After Pitt Loss, Dantonio Rallies UC For OSU

For the second time in three years, former Ohio State defensive coordinator Mark Dantonio will bring his Cincinnati team up I-71 to take on the Buckeyes and his former boss, Jim Tressel. This time, though, UC will be facing the nation's No. 1-ranked team. And the game comes eight days after the Bearcats dropped their Big East opener to Pitt. Click here for more.

Coming off a 33-15 home loss to Pittsburgh in his team's Big East opener last Friday, Cincinnati head coach Mark Dantonio would be within his rights to dread Saturday's game at No. 1-ranked Ohio State (noon, ESPN-Plus).

But Dantonio, who served as Jim Tressel's defensive coordinator at OSU between 2001-03, is not looking at it that way.

"We have chosen to approach it that we are excited about that opportunity," Dantonio said. "It's not every day that you get a chance to go in and play the No. 1 team. It's something they will be able to talk about for the rest of their lives. Without having a positive outlook and without having adrenaline and enthusiasm – especially after the Pitt game – you have to get that back. That's what is exciting about it. We have a lot of players from Ohio.

"From a mental standpoint, we will be prepared and we will know what to do. We will play hard with effort and toughness. We have to execute and have an attention to detail and play very well fundamentally. The ball has to bounce our way some. That's where we're at with the whole situation."

Dantonio is early in his third season as the head coach at Cincinnati. He is overseeing a program that is in transition, beginning its second season in the Big East. A year ago, UC was 4-4 before losses down the stretch to bowl teams West Virginia, South Florida and Rutgers denied the Bearcats a second straight bowl bid.

UC opened this season with a 31-0 win over Division I-AA Eastern Kentucky and had its chances last Friday against Pitt. Dantonio does not want to see his team, which returned as many as 18 starters from a year ago, fall into a trap early this season.

"I think we're energized," Dantonio said. "Any time you are from Ohio, this is a special game. That's number one. Secondly, in 25 years of coaching, I think I have played a No. 1 team twice in my college coaching career. One of those was the national championship game (against Miami, Fla.). These are opportunities where the nation not only focuses on the Buckeyes but also on the University of Cincinnati. I think that is a positive thing.

"We need to put the Pitt game behind us and move forward. It's a huge challenge, but life is about challenges and about overcoming challenges and we will look forward to that opportunity.

"We have a lot of players from Ohio who will take this game very personal. We expect a great effort and we expect to go up there and win."

When asked what it would take for Cincinnati – a 30-point underdog – to pull off such an upset, Dantonio said, "We have to stop the big play. We have to eliminate the big play and force them into turnovers. We have to win the turnover margin and get the ball on the plus side of the 50. Those are things that are key in playing Ohio State right now."

Tough Conference Opener

The Bearcats trailed Pitt 7-0 after a hard fought first half. But a handful of breakdowns allowed the Panthers to grab a commanding 23-0 lead midway through the third quarter.

UC rallied with a pair of touchdowns to trim the gap to 26-15 and had a chance to get even closer. But Pitt held on and won going away with a late interception return for a touchdown.

"If you looked at us last year against Pittsburgh, we were improved," said Dantonio, whose squad dropped a 38-20 decision at Pitt a year ago. "We now have some experience. On third downs, Pitt was 1 out of 11. But they hurt us on deep balls. If you take away their three big plays on first down – which you can't do that – it's a different game. We need to be able to play the ball in the deep part of the field. On Friday, they made a couple great catches.

"Overall defensively, I thought we were very solid. They did not rush for 100 yards. We took the ball away from them a little bit and we were good on third down. I think we have improved as a defensive football team, but that remains to be seen against Ohio State."

Pitt quarterback Tyler Palko burned UC for touchdown passes of 80 and 55 yards in the decisive third quarter.

"Big plays hurt us in the second half," Dantonio said. "We had three big plays go out on us with two of those going for touchdowns. We battled back to 26-15 and were on their 15-yard line. We didn't make it on fourth down. Then, they had an interception for a touchdown.

"Those plays were the difference in the game. They hit one with perfect coverage. They made a perfect throw and catch. Then, they hit one and our guy thinks he is out of bounds and he's not. He runs 80 yards for a touchdown. That was very disappointing. Then, they hit another one on first-and-10. We're in position to make the play and we don't and they score.

