going to find out a lot about ourselves this week, starting tomorrow. We fly back right now, get some rest and come in tomorrow. Learn what we did wrong today. It's going to be interesting to see how the guys react. Some guys that are younger and don't know how to lose in Scarlet and Gray … some of us who are older and know what it's like to have some disappointing seasons, we know this feeling and we know it all too well. It's going to be interesting to see how the team reacts. How we react as upperclassmen and seniors is all going to be dependent on how the other 100 guys react."

Quick Kicks

* OSU continued its fine play in the red zone, converting two opportunities inside the Wisconsin 20 into points. Unfortunately, those were the only two times OSU got inside the 20. For the year, OSU is 20 of 21 on red zone conversions (13 touchdowns, seven field goals).

* This was Ohio State's first road game of the year. The Buckeyes had won seven straight road games, dating to a Oct. 27, 2001, loss at Penn State.

* Ohio State was 3-0-1 in its last four trips to Madison. That string includes a 14-14 tie in 1993, which paved the way for the two schools to tie for the Big Ten title that season. Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George led OSU to a 27-16 win in 1995 in Madison. The Buckeyes rolled to a 23-7 win there in 2000 and pulled out a 19-14 thriller last year. This was OSU‘s first loss in Madison since a 20-17 decision in 1992.

* OSU's 19-game winning streak is still the second longest streak in school history. The OSU record of 22 straight wins was set from 1967 to ‘69. During this most recent streak, OSU had won 10 games by a touchdown or less.

* OSU head coach Jim Tressel is now 26-6 in his third year at the helm at Ohio State. That record includes a 14-4 mark in Big Ten play, 8-3 in all road games and 7-2 in Big Ten road games. He is still in line to become the fastest OSU head coach to reach 30 wins. Earle Bruce currently holds that distinction with 30 wins in his first 37 games.

* OSU returns home next weekend for homecoming. No. 14 Iowa (5-1, 1-1) looms as the opponent. The Hawkeyes were off this weekend after shocking Michigan 30-27 last Saturday. That game will be a 3:30 p.m. start on ABC (regional telecast).

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