Sunday Morning QB: Carter Injury Hurts

There were so many positives after OSU's 35-6 win over Indiana, which in some ways felt more like a 58-6 triumph. But the one negative was the unfortunate knee injury suffered by senior flanker Drew Carter.

Welcome to Sunday Morning Quarterback, a column I intend to stand each week as a quick read on the news, notes and opinion on Ohio State's weekly game as well as the Big Ten and the college football nation at large.

Here‘s what we have after yesterday's win over Indiana (and, with the road trip, this is a truncated version of the QB):

* There is a lot of back slapping going on in Columbus today, I'm sure, after yesterday's romp over Indiana.

Obviously, Ohio State went into Bloomington believing it could come out with a win. In fact, one observer who watched the team warm up said the Buckeyes appeared "relaxed." Then, they came out and dismantled Indiana 35-6, outgaining IU 603-131 in total offense.

I am not of a mind to believe all of OSU's problems have been solved by this one lopsided win. In fact, another observer remarked that yesterday's game was one step up from OSU's pre-practice routine of playing against air (i.e. no defense on the field, kind of like a walkthrough).

But there were a number of great things that came out of the win (we'll get to those in a second).

Unfortunately, it appears that Drew Carter's season -- at least the regular season -- may be done. This guy was starting to come into his own as a receiver and a player. But it appeared he came down awkwardly on his right knee on the wet grass and, according to early reports, tore his ACL. He was due to have an MRI sometime today and, by Tuesday, we should know more.

This poor guy has been through so much. It is too bad that his career will end in this way. Perhaps he can recover in time for OSU's bowl game.

It was quite a poignant moment at IU when after the game, the team had cleared the field and Carter hobbled over on crutches toward the locker room. Thousands of OSU fans gave him quite an ovation. He stopped and raised a crutch to acknowledge the cheers.

It looks like Santonio Holmes, Bam Childress and Chris Gamble will split time in trying to replace Carter. That's the one good thing that if you're going to lose an athlete like Carter, you have two or three great athletes waiting in the wings to take his place.

* I want to acknowledge, also, tailback Lydell Ross for his confident, strong performance. I don't think anybody expects him to reach that kind of yardage total again during OSU's brutal stretch run. But if he is able to play with that same kind of toughness and strength, the OSU running game will hold up its end of the bargain.

* It is important that Ohio State take this emphatic win -- which could have been 58-6, factoring in the Ross fumble at the IU 10, the Holmes fumble at the IU 1, the Craig Krenzel interception at the IU 1 and the missed field goal -- and file it away.

You only have to look to how Wisconsin has responded to beating OSU two weeks ago on how not to respond to prosperity.

* Speaking of that result, Ohio State is suddenly back in control of its own destiny as far as the Rose Bowl is concerned. By my calculations, Michigan and Michigan State are also in the same situation, and, conveniently, they play next week in East Lansing.

So, after next week, provided OSU wins, the run for (at least) the Roses could be down to the Buckeyes and the MSU-UM winner.

Michigan played its best game of the year against a good opponent by crushing Purdue 31-3. This Big Ten race is suddenly heating up.

* More congratulations go out to Donte Whitner on his first pick, Holmes for his first breakout game (he looked like he was in the spring scrimmage, running unfettered), Krenzel for silencing some of his critics (at least for one week), Scott McMullen for looking sharp and, really, everybody on that defense.

* Before I move on to other topics, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the incredible traffic jam and general logistics problems in and around Bloomington on Saturday.

Wow, I know they only play one or two meaningful football games a year there. But mix in a traffic pattern or something. Before the game they closed one of the main exits into Bloomington from the north, sending everybody to the "45-46" exit. Needless to say, traffic was stopped on Route 37 (the only road from Indy to Bloom-town) for miles. Waits of over one hour were common yesterday.

Then, outside the stadium, they only had about half the gates open. So weary fans who just sat in traffic for over an hour had to wait 15 minutes in line to get into the stadium. None of it was a recipe to breed return business, if you ask me.

* Florida State's Bobby Bowden has moved past Penn State's Joe Paterno in the race for the all-time Division I-A coaching victory record. Bowden's Seminoles defeated Wake Forest 48-24 to give him his 339th career coaching win.

