Ginn Ties Big Ten Mark With Punt Return Score

OSU sophomore wide receiver and return man extraordinaire added another chapter to the school's record book with his 62-yard punt return touchdown against Indiana. Click here for more on Ginn's latest big day.

Everybody wondered where Ted Ginn Jr.'s smile had gone.

It turns out, his Ohio State teammate Troy Smith said, it never really went away.

"Teddy, he always smiles," Smith said of Ginn, his former Cleveland Glenville teammate and receiving target with the Buckeyes. "That's what he does. We call him the jokester on the team because he never quits playing around. He's always smiling."

Ginn, who had four punt return touchdowns last year as a freshman, appears to be coming out of his early season funk. He had a stunning 62-yard punt return for a touchdown in Saturday's 41-10 win over Indiana. That made up for a Ginn fumble that IU's John Pannozzo returned 57 yards for a touchdown.

It also came on a day when Ginn had what would have been his first career kickoff return for a touchdown – an equally nice 98-yarder -- negated by a personal foul penalty by a teammate trailing the play.

That punt return score came on the heels of Ginn's 57-yard touchdown catch from a week earlier in the home win over Michigan State. And, for good measure, it allowed him to match Iowa's Tim Dwight as the Big Ten career leader in punt return touchdowns with five.

It's all in a day's work for Ginn, who also had four catches for 59 yards against the Hoosiers.

"I play the game for my seniors, my team, my coaches, my family, me and then the fans," Ginn said. "I think that's how it is supposed to go. You are supposed to put team over self always. I try to go out and play for my seniors and play as hard as I can for them."

OSU coach Jim Tressel said he never saw Ginn get down.

"Teddy loves to play," Tressel said. "He wants to do as well as his teammates hope he does. If he doesn't do as well as everybody expects, he's disappointed. Him getting that return is big for him.

"He has very high expectations of himself. There is a little load on him. I know he feels good that he was able to break out today."

Ginn recalled what he saw on the punt return.

"I hit the hole like I was supposed to," he said. "There were some guys in there and I just was able to bounce it out and get loose.

"I just run in there and try and make something happen. If I can get 10 or 20 yards, that's a great punt return."

He said he did not let the personal foul on his kick return – a penalty committed by walk-on Trever Robinson – get him down.

"I was happy because I thought we put some points on the board," he said. "Then (after the penalty), I just wanted to do it again."

The kick return included several of Ginn's patented sidesteps.

"Sometimes, you wonder where he's sidestepping to," Tressel said. "He has great vision and you just say, ‘Oh, there he goes.' Sometimes they go for a minus-2. But he believes he can break a play. So you take that risk."

Tressel did not like seeing the penalty, which was well behind the play.

"If he gets the ball and he's even with people, take a knee," Tressel said. "Don't worry about him. It is really disconcerting to have a clip that far behind the play."

The kick return was another amazing Ginn highlight where he made several IU defenders miss before sprinting away from the pack.

"Truthfully, I don't remember anything about the kick return. I saw the end zone and I went," he said. "We had a left return on, but the left wasn't working I had to do something else."

Ginn was asked if the kick return could have eclipsed his punt return touchdown against Michigan last year as, perhaps, his favorite play as a Buckeye.

"No, because Michigan is Michigan," he said. "We were at home, that was a big deal."

Ginn was spotted Saturday making several key blocks, including springing Smith on his 23-yard touchdown run.

"I just try to go into the game and do things right," he said. "The running back or the quarterback are always one block away or one play away from scoring. That's where the downfield blocking comes in."

OSU had almost perfect balance, racking up 240 yards rushing and 238 passing in the win.

"That's how it is supposed to go," Ginn said. "We have to do our part, run our plays and just play hard."

Smith and Ginn played one season together at Glenville, although they have known each other and played backyard ball since childhood.

"Between he and myself, we have some chemistry going from younger times until now," Smith said. "We're working hard to get that back."

Smith's two touchdowns on Saturday give him eight for the year – the same total Ginn scored as a freshman.

"I think everybody needs to take one to the house now and then," Smith joked when asked about Ginn's scoring drought. (He now has three touchdowns on the year.)

"But, really, for reassurance it probably helped him to know he probably is still the fastest guy in cleats. But he is an unselfish player. This is twice now this year that he's had a long touchdown brought back by a penalty. But he's still there. He isn't showing any discouragement," Smith said.

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