"We did some things well and played well on third down. We need to continue to get better. When it gets close, we need to be able to win those and play perfect."

In the first two games, Dantonio shuttled quarterbacks Dustin Grutza and Nick Davila. He has indicated that Grutza, a sophomore, will be the starter against OSU. He was 21 of 35 passing for 189 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions against Pitt.

"The plan right now is Dustin is our guy," Dantonio said. "I think he played well enough in the game, although the last interception we were a little bit upset about. I think he played pretty well. He missed the guy in the end zone late in the game that could have cut it to five, maybe even three with the two-point conversion.

"But I think he hung in there and played solid for the most part."

As a true freshman last year, Grutza threw for 1,799 yards and 11 touchdowns against 11 interceptions.

"Dustin played for us last year as a true freshman, including a game at Penn State," Dantonio said. "He'll be ready. He won't be in awe or anything. He'll be prepared. Nick will also be prepared to play."

Through two games, UC has split time with three players at tailback: Bradley Glatthaar (17 carries, 83 yards, two TDs), Greg Moore (15 carries, 56 yards) and Butler Benton (15 carries, 53 yards, one TD). The top receiver is Dominick Goodman (12 catches, 118 yards, two TDs).

UC welcomed back 10 starters from last year's defense, although that unit surrendered a Big East-worst 401.6 yards and 31.4 points per game a year ago. The key names appear to be cornerback John Bowie (16 tackles), safetyHaruki Nakamura (11 tackles, one interception), linebacker Kevin McCullough (10 tackles) and defensive tackle Tony Carvitti (two sacks).

"You play the hand that is dealt you," Dantonio said. "We'll play hard and we'll be back."

Dantonio's Decision

Dantonio, a Zanesville, Ohio, native, played college football as a defensive back at South Carolina. He spent time as a graduate assistant at Ohio U., Purdue and Ohio State before working as an assistant at Akron and for five seasons (1986-90) as an assistant for Tressel at Youngstown State.

He then made stops at Kansas, Michigan State and OSU before landing the job at UC.

Dantonio helped Tressel win the national title at OSU in 2002 and also claim a Fiesta Bowl win over Kansas State after the 2003 season. It was at that time – during preparation for that bowl game – that it was announced that Dantonio would be heading to UC to replace Rick Minter as the Bearcats head coach.

"I was in the interview process with Cincinnati," Dantonio said. "At one point, it looked like I might not get the job. I drove back down through the Ohio State campus and I was almost at ease with the situation because I knew I was at a great place. There was no need for me to move. I was working in a great situation for a great person.

"As I talked with the people in my life who have been instrumental in my coaching career, they thought if I got this opportunity there was no way I could pass it up if I wanted to be a head coach."

In many ways, Dantonio said he has tried to pattern his program after what Tressel has accomplished – both on and off the field – at YSU and OSU.

"Ultimately, I became a head coach to try and do some of the things Coach Tressel has done, not just to win football games but to do some of the things in the community," he said. "Ideally, you coach to try and impact young people and impact people in the community around you to make it a better place to live. That's what he's been able to do.

"In that time period, you need to win some football games, and that's what we're going to do. But that's the long-term goal. We want to win championships and will work hard at that doing that. But in the meantime, we want to impact young people, make them successful people in society and graduate our players."

Dantonio arrived at UC at an interesting time. He inherited a veteran team from Minter in 2004 and helped guide them to a 7-5 record in their final year in Conference USA. That season was capped by a bowl win over Marshall, which was UC's first bowl victory since 1997 and just the fourth in eight appearances in school history.

UC was 2-5 and finished sixth in its first season in the Big East. But with over $100 million in facilities upgrades and a facelift to Nippert Stadium, Dantonio believes the Bearcats can contend in their new conference. He discussed the plan to upgrade UC's recruiting.

"We have looked at our situation from a recruiting standpoint," he said. "We feel we are in a more of Midwestern situation with recruiting against the likes of Louisville, West Virginia, Syracuse and the rest.

"The second thing was we were the only other BCS team in Ohio besides Ohio State. That makes us special. You can say you want to go to Miami and that's fine. You can win 10 games (there) and play in an oh-by-the-way bowl. Here, you can go to a BCS bowl.

