Ginn's Return One Of Few Highlights For OSU

There weren't many highlights on Saturday for Ohio State, but one was Ted Ginn's first touchdown as a Buckeye when he returned a punt for a touchdown to give OSU the 7-0 lead. Gary Housteau has a photo gallery and a write-up of Ginn's biggest Buckeye moment to date.

As many as six Wisconsin Badgers were closing in on him when he fielded the punt at his own 35 yard line, but Ted Ginn Jr. simply did what he does best when he's presented with an opportunity to do it. He split the defenders and raced nearly untouched to the end zone for his first collegiate touchdown.

"It was great. All week we've been working hard, and for the last two weeks we've been working hard on double punt returners," Ginn said. "And just to score was great, in (Ohio Stadium), in front of all of my fans. It was a great experience."

Ginn got his first taste of returning a punt at the collegiate level against Northwestern last week. And in only his second punt return of his young career, Ginn took it to the House for a score with defenders bearing down on him as he prepared to field the punt.

"They always tell us don't fair catch because you should be protected," Ginn said. "As I caught the ball, I saw a hole so I hit it, and I saw another hole, and that hole was the one that I broke from. So you just hit the holes and get away."

With offensive fireworks seemingly hard to come by in recent weeks, Ginn's return early in the game provided some early adrenalin for the Buckeye cause against Wisconsin. Last week against Northwestern, Santonio Holmes returned a second-quarter punt 63 yards for a score.

"At that moment, that (return by Ginn) obviously was huge, and it was a great spark for us and he's a talented kid," Jim Tressel said. "I think our return teams, in general, we've worked very hard on them, and I think they've been solid and that was an exciting one. I'm excited for him because once you've done it, you're going to have a chance to have the confidence to do it again."

Returning punts for big plays or touchdowns was commonplace for Ginn during his stellar prep career at Glenville High School.

"Everything feels like Glenville-action but it's just that I'm at Ohio State now," he said matter-of-factly. "There's nothing really different about it, it's just a little faster and people are a little bigger."

Ginn returns a punt for a TD in high school

Be it as a punt returner or a wide receiver, Ginn obviously has the God-given ability to change the tone of the game in an instant.

"Teddy's going to be a heck of a football player for us the more that he's in and around our system," Tressel said. "We need to devise things because he can do some good things with the ball in his hands. He has good hands. He almost caught the little slant over there that could have looked like the same thing at one point there in the third quarter."

Justin Zwick misfired on a pass to Ginn that might have been taken to the House for yet another score if the connection was made.

"There was nobody in the middle of the field and once I get my hands on the ball and I hit a seam, I'm basically gone because I'm not going to get caught," Ginn said. "That's where the track (background) comes in to me where you're just not going to be caught."

Much was made this past off-season of Ginn's attempt to make the USA Olympic track and field team. He was arguably the best prep track performer ever produced from the Buckeye state and one of the best in the entire nation last year. He attempted to qualify in the 400 meters to no avail.

"I considered it a lot. I tried it and I was one second away," he said. "My body still has to develop more and as I run college track, I think I should be okay."

Right now, he's just trying to be the best football player that he can be and do whatever he can to help Ohio State accumulate victories.

"(My role) is basically just to get in, do what they tell me, listen and just perform on the field he said," Ginn said. "Just be whatever I can be for Ohio State."

He's put aside his defensive aspirations, at least for now.

"Basically, I'm just doing whatever the team asks me to. I've been like that all of my life since I was young," Ginn said. "Whatever the team asks me to do, that's what I'm going to do no matter what."

Ginn knows his time will eventually come when he'll be making big plays on the defensive side of the ball for the Buckeyes, but for now his focus is on offense and special teams.

"I love DB but right now there's an opportunity for me to play on the offensive side of the ball," he said, "so I will take the opportunity."

Through the Wisconsin game, Ginn now has as many punt returns as he has receptions; three. And he has substantially more yardage on returns than catches; 84 yards to nine. Although the opportunities he's had as a pass catcher have been few and far between, he said he's not frustrated by that in any way.

"Basically I just do what the team asks me," he reiterated. "If I'm a decoy than I'll just be a decoy. If I'm not, hey, if I get the ball, I get the ball. I just do whatever the team asks me. That's just been me."

If early indications mean anything, it's obvious that the staff now needs to find more ways to let Ginn just be more like himself.

Photo Gallery: Ted Ginn's Kick Return

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