Last Time Out...

The Fiesta Bowl will feature the third meeting between Ohio State and Texas since 2005. Check out how OSU fared in its last meeting with the Longhorns in this edition of "Last Time Out…"

Senior quarterback Troy Smith atoned for a more-than-a-year-old mistake and the Buckeyes solidified their No. 1 ranking with a 24-7 victory at No. 2 Texas on Sept. 9, 2006. Smith, who was out of sync a year earlier in a home loss to Texas following a two-game suspension for taking money from a booster in 2004, led Ohio State to a primetime victory in front of 89,422 fans at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.

"Applaud Ohio State," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "They are a great football team, and the way they played tonight, they deserve to be No. 1. It's still early in the season, and anytime you have a tailback, wide receivers and quarterback like they have, you've got a chance.

"They have a lot of things that would help them have a chance to win the rest of their games."

In 2005, the Buckeyes failed to capitalize on several Texas mistakes, and Vince Young rallied the Longhorns to a 25-22 victory at Ohio Stadium. A year later, Smith stole the show. His first pass was caught by Ted Ginn Jr. for a 46-yard gain that set the tone for the night.

Anthony Gonzalez opened the scoring with a 12-yard touchdown. Late in the first half, Smith and Ginn hooked up again, this time for a 29-yard touchdown that turned out to be the game-winning score.

"Ginn had an inside release on that play, and he did a great job of using his speed to get over top," said Smith, who was a perfect 4 for 4 for 73 yards on the drive. "I just put the ball in the air, and he made a great play."

The Ginn touchdown also gave the Buckeyes the momentum back following a Longhorn touchdown drive. Texas redshirt freshman Colt McCoy, making only his second start, led a 13-play, 78-yard drive that took most of the second quarter and was capped by a 2-yard touchdown pass to Billy Pittman.

Sophomore linebacker James Laurinaitis had a big game in the win and made one of the contest's key plays when he forced a Pittman fumble at the OSU 2-yard line in the first quarter with the game scoreless. The fumble was scooped up by cornerback Donald Washington and returned to midfield. That led to Ohio State's first touchdown.

Laurinaitis later forced another turnover on the Longhorns' first drive of the second half. He intercepted a McCoy pass and set up an Aaron Pettrey field goal that put OSU ahead 17-7.

Tailback Antonio Pittman closed the scoring in the fourth quarter with a 2-yard touchdown run that capped a 10-play, 72-yard drive.

"Our guys played hard," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said after the game. "The defense kept hanging in there and caused some turnovers. Anytime you hold a team to seven points in their stadium, it's incredible. I thought we did a good job of making some big plays offensively. Our offensive line did a nice job of protecting and made a lot of good decisions. We got the running game going a little better towards the end of the game, and I think we are in pretty good shape. We had our special teams up, and our defense was relentless.

"All in all we did not make many mistakes."

Smith completed 17 of 26 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns. Ginn caught five passes for 96 yards, and Gonzalez had career-highs of eight catches and 142 yards to go along with his touchdown catch.

"Gonzalez did a great job today making plays on the ball, and the guys up front did a great job blocking for us," Smith said. "Without those guys up front, I can't make passes to Gonzalez, and Gonzalez can't make plays on the ball."

McCoy completed 19 of 32 passes for 154 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

Laurinaitis finished with a game-high 13 tackles, forced two fumbles and had an interception. However, he said after the game that the win did not make Ohio State the frontrunners to make it to the BCS National Championship game.

"We came down here and played a great team and beat them," he said. "That's all it means right now. Don't get me wrong – it's a tremendous feeling to come into this stadium and beat a team that has as many talented players as Texas. It's a huge confidence-builder for us.

"But it only means that we're moving forward, moving in the direction we want to go. I thought we made a lot of mistakes tonight, and maybe that's to be expected when you go on the road and play the team that's ranked No. 2 in the country. But we still have a lot of games to play. We haven't even played a Big Ten game yet, so as far as the national championship goes, it's too early to even be thinking about that."

The loss ended Texas' 21-game winning streak and 16-game home run without a loss. The Longhorns had also won 14 straight games at night and had been 4-0 in games featuring the Nos. 1 and 2 teams according to The Associated Press.

Ohio State improved to 3-0 in games matching the top two ranked teams.


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