"These facilities put us in a situation where we can attract a great player. We're not to that level where we are going head to head with Ohio State. But we are going head to head with the others like Iowa and West Virginia. We will win some of those. If we do that, we'll improve the talent of our football team."

Previous Meetings

Ohio State leads the all-time series with Cincinnati 12-2. UC won games in 1896 (8-6) and 1897 (34-0) and OSU has won all nine meetings since.

The two schools did not play between 1931 and 1999, when they began a four-game contract (three in Columbus, one in Cincinnati). This is the last game on that contract.

In 1999, Cincinnati grabbed a 17-3 second-quarter lead before the Buckeyes exploded for 31 straight points in a 34-20 win. Quarterback Steve Bellisari threw for 197 yards and one touchdown and also rushed for a score. Receiver Ken-Yon Rambo had three catches for 164 yards and a score for the Buckeyes.

For UC, Deontey Kenner completed 39-of-55 passes for 343 yards with two interceptions and added 64 yards on eight rushes.

The 2002 game was played at Paul Brown Stadium, home of the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals, and UC nearly pulled off the shocking upset. The Buckeyes, on their way to the national title, had to rally late for a 23-19 win.

OSU trailed 9-0 early and was still behind before quarterback Craig Krenzel busted in for the 6-yard game winning touchdown with 3:44 left. UC quarterback Gino Guidugli, who threw for 324 yards and a touchdown, drove the Bearcats down to the OSU 15 in the game's final minute. But his pass on fourth down was intercepted by OSU's Will Allen in the end zone with 26 seconds left. Guidugli also threw an interception to two-way threat Chris Gamble and lost a fumble in the fourth quarter as well.

In addition to his touchdown run, Krenzel threw for 129 yards and two touchdowns against two interceptions. Tailback Lydell Ross, playing in place of the injured Maurice Clarett, had 130 yards rushing on 23 carries.

The crowd for that game -- 66,319 – set records for Paul Brown Stadium, UC and Conference USA. It was also the record attendance for any sporting event in the Cincinnati area.

Dantonio made his college head coaching debut in the 2004 game, which Ohio State won 27-6. The Buckeyes led 10-6 in the third quarter before breaking the game open with a pair of touchdowns and a late field goal.

Ross had 17 carries for 141 yards and a touchdown in that game for the Buckeyes. Justin Zwick, now an OSU senior, started at quarterback and was 14 of 26 passing for 213 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Troy Smith, now the starter for the Buckeyes, came off the bench and hit 2 of 3 passes for 29 yards and a touchdown.

"That was my first time as a head coach and going back there," Dantonio said. "I knew so many of the players. I knew just about all of them.

"This year, a lot of the names have changed. I only know a few of them. Some of the coaches have also changed. It will be a great experience for all of us. Certainly, my focus is on Cincinnati and what we need to get done."

The schools have agreed to a home-and-home series with OSU visiting Cincinnati in 2012 and hosting the Bearcats in 2014.

Also Notable

* There are a few family ties and college ties in this game.

Brothers will be on opposite sides here as OSU quarterback Todd Boeckman faces his brother, Toby, a freshman offensive lineman for the Bearcats.

UC freshman fullback Marcus Waugh's father, Tom, was the starting center and a captain of the 1979 Buckeye squad. That team posted an 11-1 record losing 17-16 to Southern California in the Rose Bowl and finishing with a No. 4 national ranking. Tom was a first-team All-Big Ten pick and lettered four years for the Buckeyes.

Also, UC linebackers/special teams coach Mike Tressel is the son of OSU running backs coach Dick Tressel and the nephew of OSU head coach Jim Tressel.

Mike Tressel and fellow UC assistants Mark Staten and Tim Hinton served previously as graduate assistants at Ohio State. Tressel and Staten were contributors to OSU's 2002 national championship team.

OSU quarterbacks coach, Joe Daniels, coached at Cincinnati from 1997 to 2000. Daniels was Minter's co-offensive coordinator in 2000 before coming to OSU to be a member of Jim Tressel's first OSU staff in 2001. OSU tight ends coach John Peterson served as a graduate assistant at Cincinnati in 1990-91.

