Ginn Has Fun Time, Again, In Spartan Stadium

In his freshman season at Spartan Stadium, Ted Ginn Jr. scored three times on a reverse, a punt return and a long pass reception. Two years later, Ginn matched his 60-yard punt return, making him the career Big Ten leader and giving him four TDs overall at Michigan State. Ginn also had 3 catches on the day for 58 yards and a 16-yard run on a reverse in OSU's 38-7 win over the Spartans.

With his sixth-career punt return for a touchdown in the books, Ted Ginn Jr. is now the all-time leader in that category in the Big Ten.

Ginn had previously shared the record at five punt returns for scores with Tim Dwight of Iowa when he took a Michigan State punt back for a touchdown with 5:09 remaining in the second quarter that gave Ohio State a 17-0 lead at the time.

"I think it's great but records are made for people to be (break them). Somebody is going to come along and break them," said Ginn referring to his most prestigious accomplishment at Ohio State to date. "You just (have to) have fun, have fun while you're doing it. You're only here for a short time in your life, so you just go out and have fun."

The record-setting punt return was suppose to be a return to the right but Ginn ended up scoring in the left corner of the end zone.

"Actually I was so happy that Gonzo (Anthony Gonzalez) picked up that one block for me and then when I looked up I seen all of those green shirts and I was like ‘I can't go that way,' " said Ginn, "so I just cut it back and found a lane and took it."

The return was actually set up when A.J. Trapasso dropped a punt down at the four where Michigan State took over first-and-ten. After a three-and-out performance by the Ohio State defense, the Spartans punted the ball back to the Buckeyes on a fourth-and-five situation at the nine. Ginn obviously took over from there.

"We haven't had too many kicks straight at us where we can get to the blocks," Jim Tressel said. "That guy kicked the heck out of that ball for being in that crazy wind that was out there, it probably landed 48 yards or better, and if you give Teddy some space, he's as good as it gets. That may have been one of the first times that he got space between the hashmarks."

In addition to his 7 catches for 118 yards and one touchdown, Gonzalez was in great position to pick off the lead sniper closing in on Ginn as he made the catch of the Brandon Fields punt.

"Having two guys back (on punt returns) is a real bonus just from a field distribution (aspect)," Tressel said. "You don't have to travel as far to make catches and also you got a guy there to pick up the first dangerous guy. And we always say if you can get Teddy one block...! I think the return was called a right return and I think we returned it left for a touchdown. So that shows you that the design was really extraordinary. But that's just...he's special."

Ted Ginn finds his lane and takes off down the left sideline.

For Ginn, it was his fifth overall touchdown against Michigan State with four of them coming in Spartan Stadium. Two seasons ago in his freshman year, Ginn scored a touchdown on a 17-yard reverse, on a 60-yard punt return, and on a 58-yard reception from Troy Smith.

...and records his Big Ten record-setting sixth career punt return for a touchdown.

"I just come out and just play ball," Ginn said. "For some reason I feel like this is my home stadium and I just come out and play hard every day."

Ginn's 60-yard return for a touchdown this year was coincidentally the same distance he traveled on his punt return for a touchdown in Spartan Stadium as a freshman. Did the path to the end zone look familiar?

"It was the same way on the same side," Ginn said. "Hey, I'm just trying to have fun!"

Ginn's fun-filled afternoon in Spartan Stadium included running a reverse for 16 yards and throwing a reverse pass that fell incomplete.

"We have five to 10 special plays every week just like everyone else does," Tressel said. "Sometimes it's appropriate in your mind to do them, sometimes it's not. Sometimes plays don't even look like special plays to you but they were."

But when Tressel called consecutive reverses at the start of the third quarter with the Buckeyes leading 24-0, everyone had to know that these were two of those special plays.

"They were playing heavy in the box," said Tressel who mentioned that he's "probably never" called two straight reverses. "They were dropping safeties in the box and they were really making it difficult for us to get enough helmets (in there) to be consistent in running the football. So whenever people are overdoing it in one place, you can hurt them in another. So we thought we could, when we talked at halftime, that maybe we could hurt them with reverses."

The first reverse happened on the first play of Ohio State's first possession of the second half when the Buckeyes had the ball at their own 47 after a fair-catch penalty on a punt to Gonzalez was enforced. Gonzalez raced 29 yards down the sideline on his reverse opportunity giving OSU a first down at the 24. Ginn ran for 16 more down to the eight on a reverse on the very next play.

"Hey you got good players on the field and you might as well get the ball to them the best way you can," Ginn said. "I guess that was the best way they felt like we could have got the ball."

The second reverse took Ginn and Smith by surprise.

"I was surprised," Ginn said. "Troy was like ‘man it's another reverse.' We're like, ‘we just hit them with one and they're going to be looking for it.' We come right back (with it) and get what, 20 or 40 yards, something like that, it was great."

And earlier in the game when the Buckeyes held a 10-0 advantage midway through the second period, Ohio State attempted their first gadget play of the game. The option pass by Ginn was definitely by design...sort of.

"Not to who he threw it to," Tressel said. "He was looking for Gonzo but he wasn't open and then he started running around and I don't know who he ended up throwing it to."

When Tressel was reminded that Rory Nicol was the eventual target, he explained how the Buckeye offense learned a valuable lesson from the play even though it resulted in an incompletion.

"Rory Nicol was suppose to be blocking back there (at the line of scrimmage)," Tressel said. "You like getting Teddy out in the open field but one thing we didn't rehearse, and Bolls (Jim Bollman) said it, is that we didn't rehearse ever that the primary guy wasn't open and Teddy is going to improvise. So we (have to) remind guys that you may never cross the line of scrimmage. If Teddy crosses the line of scrimmage he doesn't need your help so stay back and you have to run around in the back until he throws to someone else. So we learned a lesson."

Ginn, on the other hand, had a chance to throw the football in a game again like he did during his senior year at Glenville.

"If felt great," said Ginn as he began to give his version of the play. "It was really suppose to go to Gonzo. I went through my reads and I tried to hit Rory and it could have turned into being a good play."

It was actually one of the few things in the game that didn't go good for the Buckeyes who almost earned their first shutout of the season. Ginn thought it probably was the most complete victory of the season for the team.

"People came out and told us that we had to play hard and play fast and they were going to be a pretty good team," Ginn said. "Our defense stepped up and showed us a lot, that they can stop the spread and stop a good quarterback and just have fun."

And when it was all said and done, Ohio State, who came into the game ranked number one, got the win over Michigan State this time.

Ginn catches one of his three passes in the game and runs for 37 yards on this play.

"I'm just happy, first for the win," said Ginn who also caught three passes in the game for 58 yards. "All week they've been talking about the ‘98 team and all of that stuff, and the ‘74 team. So we just came out and we took it to them early and just had a fun time. We had a great time. The coldness didn't bother us at all. We just came out and had fun."

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