Smith Shines In Win Over Hoosiers

Troy Smith continues to put up video game-like statistics for Ohio State. On Saturday against Indiana, he added four more touchdown passes to his impressive resume and now has 21 touchdowns and just two interceptions on the season. Smith is the frontrunner for the Heisman in most people's eyes and he took another step forward against IU.

Another day, another strong performance from Ohio State's Troy Smith.

The senior quarterback was 15-of-23 for 220 yards and four touchdowns in the top-ranked Buckeyes' 44-3 romp over visiting Indiana on Saturday.

Smith now has 21 touchdown passes and just two interceptions on the season. It's an amazing ratio, but Smith is taking it all in stride.

"I try not to think about that," Smith said. "I try to just spread the ball out as much as I can and it's a tremendous credit to the receivers that I throw to because you have young guys stepping up and making plays and will continue to make plays."

Smith is a big fan of video football games such as EA Sports College Football 2007. He was asked if he could ever get such an impressive TD/INT ratio playing video games.

"Yeah, because a lot of times when I get an interception I start the game over," Smith said, eliciting laughter from reporters. "I need to do it the right way."

Smith spread the ball around nicely against the Hoosiers (4-4, 2-2 Big Ten). Ted Ginn had five receptions for 72 yards – including a spectacular 31-yard touchdown reception from Smith. Anthony Gonzalez had four catches for 69 yards and a touchdown, Rory Nicol had two receptions for 61 yards and two touchdowns, Brian Robiskie had two catches for 34 yards, and true freshman Jake Ballard had a one-yard touchdown on a diving reception.

And to top it off, junior tailback Antonio Pittman had 16 carries for 105 yards.

Smith talked about having so many talented weapons at his disposal.

"Well, it's definitely a comfortable feel," he said. "And anytime when you get into a situation where you can spread the ball out and keep everyone happy, you have to do just that. So juggling and keeping them happy, and keeping the offensive line happy, and the staff happy and the fans happy, you've got to be a special kind of guy."

And Smith is just that. He was already the frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy and his performance against IU did nothing but help his candidacy.

Smith seems to make a "Heisman play" every game, and on Saturday it was his touchdown to Ginn. On the play, Smith spun to avoid a pass rusher in the pocket, rolled left and appeared to be headed for a first-down run. But at the last second he saw Ginn deep, retreated a few steps and threw an absolute strike off his back foot.

"Anytime we're in a situation where you have to step up and throw, or step up and go, we're always taught to square our hips and square our shoulders to deliver the ball," Smith said. "And I wanted to get my fundamentals right in every aspect as far as throwing that ball because if I didn't, who knows where that ball might have went. The coaching staff really tries to ram that into our head that it's about squared shoulders and squared hips and the ball will go wherever you want it to.

"I just thought about keeping the play alive and Ted made a great play on the ball."

Smith wasn't the only Buckeye who threw a touchdown pass against Indiana. Ginn, a former quarterback in high school, threw a 38-yard TD to Nicol to make the score 35-3 in the third quarter.

Smith was happy to see his good friend Ginn throw the ball better than he usually does in practice.

"Throughout practice we always work on designed plays, coupled with trick plays and things like that," Smith said. "We've been practicing and practicing and practicing and watching duck after duck after duck. And today, after I carried out the fake and I turned around, I saw a perfect spiral. And (Ginn) always says if he gets the chance he is going to throw a touchdown because we have an ongoing feud all the way back to high school and back to little league football with him being the opposing quarterback and myself on the other side.

"The offensive line did a great job because you have to block for two or three extra seconds (on a play like that). And Rory Nicol made a great play on the ball."

Smith hasn't carried the ball much this season, but he did have four rushes for 38 yards against IU, including a 29-yard scramble in the first quarter.

"I had been teased all week about not being able to pull away from a defender," Smith said. "The funny thing about it is when you're an athletic guy, you're supposed to do everything the exact way everybody else does. So, of course the fastest guys on the team like Ted and Gonzo and Pittman were the first ones to tell me I was running slow. If they call me slow, I can deal with it."

But it wasn't a perfect day for Smith. He coughed up the ball on a scramble attempt in the second half and thought an IU defender got his hand on the pigskin at the right time.

"More than likely," Smith said. "I was trying to switch hands and we stress so much about the turnover margin and it was just a bad play on my part. I was careless with the ball and regardless of what kind of game I had, I will have to live with that turnover until next week."

It's hard to believe it looking at the final score, but OSU (8-0, 4-0) had a slow start in the game and suffered three-and-outs on its first two possessions.

"I think one thing that we learned early is that any team that comes into this stadium is going to give us their best game," Smith said. "You have to understand that however many games you have on your schedule, that's how long the season is. You can never take a day off, you can never take a game off if you want to be Big Ten champions."

Or the Heisman Trophy winner.


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