Not even general Santa Anna could have stopped the Ohio State Buckeyes tonight.
Ohio State fought through criticism and controversy once again and dominated tonight's Alamo Bowl matchup against the Oklahoma State Cowboys, jumping out early and never looking back on the way to a 33-7 blowout victory. Ted Ginn, who saw time at quarterback and wide receiver, was named the game's oustanding offensive player after eight carries for 40 yards and six catches for 78 yards and one touchdown, while Justin Zwick fought off injury to turn in a strong performance, going 17 of 26 for 189 yards and two touchdowns. A spirited defensive display as well as a record-setting performance by Mike Nugent also helped bury Oklahoma State, who fell in a hole early and never recovered.
"On behalf of our seniors, this game was for them," OSU head coach Jim Tressel told the Alamodome crowd minutes after the game. "We are awfully proud of those guys. We are proud of what they've done at Ohio State.
"We are also proud of all of our underclassmen. We are so appreciative for all of you who traveled down to this great city of San Antonio. Thank you.
"Our guys wanted to work hard and make a statement for their seniors and for the Big Ten as it begins the bowl season."
Zwick got the start after Troy Smith was ruled out of the game by OSU after receiving illegal extra benefits. Then, he dealt with a hamstring injury in the first quarter.
"I knew I had been there before," Zwick said of his first action since Oct. 16. "I had an opportunity to get back in there and take advantage of it."
Ginn saw his first career action at quarterback, filling in for Zwick when he was hobbled and also be design.
"We planned on playing Ted at quarterback," Tressel said. "We didn't know when it would be. We didn't want Justin to be flowing along and do it then and have him feel it was an indication we were not happy. I wasn't sure when we might get to it.
"When he tweaked his hamstring, obviously we had to do something. We rehearsed seven or eight plays."
Ginn added, "It was just great to see how many positions I could play and how many times I could get the ball. I was just trying to make something out of nothing when I had it."
Tressel was asked how his team was able to play through controversy in recent weeks surrounding allegations by Maurice Clarett as well as the Smith suspension.
"I think our guys are very proud of themselves," Tressel said. "They are confident in who we are and what we do and what our program is all about. They don't blink.
"There may be some mistakes or errors or bad fortune, but they don't blink. They are interested in being a good football team. They are pretty special people and a lot of it is because of who they are."
Ohio State came out smoking to start the first half. Oklahoma State began the half with possession, but after two plays, Cowboys quarterback Donovan Woods was intercepted by Ohio State linebacker Bobby Carpenter, whose return gave Ohio State possession at the Oklahoma State 28-yard line. The Buckeyes struck quickly as on the third play of the possession, Justin Zwick hit Anthony Gonzalez from 23 yards out to put Ohio State on top. The PAT from Mike Nugent gave Ohio State a 7-0 lead.
Oklahoma State followed up their opening possession with a three-and-out. Punter Cole Farden attempted to punt away from Ohio State returner Ted Ginn, but the punt was shanked and sailed out of bounds after traveling just 17 yards, giving Ohio State possession at the Oklahoma State 40-yard line.
The plot quickly thickened for the Buckeyes as on the second play of the possession, Justin Zwick pulled up lame after rolling out and attempting a pass. Zwick suffered a hamstring pull on the play, but instead of putting in true freshman Todd Boeckman and losing Boeckman's redshirt, Ohio State put Ted Ginn at quarterback, who made a short run to set up a 37-yard field goal attempt from Mike Nugent. Nugent's field goal sailed through the upright to put the Buckeyes up 10-0.
Oklahoma State's nightmare beginning continued on the following possession. After successful runs by quarterback Donovan Woods and wide receiver Prentiss Elliot, Woods simply lost control of the football on a scramble, which resulted in a fumble recovery by Ohio State defensive tackle Joel Penton, giving Ohio State possession for the third straight time inside Oklahoma State territory.
Ohio State alternated between a sore Justin Zwick and Ted Ginn on the following drive, and Ohio State moved down into field goal range with the help of a 9-yard catch from tight end Rory Nicol, a 13-yard run by Lydell Ross, a 6-yard catch by Santonio Holmes, and a 10-yard run from Ginn. Nugent hit another field goal for Ohio State, this one from 35 yards to put the Buckeyes up 13-0.
A personal foul penalty on the following kickoff pushed Oklahoma State's starting field position on the next drive back to their own 10-yard line, and the Cowboys were unable to do much from there as they were forced to punt back to Ohio State after six plays. The Buckeyes once again started with excellent field position, but Oklahoma State's defense held for the first time in the game as Ohio State was forced to punt after three plays.