* Cincinnati is 1-25 all-time against top-10 teams. The Bearcats have lost their last five games against top-10 teams, dating to a 17-12 upset of then-No. 9 Wisconsin on Sept. 18, 1999, at UC. That string includes the OSU wins over UC in 2002 (when OSU was No. 6) and 2004 (OSU was No. 9).

UC's only previous outing against the No. 1-ranked team was a 45-13 loss to Miami (Fla.) on Oct. 18, 1986, at Nippert Stadium.

* As noted above, Dantonio said he could recollect two times in his career when he has coached against a No. 1- ranked team. One was OSU's 2003 Fiesta Bowl national championship win over Miami (Fla.).

And the other?

"I was on the Michigan State squad that came there in 1998 as 28-point underdogs," Dantonio said. "They came in there to Ohio State and won (28-24)."

* Ohio State is 21-2 (.913) in home games over the past four years. Only USC – with a perfect 18-0 mark – has done better at home in the same time period.

* OSU is now 19-2 under Tressel in the month of September. The two losses were at UCLA in 2001 and at home to Texas last year.

* This is OSU Athletic Hall of Fame weekend. The class of seven men and five women – headlined by former football stars Eddie George and Ted Provost – will be honored at halftime.

* Former OSU quarterback Craig Krenzel will serve as the honorary captain for this game.

* Cincinnati area players on Ohio State's roster include the following: Andre Amos-CB (Middletown), Jake Ballard-TE (Springboro), Ryan Lukens-LB (Moeller), Tyler Moeller-LB (Colerain), Steve Rehring-OT (Lakota West), Rob Schoenhoft-QB (St. Xavier), and Connor Smith-OL (Colerain).

* Ohio State has seven players on its roster from Cleveland Glenville High School coached by Ted Ginn Sr. They include Bryant Browning, Ted Ginn Jr., Jamario O'Neal, Robert Rose, Ray Small, Troy Smith, and Curtis Terry. Cincinnati has three players from Glenville: Freddie Lenix, Curtis Young and Angelo Craig.

* Here is a link to our Game Data page (pertinent info, TV clearances, depth charts and a prediction) for UC-OSU:

Game Data: Cincinnati at Ohio State




Buckeye Sports Top Stories

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","mobileBody":"Coming off a 33-15 home loss to Pittsburgh in his team's Big East opener last Friday, Cincinnati head coach Mark Dantonio would be within his rights to dread Saturday's game at No. 1-ranked Ohio State (noon, ESPN-Plus).

But Dantonio, who served as Jim Tressel's defensive coordinator at OSU between 2001-03, is not looking at it that way.

\"We have chosen to approach it that we are excited about that opportunity,\" Dantonio said. \"It's not every day that you get a chance to go in and play the No. 1 team. It's something they will be able to talk about for the rest of their lives. Without having a positive outlook and without having adrenaline and enthusiasm – especially after the Pitt game – you have to get that back. That's what is exciting about it. We have a lot of players from Ohio.

\"From a mental standpoint, we will be prepared and we will know what to do. We will play hard with effort and toughness. We have to execute and have an attention to detail and play very well fundamentally. The ball has to bounce our way some. That's where we're at with the whole situation.\"

Dantonio is early in his third season as the head coach at Cincinnati. He is overseeing a program that is in transition, beginning its second season in the Big East. A year ago, UC was 4-4 before losses down the stretch to bowl teams West Virginia, South Florida and Rutgers denied the Bearcats a second straight bowl bid.

UC opened this season with a 31-0 win over Division I-AA Eastern Kentucky and had its chances last Friday against Pitt. Dantonio does not want to see his team, which returned as many as 18 starters from a year ago, fall into a trap early this season.

\"I think we're energized,\" Dantonio said. \"Any time you are from Ohio, this is a special game. That's number one. Secondly, in 25 years of coaching, I think I have played a No. 1 team twice in my college coaching career. One of those was the national championship game (against Miami, Fla.). These are opportunities where the nation not only focuses on the Buckeyes but also on the University of Cincinnati. I think that is a positive thing.

\"We need to put the Pitt game behind us and move forward. It's a huge challenge, but life is about challenges and about overcoming challenges and we will look forward to that opportunity.

