Nugent Has OSU Scoring Mark In His Sights

Lou Groza Award-winning kicker Mike Nugent can round out his Ohio State career in fine fashion if he can score eight points in the Alamo Bowl and break the school's career scoring record. He talks about going for that mark as well as about kicking indoors. Plus, we have comments from OSU coach Jim Tressel after today's bowl practice.

One of the side stories involving Ohio State's participation in the Alamo Bowl is kicker Mike Nugent's quest to end his career as OSU's all-time leading scorer.

Nugent, who was a unanimous All-American and was named the Lou Groza Award winner earlier this month, goes into Wednesday's game against Oklahoma State (8 p.m., ESPN) needing eight points to break Pete Johnson's OSU career scoring mark of 348 points. (He actually sits third on the all-time list with 341 points, behind Johnson and Dan Stultz, who ended up with 343 points.)

"People talk about the records and they'll show me a sheet," Nugent said. "I'm just privileged and honored to be on the same list as some of those people. You look at people like Pete Johnson and Dan Stultz and Vlade Janakievski and people like that. I'm just so honored to be named with guys like that."

The OSU career scoring mark may not be the only record in peril. Nugent could also get a shot at the Alamo Bowl field goal distance mark of 51, set by Nebraska's Josh Brown in 2000.

In his career, Nugent is 8 of 9 from 50 yards and beyond. This year, he was 5 of 6 with two makes from 55 yards.

"What's the Alamo Bowl field goal record because we'll keep that in mind and see if Mike Nugent can break it?" OSU coach Jim Tressel asked earlier this month. "Fifty-one yards? We'll hope to get close enough to kick a 52-yarder. I know when you talk to the kickers and punters they're always excited when you get to kick or punt inside."

Of course, Tressel is noting the fact that the Alamo Bowl is played inside the Alamodome. Those type of pristine conditions should be conducive to scoring.

"It's kind of nice because we get to kick inside (during practice)," Nugent said. "I have kicked inside at Minnesota before, so I know what that's like. You don't have to worry about the wind and whether it's too hot or too cold. The big difference is no wind. I'll do the same thing every day. During pregame, I get warmed up and see what my range might be."

Could Nugent's own career best of 55 yards also be in peril?

"I don't know," he said. "Hopefully, if I hit a regular ball and maybe put a little bit more into it, maybe I could go 65 or 66 yards. I'm hoping we can get it down the field and just kick extra points all day. But if it does come, hopefully we can do everything we can to put it through."

More than anything, Nugent – OSU's MVP award winner and a co-captain – wants to end his career with a win.

"All it comes down to is if we win the game," he said. "I don't care if we win 3-0 or if we win on a safety and I don't even get to come on the field except for the kickoff. As long as we score more points than they do, that's all I care about."

Tressel Quotebook

The Alamo Bowl web site provided the following comments from OSU head coach Jim Tressel after Thursday's practice in San Antonio:

* On playing indoors: We're settled and ready to go. We got a lot of indoor work last week so we're glad to be out in the sunshine. It's brisk, the way football should be played. But we'll practice at the Dome on Monday to get ready to play indoors.

* On changes to the offense with quarterback Justin Zwick starting: There isn't much on the ready list that we wouldn't do with Justin, Todd (Boeckman) or anyone. There will be a few changes but not many. I thought his Tuesday and Wednesday practices were the best I've seen since he was hurt. I thought he had two really excellent days and I'm expect him to keep doing what he is doing and get better. This is a great opportunity for Justin to get practice time.

* On telling Troy Smith he wasn't making the bowl trip: It's like telling one of your children that we're going on vacation but you're not going.

* On bowl week preparations: We went at it pretty hard back home. In talking to the older guys about what type of tempo and practice organization do they forsee when they get here. They want to put the pads and bang it up for a couple of days just to get the juices flowing. We'll taper down with our third practice, but the first two will be lively and intense.

* On having Oklahoma State as an opponent: They are physical and come right you and get after it with great athletes. That helps with your preparation. When you've seen them on TV and see what they've done against the best teams in the country that helps with your preparation. Our guys like to line up against people that get after you, but one thing you can't overlook with Oklahoma State is the speed they have out wide. Their quarterback's passing effiency is one of the tops in the country because of the big plays they make out wide.

* On Christmas plans: We'll practice a little early and then we'll have a Chirstmas luncheon and then give them a good bit of the time free. A lot of guys parents are flying in Christmas time so they'll have the majority of the time to spend with their families.

* On recruiting in Texas: We've invited area high school coaches and teams if they are off school and free to drop by today and we'd love to have them meet the staff. This is a great opportunity. We recruit in Texas by position, you do look for people who have ties to the Midwest like Ashton Youboty, who was very interested in the Big Ten growing up so that was a natural guy for us to pinpoint.

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