The Cowboys once again took over with poor field position and continued to struggle on offense, punting the ball back to Ohio State after two first downs and seven plays. The Buckeyes took over on their own 22-yard line, and after three runs by Branden Joe and a catch by Santonio Holmes pushed the ball out to midfield, Ted Ginn turned in the first half's most electrifying play when he took a short pass from Zwick, ran towards the sideline and then doubled-back all the way across the field for a 41-yard gain and a 1st-and-goal for the Buckeyes.
Two runs by Branden Joe gave OSU a 3rd-and-goal at the 1-yard line, and Lydell Ross finished the drive with a touchdown dive from one yard out. Mike Nugent's extra point gave OSU a 20-0 lead and also broke the all-time scoring record in Ohio State history, surpassing Pete Johnson's record of 348 points.
After a three-and-out by Oklahoma State, Ohio State began on their own 43-yard line. The Buckeyes moved into field goal range quickly on a 9-yard catch by Holmes, a 4-yard run by Joe and a 14-yard catch by Brandon Schnittker. Mike Nugent capped the drive four plays later with his third field goal of the night, pushing the Ohio State lead to 23-0.
Oklahoma State followed with their best drive of the first half as the Cowboys found themselves in field goal range after a 20-yard pass to Chijuan Mack was complimented with a 15-yard personal foul penalty on Ohio State's Donte Whitner. Oklahoma State's misfortunes continued though as a 42-yard field goal attempt by Jason Ricks sailed wide right. Ohio State ran out the clock to end the first half with a 23-0 lead.
The second half opened on a controversial note as on the first play after receiving the kickoff, Ohio State turned the ball over when a fumble was called after a Branden Joe run during which Joe appeared to be down by contact. Oklahoma State took over at the Ohio State 33-yard line and moved to a 1st-and-goal after a 16-yard run by Prentiss Elliot on fourth down. But the Cowboys failed to score as after three unsuccessful attempts, a fake field goal run by holder John Wohlgemuth failed, giving OSU the ball at the 6-yard line.
The Ohio State offense continued rolling on the next drive. 16- and 26-yard runs from Lydell Ross and another electric 30-yard run on a reverse by Ted Ginn helped the Buckeye offense storm down the field and make the lead 30-0 when Ginn took the snap at quarterback and ran in from 6 yards out.
The Buckeyes extended the lead to 33-0 in the fourth quarter after a solid 15-play drive beginning at the 3-yard line put Ohio State in position for one last Mike Nugent field goal, this one from 37 yards out. Nugent finished his OSU career atop the record books with 356 total points in his Ohio State career.
Oklahoma State got on the scoreboard on the following drive as Donovan and DaJuan Woods led the team downfield on a quick drive that was capped by a 5-yard run by Shawn Willis. The PAT by Jason Ricks made the Ohio State lead 33-7. The Buckeyes were able to hold the Cowboys out of the end zone the rest of the way, icing a 33-7 Alamo Bowl victory.
Ohio State dominated in every facet of the game and put in an impressive performance defensively, shutting down the Oklahoma State running attack and holding 1,400-yard-plus rusher Vernand Morency to just 20 yards on 8 carries. Quarterback Donovan Woods and wide receiver Prentiss Elliot were responsible for most of the Oklahoma State running attack as Woods rushed for 67 yards and Elliot 39 unofficially. Through the air, Woods' unofficial stats were 14-of-30 for 136 yards and one interception.
Leading the way on the ground for Ohio State was Lydell Ross, who ended his career with a strong showing, putting up 99 yards and one touchdown on 12 carries. Senior Branden Joe chipped in with 54 yards on 13 carries. Santonio Holmes followed Ginn on the receiving list, catching 5 passes for 47 yards.
Ohio State finishes the season at 8-4, while Oklahoma State fell to 7-5.
- The early turnovers were uncharacteristic of Oklahoma State, who before the game was ranked No. 1 in the country with a +18 turnover margin.
- Some Ohio State senior walk-ons got to see action late in the fourth, including running backs Roshown Parker and Michael DeMaria, who each received carries. Offensive linemen John Conroy and John McLaughlin also saw time.
- Mike Nugent came into tonight's game with 341 total points, needing seven to match Pete Johnson's all-time OSU record. Nugent's 15 points puts him at the top of the all-time list with 356.
- Ohio State outgained Oklahoma State 204-138 in the first half and 390 to 274 for the entire game. Justin Zwick went 10 of 13 for 123 yards and one touchdown in the first half despite a slight hamstring pull. Ohio State won the battle on the ground, 202 to 142.
- Jim Tressel could not escape the Gatorade bucket, no matter how hard he tried. After avoiding the bucket on the sidelines, Thomas Matthews and Lydell Ross ran up behind the coach at midfield when he was looking to shake the hand of Oklahoma State coach Les Miles and gave Tressel one last icy celebration.
- Tonight's attendance of 65,265 was the largest crowd in Alamo Bowl history.