\"We have a lot of players from Ohio who will take this game very personal. We expect a great effort and we expect to go up there and win.\"

When asked what it would take for Cincinnati – a 30-point underdog – to pull off such an upset, Dantonio said, \"We have to stop the big play. We have to eliminate the big play and force them into turnovers. We have to win the turnover margin and get the ball on the plus side of the 50. Those are things that are key in playing Ohio State right now.\"

Tough Conference Opener

The Bearcats trailed Pitt 7-0 after a hard fought first half. But a handful of breakdowns allowed the Panthers to grab a commanding 23-0 lead midway through the third quarter.

UC rallied with a pair of touchdowns to trim the gap to 26-15 and had a chance to get even closer. But Pitt held on and won going away with a late interception return for a touchdown.

\"If you looked at us last year against Pittsburgh, we were improved,\" said Dantonio, whose squad dropped a 38-20 decision at Pitt a year ago. \"We now have some experience. On third downs, Pitt was 1 out of 11. But they hurt us on deep balls. If you take away their three big plays on first down – which you can't do that – it's a different game. We need to be able to play the ball in the deep part of the field. On Friday, they made a couple great catches.

\"Overall defensively, I thought we were very solid. They did not rush for 100 yards. We took the ball away from them a little bit and we were good on third down. I think we have improved as a defensive football team, but that remains to be seen against Ohio State.\"

Pitt quarterback Tyler Palko burned UC for touchdown passes of 80 and 55 yards in the decisive third quarter.

\"Big plays hurt us in the second half,\" Dantonio said. \"We had three big plays go out on us with two of those going for touchdowns. We battled back to 26-15 and were on their 15-yard line. We didn't make it on fourth down. Then, they had an interception for a touchdown.

\"Those plays were the difference in the game. They hit one with perfect coverage. They made a perfect throw and catch. Then, they hit one and our guy thinks he is out of bounds and he's not. He runs 80 yards for a touchdown. That was very disappointing. Then, they hit another one on first-and-10. We're in position to make the play and we don't and they score.

\"We did some things well and played well on third down. We need to continue to get better. When it gets close, we need to be able to win those and play perfect.\"

In the first two games, Dantonio shuttled quarterbacks Dustin Grutza and Nick Davila. He has indicated that Grutza, a sophomore, will be the starter against OSU. He was 21 of 35 passing for 189 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions against Pitt.

\"The plan right now is Dustin is our guy,\" Dantonio said. \"I think he played well enough in the game, although the last interception we were a little bit upset about. I think he played pretty well. He missed the guy in the end zone late in the game that could have cut it to five, maybe even three with the two-point conversion.

\"But I think he hung in there and played solid for the most part.\"

As a true freshman last year, Grutza threw for 1,799 yards and 11 touchdowns against 11 interceptions.

\"Dustin played for us last year as a true freshman, including a game at Penn State,\" Dantonio said. \"He'll be ready. He won't be in awe or anything. He'll be prepared. Nick will also be prepared to play.\"

Through two games, UC has split time with three players at tailback: Bradley Glatthaar (17 carries, 83 yards, two TDs), Greg Moore (15 carries, 56 yards) and Butler Benton (15 carries, 53 yards, one TD). The top receiver is Dominick Goodman (12 catches, 118 yards, two TDs).

UC welcomed back 10 starters from last year's defense, although that unit surrendered a Big East-worst 401.6 yards and 31.4 points per game a year ago. The key names appear to be cornerback John Bowie (16 tackles), safetyHaruki Nakamura (11 tackles, one interception), linebacker Kevin McCullough (10 tackles) and defensive tackle Tony Carvitti (two sacks).

\"You play the hand that is dealt you,\" Dantonio said. \"We'll play hard and we'll be back.\"

Dantonio's Decision

Dantonio, a Zanesville, Ohio, native, played college football as a defensive back at South Carolina. He spent time as a graduate assistant at Ohio U., Purdue and Ohio State before working as an assistant at Akron and for five seasons (1986-90) as an assistant for Tressel at Youngstown State.

He then made stops at Kansas, Michigan State and OSU before landing the job at UC.

Dantonio helped Tressel win the national title at OSU in 2002 and also claim a Fiesta Bowl win over Kansas State after the 2003 season. It was at that time – during preparation for that bowl game – that it was announced that Dantonio would be heading to UC to replace Rick Minter as the Bearcats head coach.