Bowden is in his 28th year at Florida State and 38th as a head coach. Bowden is 339-97-4 in 38 seasons, 28 at Florida State. Paterno is 338-106-3 at Penn State. Paterno missed on a chance to stay tied for the lead as his team fell at Iowa 26-14.

* Tennessee's 51-43 win over Alabama in five OTs goes down as the Game of the Week. UT outscored the hard luck Tide 31-23 in the overtimes.

* Obviously, OSU should move up to fifth in this week's BCS standings after Virginia Tech's 28-7 loss at West Virginia (talk about uninspired). Now, the Buckeyes need the Hokies to take out Miami (Fla.) this Saturday.

Georgia barely scraped by UAB 16-13. Not sure if that will be enough to drop the Bulldogs.

Congrats also go out to Bowling Green (thanks for the strength of schedule points, too) for knocking off previously unbeaten Northern Illinois 34-18 in what may have been the biggest regular season game in MAC history.

* My new Heisman Trophy ballot (subject to change, of course, before I have to send it in): Oklahoma's Jason White (looks like the guy to beat), Virginia Tech‘s Kevin Jones and Pittsburgh's Larry Fitzgerald (13 TD grabs).

* My new top 15: Oklahoma, Miami (Fla.), Florida State, Southern California, LSU, Georgia, Ohio State, Washington State, Virginia Tech, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, TCU, Oklahoma State and Iowa.

We will wrap up each week with a look at how OSU's opponents fared and check out who they face next week, followed by the Big Ten standings.

Date (Time, TV), Opponent (Record), This Week's Result, Next Week's Game

Aug. 30, Washington (4-4), lost to Southern California 43-23, Oct. 25; vs. Oregon, Nov. 1

Sept. 6, San Diego State (4-5), beat Wyoming 25-20, Oct. 25; vs. UNLV, Nov. 8

Sept. 13, N.C. State (6-3), beat Duke 28-21, Oct. 25; vs. Virginia, Nov. 1

Sept. 20, Bowling Green (7-1), beat Northern Illinois 34-18, Oct. 25; vs. Miami (Ohio), Nov. 4

Sept. 27, Northwestern (4-4), beat Wisconsin 16-7, Oct. 25; at Purdue, Nov. 1

Oct. 11, at Wisconsin (6-3), lost to Northwestern 16-7, Oct. 25; idle Nov. 1; at Minnesota, Nov. 8

Oct. 18, Iowa (6-2), beat Penn State 26-14, Oct. 25; vs. Illinois, Nov. 1

Oct. 25, at Indiana (1-7), lost to Ohio State 35-6, Oct. 25; at Minnesota, Nov. 1

Nov. 1 (3:30 p.m., ABC), at Penn State (2-6), lost to Iowa 26-14, Oct. 25; vs. Ohio State, Nov. 1

Nov. 8 (TBA), Michigan State (7-1), idle, Oct. 25; vs. Michigan, Nov. 1

Nov. 15 (TBA), Purdue (6-2), lost to Michigan 31-3, Oct. 25; vs. Northwestern, Nov. 1

Nov. 22 (noon, ABC), at Michigan (7-2), beat Purdue 31-3, Oct. 25; at Michigan State, Nov. 1

Big Ten Standings

Team (Overall, Big Ten)

Michigan State (7-1, 4-0)

Michigan (7-2, 4-1)

Ohio State (7-1, 3-1)

Purdue (6-2, 3-1)

Minnesota (7-2, 3-2)

Wisconsin (6-3, 3-2)

Iowa (6-2, 2-2)

Northwestern (4-4, 2-2)

Penn State (2-6, 0-4)

Indiana (1-7, 0-4)

Illinois (1-8, 0-5)

Oct. 25 Results

Ohio State 35, Indiana 6

Iowa 26, Penn State 14

Northwestern 16, Wisconsin 7

Minnesota 36, Illinois 10

Michigan 31, Purdue 3

Nov. 1 Schedule

Northwestern at Purdue, noon (ESPN)

Illinois at Iowa, noon (ESPN-Plus)

Michigan at Michigan State, noon (ABC)

Ohio State at Penn State, 3:30 p.m. (ABC)

Indiana at Minnesota, TBA (no TV)

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