\"I was in the interview process with Cincinnati,\" Dantonio said. \"At one point, it looked like I might not get the job. I drove back down through the Ohio State campus and I was almost at ease with the situation because I knew I was at a great place. There was no need for me to move. I was working in a great situation for a great person.

\"As I talked with the people in my life who have been instrumental in my coaching career, they thought if I got this opportunity there was no way I could pass it up if I wanted to be a head coach.\"

In many ways, Dantonio said he has tried to pattern his program after what Tressel has accomplished – both on and off the field – at YSU and OSU.

\"Ultimately, I became a head coach to try and do some of the things Coach Tressel has done, not just to win football games but to do some of the things in the community,\" he said. \"Ideally, you coach to try and impact young people and impact people in the community around you to make it a better place to live. That's what he's been able to do.

\"In that time period, you need to win some football games, and that's what we're going to do. But that's the long-term goal. We want to win championships and will work hard at that doing that. But in the meantime, we want to impact young people, make them successful people in society and graduate our players.\"

Dantonio arrived at UC at an interesting time. He inherited a veteran team from Minter in 2004 and helped guide them to a 7-5 record in their final year in Conference USA. That season was capped by a bowl win over Marshall, which was UC's first bowl victory since 1997 and just the fourth in eight appearances in school history.

UC was 2-5 and finished sixth in its first season in the Big East. But with over $100 million in facilities upgrades and a facelift to Nippert Stadium, Dantonio believes the Bearcats can contend in their new conference. He discussed the plan to upgrade UC's recruiting.

\"We have looked at our situation from a recruiting standpoint,\" he said. \"We feel we are in a more of Midwestern situation with recruiting against the likes of Louisville, West Virginia, Syracuse and the rest.

\"The second thing was we were the only other BCS team in Ohio besides Ohio State. That makes us special. You can say you want to go to Miami and that's fine. You can win 10 games (there) and play in an oh-by-the-way bowl. Here, you can go to a BCS bowl.

\"These facilities put us in a situation where we can attract a great player. We're not to that level where we are going head to head with Ohio State. But we are going head to head with the others like Iowa and West Virginia. We will win some of those. If we do that, we'll improve the talent of our football team.\"

Previous Meetings

Ohio State leads the all-time series with Cincinnati 12-2. UC won games in 1896 (8-6) and 1897 (34-0) and OSU has won all nine meetings since.

The two schools did not play between 1931 and 1999, when they began a four-game contract (three in Columbus, one in Cincinnati). This is the last game on that contract.

In 1999, Cincinnati grabbed a 17-3 second-quarter lead before the Buckeyes exploded for 31 straight points in a 34-20 win. Quarterback Steve Bellisari threw for 197 yards and one touchdown and also rushed for a score. Receiver Ken-Yon Rambo had three catches for 164 yards and a score for the Buckeyes.

For UC, Deontey Kenner completed 39-of-55 passes for 343 yards with two interceptions and added 64 yards on eight rushes.

The 2002 game was played at Paul Brown Stadium, home of the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals, and UC nearly pulled off the shocking upset. The Buckeyes, on their way to the national title, had to rally late for a 23-19 win.

OSU trailed 9-0 early and was still behind before quarterback Craig Krenzel busted in for the 6-yard game winning touchdown with 3:44 left. UC quarterback Gino Guidugli, who threw for 324 yards and a touchdown, drove the Bearcats down to the OSU 15 in the game's final minute. But his pass on fourth down was intercepted by OSU's Will Allen in the end zone with 26 seconds left. Guidugli also threw an interception to two-way threat Chris Gamble and lost a fumble in the fourth quarter as well.

In addition to his touchdown run, Krenzel threw for 129 yards and two touchdowns against two interceptions. Tailback Lydell Ross, playing in place of the injured Maurice Clarett, had 130 yards rushing on 23 carries.

The crowd for that game -- 66,319 – set records for Paul Brown Stadium, UC and Conference USA. It was also the record attendance for any sporting event in the Cincinnati area.

Dantonio made his college head coaching debut in the 2004 game, which Ohio State won 27-6. The Buckeyes led 10-6 in the third quarter before breaking the game open with a pair of touchdowns and a late field goal.

Ross had 17 carries for 141 yards and a touchdown in that game for the Buckeyes. Justin Zwick, now an OSU senior, started at quarterback and was 14 of 26 passing for 213 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Troy Smith, now the starter for the Buckeyes, came off the bench and hit 2 of 3 passes for 29 yards and a touchdown.

\"That was my first time as a head coach and going back there,\" Dantonio said. \"I knew so many of the players. I knew just about all of them.

\"This year, a lot of the names have changed. I only know a few of them. Some of the coaches have also changed. It will be a great experience for all of us. Certainly, my focus is on Cincinnati and what we need to get done.\"

The schools have agreed to a home-and-home series with OSU visiting Cincinnati in 2012 and hosting the Bearcats in 2014.

Also Notable

* There are a few family ties and college ties in this game.

Brothers will be on opposite sides here as OSU quarterback Todd Boeckman faces his brother, Toby, a freshman offensive lineman for the Bearcats.

UC freshman fullback Marcus Waugh's father, Tom, was the starting center and a captain of the 1979 Buckeye squad. That team posted an 11-1 record losing 17-16 to Southern California in the Rose Bowl and finishing with a No. 4 national ranking. Tom was a first-team All-Big Ten pick and lettered four years for the Buckeyes.

Also, UC linebackers/special teams coach Mike Tressel is the son of OSU running backs coach Dick Tressel and the nephew of OSU head coach Jim Tressel.

Mike Tressel and fellow UC assistants Mark Staten and Tim Hinton served previously as graduate assistants at Ohio State. Tressel and Staten were contributors to OSU's 2002 national championship team.

OSU quarterbacks coach, Joe Daniels, coached at Cincinnati from 1997 to 2000. Daniels was Minter's co-offensive coordinator in 2000 before coming to OSU to be a member of Jim Tressel's first OSU staff in 2001. OSU tight ends coach John Peterson served as a graduate assistant at Cincinnati in 1990-91.

* Cincinnati is 1-25 all-time against top-10 teams. The Bearcats have lost their last five games against top-10 teams, dating to a 17-12 upset of then-No. 9 Wisconsin on Sept. 18, 1999, at UC. That string includes the OSU wins over UC in 2002 (when OSU was No. 6) and 2004 (OSU was No. 9).

UC's only previous outing against the No. 1-ranked team was a 45-13 loss to Miami (Fla.) on Oct. 18, 1986, at Nippert Stadium.

* As noted above, Dantonio said he could recollect two times in his career when he has coached against a No. 1- ranked team. One was OSU's 2003 Fiesta Bowl national championship win over Miami (Fla.).

And the other?

\"I was on the Michigan State squad that came there in 1998 as 28-point underdogs,\" Dantonio said. \"They came in there to Ohio State and won (28-24).\"

* Ohio State is 21-2 (.913) in home games over the past four years. Only USC – with a perfect 18-0 mark – has done better at home in the same time period.

* OSU is now 19-2 under Tressel in the month of September. The two losses were at UCLA in 2001 and at home to Texas last year.

* This is OSU Athletic Hall of Fame weekend. The class of seven men and five women – headlined by former football stars Eddie George and Ted Provost – will be honored at halftime.

* Former OSU quarterback Craig Krenzel will serve as the honorary captain for this game.

* Cincinnati area players on Ohio State's roster include the following: Andre Amos-CB (Middletown), Jake Ballard-TE (Springboro), Ryan Lukens-LB (Moeller), Tyler Moeller-LB (Colerain), Steve Rehring-OT (Lakota West), Rob Schoenhoft-QB (St. Xavier), and Connor Smith-OL (Colerain).

* Ohio State has seven players on its roster from Cleveland Glenville High School coached by Ted Ginn Sr. They include Bryant Browning, Ted Ginn Jr., Jamario O'Neal, Robert Rose, Ray Small, Troy Smith, and Curtis Terry. Cincinnati has three players from Glenville: Freddie Lenix, Curtis Young and Angelo Craig.

* Here is a link to our Game Data page (pertinent info, TV clearances, depth charts and a prediction) for UC-OSU:

Game Data: Cincinnati at Ohio State



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